It’s been over seven years, Katherine Frederick says, since she was fired from her job at New Hampshire’s Division of Well being and Human Providers over breastfeeding, and she or he nonetheless hopes to take her case to trial.
“It’s not going to alter what’s occurred,” Frederick mentioned after her lawyer argued an enchantment of her case Tuesday earlier than the state Supreme Court docket. “However I feel it’s actually essential to have a look at what’s mistaken in New Hampshire and see if we will make it higher.”
In 2012, Frederick labored as a baby help officer within the division’s workplace in Conway and was fired that September over, she mentioned, whether or not, when and the place she might breastfeed her new child son, Devon, now 7.
The division mentioned Frederick was terminated after she did not return to work after exhausting her depart below the Household and Medical Go away Act, in response to courtroom paperwork.
Frederick, who now lives in Strafford, Vermont, filed a wrongful discharge lawsuit towards the division in 2014 in federal courtroom. Her case was dismissed in 2017 after a decide dominated that the division was immune from the lawsuit.
Frederick refiled her lawsuit in New Hampshire Superior Court docket in 2018, and the division challenged it once more. A decide initially dominated that the case ought to go ahead. The state moved for reconsideration. In February, the decide dismissed the lawsuit, saying it was barred by a three-year statute of limitations.
“The trial courtroom received it proper the primary time,” Frederick’s legal professional, Benjamin King, mentioned earlier than the state supreme courtroom justices.
Anthony Galdieri, of the legal professional common’s workplace, additionally argued on behalf of the Well being Division on Tuesday that as a state worker protected by a collective bargaining settlement, Frederick wouldn’t have the flexibility to deliver such a declare.
She was restricted in her cures, together with the flexibility of her union to file grievances, in addition to to deliver a cost of unfair labor practices earlier than the state Public Worker Relations Board, Galdieri wrote in courtroom paperwork.
Frederick has labored on laws in New Hampshire strengthening breastfeeding rights. She is a scholar on the Vermont Legislation College, the place she is engaged on a grasp’s diploma in restorative justice and hopes to attend regulation college afterward.
Frederick mentioned she had spoken and corresponded with a number of individuals in her case, together with Anita Hill, the regulation professor who in 1991 accused then- U.S. Supreme Court docket nominee Clarence Thomas, her former supervisor, of sexual harassment.
“She was extraordinarily encouraging and compassionate,” Frederick mentioned.
Frederick mentioned she was inspired to see Gov. Chris Sununu’s latest govt order permitting state workers to take their toddler youngsters to work. The coverage says cooperating companies should enable lactating moms versatile schedules to breastfeed and/or specific milk.
“They informed me on the time, ‘Nope,’” Frederick mentioned.
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