Jury Awards $3.8 Million to Tucson Firefighter Over Nursing Mothers Rights

A federal court jury in Arizona has awarded a Tucson firefighter $3.8 million in damages for the department’s failure to accommodate her needs as a nursing mother. Carrie Clark filed suit in 2014 alleging her fire station did not accommodate her need to express breast milk, and that she was retaliated against once her complaints became known.

The suit alleged violations of the Nursing Mothers Act (which is part of the Fair Labor Standards Act), gender discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and retaliation.  The jury found the city liable on four counts: gender discrimination (disparate treatment), violating the Nursing Mothers Act, and retaliation under both gender discrimination and the Nursing Mothers Act. The breakdown on damages is:

  • $50,000 – Gender discrimination
  • $1.85 million – Gender discrimination retaliation
  • $50,000 – Nursing Mother’s Act (FLSA)
  • $1.85 million – FLSA retaliation

Here is the jury verdict form that was submitted by the jury

The jury rendered its verdict last Friday. Here is an earlier post about the suit. The original suit was filed in Pima County Superior Court, but it was removed to federal court due to the federal issues in the case.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
x

Check Also

Chicago Fire Prevails in Discrimination Suit

The Chicago Fire Department has prevailed in a lawsuit filed by a Hispanic firefighter who claimed he was the victim of a hostile workplace. Last Friday, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted a summary judgment to the city in a suit brought by Firefighter Ricardo Gomez

Zipper Clauses, Past Practices, and Discipline Prior to Exhaustion of Appeals

The Court of Appeals of Ohio, First Appellate District has upheld a grievance arbitration decision that found that a fire department breached a collective bargaining agreement when it imposed discipline before an employee’s administrative appeals have been exhausted. The case involved William Tillett, who was a lieutenant with the Anderson Township Fire Department.