TUCSON, Ariz. - In Arizona, the city of Tucson has been ordered to pay a paramedic nearly $4 million after a jury agreed she faced retaliation after complaining that the city failed to provide a private place for her to pump breast milk.
When fire paramedic Carrie Clark returned from maternity leave in 2012, she asked for a private place to pump her breast milk. "The law requires that employers are required to provide a space free from intrusion, from co-workers and the public to express your breast milk. That wasn't made immediately available to her," her attorney, Jeffrey Jacobson told KVOA.
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Jacobson says at the time of Clark's complaint, an investigation found more than 40 percent of Tucson fire stations were not compliant with the law. "Subsequent to that is when the city of Tucson actually brought all of its fire stations into compliance. After she complained though is when the hammer of retribution really started coming down on her," said Jacobson.
This month, a jury ordered the city to pay Clark $3.8 million in damages for all of her claims, including retaliation and violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. "This case was not about the hardworking men and women of Tucson fire. They are heroes. This case was always about however some poor decisions that were made along the way by Tucson fire administration. Carrie is just looking forward to getting back to work and serving the citizens of Tucson."
A spokesperson with the city of Tucson says they will not comment on the jury verdict, but the city attorney is preparing post trial motions to file with the court and is evaluating the city's position to appeal.