A female state trooper claims the New York State Police has a pattern of not allowing nursing moms in the department sufficient breaks and proper private areas for breast milk pumping, according to a new discrimination charge.
State Trooper Schashuna Whyte — who became a trooper in 2017 — says she soon learned the State Police has a culture that “does not respect its female employees,” according to a Charge of Discrimination filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Wednesday.
Whyte — of Suffolk County — has been pregnant twice while she has been a Trooper, once in 2017 and 2018 and second time starting in October 2020. Whyte discovered that the department doesn’t provide paid maternity leave nor does it have a maternity policy in place, her charge alleges.
Whyte heard “nasty, insensitive, mean-spirited comments” at work about her pregnancy, the charge claims.
And after returning from her unpaid leave the first time, she was forced to pump “in police vehicles, other government or private bathrooms which were humiliating, uncomfortable, unsanitary and unsafe or not at all,” the charge alleges. She also once had to pump in a storage room, her charge alleges.
Further, she had to carry the milk in a lunch box with ice that she kept in her assigned police vehicle, according to the charge.
Whyte says she is not the only nursing mother in the state police who has faced these problems and that the alleged pattern of discrimination toward nursing mom’s goes back as far as 2007, according to the charge.
The state police has “a pattern, practice and policy of failing and refusing to provide nursing mothers with reasonable break times and a proper location to express milk,” the charge alleges.
The state police did not immediately return a request for comment.
Additional reporting by Bernadette Hogan