In a now viral social media post, a young mother who is also an On The Job (OJT) teacher was asked by the school’s principal to pump her breast milk in the school’s toilet area.
The new mom is stationed at a Tacarigua Presbyterian School.
While the teacher remains anonymous, the incident was posted by another woman on Facebook, who questioned the validity of the Principal’s actions and sanitary method of expressing breast milk at the school’s toilet, while on the job.
The thread posted read- “How u tell an employee to go pump her milk in the toilet?????
Or suggests she goes home lunch time to do it. This needs to be addressed. I’m putting this public. Let’s see if we can get them to do the proper thing!
Coming from a female supervisor who is also a mother. Mam, will u go eat your lunch in the toilet cubicle?
Why must baby’s food be prepared in there. We going right down with this!”
The incident has been reported to the Ministry of Education by the school’s Principal – suggesting that the teacher purchase a divider and or a portable breast pump to use while on the job.
However according to Trinidad and Tobago’s Occupational Safety and Health Act 88:08 –
(11) No employer shall require or permit a pregnant employee or an employee who is nursing her child to perform work that is hazardous to her health or the health of the child.
(12) Notwithstanding any other law, during an employee’s pregnancy, and for a period of six months after the birth of her child, her employer shall offer her suitable, alternative employment on terms and conditions that are no less favourable than her ordinary terms and conditions of work, where the employee is required to perform work that poses a danger to her safety or health or that of her child, unless there is no other available suitable alternative employment or that in doing so the employer will incur costs greater than ordinary administrative costs.
(13) An employee may challenge a decision of the employer in accordance with section 83A.
(1) It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment, who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their safety or health.
It shall be the duty of every self-employed person to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that he and other persons, not being his employees, who may be affected by his actions are not thereby exposed to risks to their safety or health.
(3) In such cases as may be prescribed, it shall be the duty of every employer and every self-employed person, in the prescribed circumstances and in the prescribed manner, to give to persons, not being his employees, who may be affected by the way in which he conducts his undertaking, the prescribed information about such aspects of the way in which he conducts his undertaking as might affect their safety or health.”