Category Archives: Health

Judge Rules That Firing Woman Over Pumping Breast Milk Is Not Sex Discrimination

Lactation is not a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, and firing someone who wants to pump breast milk is not sex discrimination, according to a federal judge in Texas.

This decision is a stumper. Lactation occurs because of and immediately following pregnancy and childbirth, which makes it “related” to them. Only women lactate, so firing an employee because she needs to pump does discriminate against her on the basis of her sex.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought this suit against debt-collection agency Houston Funding on behalf of an employee whom the company fired, allegedly because she wanted to pump at work. The EEOC is considering appealing the decision by Judge Lynn Hughes (who is male).

Since the firing the federal government passed a law requiring employers to provide break time for new mothers to pump breast milk at work, but it does not prohibit employers from firing workers for pumping. One might have presumed that the anti-discrimination laws already had that covered, but now that is up in the air, and it will probably take years and opinions from higher courts to clear it up.

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All I Want for Christmas is Two Good Earplugs

As a Jew I don’t actually want anything for Christmas, but I do have a year-round wish to turn down the world’s volume knob, as regular readers know from “WOULD YOU TURN THAT DOWN?!!

In that spirit, here is a collection of quotes from fellow opponents of noise pollution. Two of my favorites:

“The sanitary and mechanical age we are now entering makes up for the mercy it grants to our sense of smell by the ferocity with which it assails our sense of hearing.”
~ Havelock Ellis, 1912, in Impressions and Comments (1930)

“I have terrible hearing trouble. I have unwittingly helped to invent and refine a type of music that makes its principal proponents deaf.”
~ Pete Townshend of The Who (2006 interview)

Music lovers, listen up: you now have Pete Townshend’s approval to wear earplugs at rock concerts.

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FDA Refuses to Limit Antibiotics Given to Animals Raised for Food

An update on my previous post, Factory Farms are Breeding More Than Cows: Agribusiness Antibiotic Abuse Creates Superbugs: the FDA has refused consumer advocates’ petitions to “limit the routine feeding of antibiotics to farm animals.” For an administration that claims it wants to improve health care, rendering some of our most important medications powerless is a funny way of showing it.

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