Lawsuit Accuses Trader Joe’s of Refusing to Provide Proper Lactation Space for Working Mothers
BROOKLYN, NY – Crumiller has filed a federal lawsuit against Trader Joe’s alleging the grocery store chain forced a female employee to pump milk for her child in an unsanitary mechanical room and retaliated against her for taking maternity leave by revoking her healthcare benefits.
Plaintiff Julia Hammer worked for Trader Joe’s in NYC as a “crew member” from October 2018 to December 2021. Hammer gave birth to her first child in April 2021, and in August she returned from maternity leave to join Trader Joe’s brand new store in Long Island City, Queens.
When Hammer returned from leave, she learned the brand new store did not have a dedicated lactation space. Her only option was to pump in a dirty, dusty mechanical room that fell well short of legal requirements.
The lawsuit includes photos of the room, which did not have a sink or a refrigerator:
The room also lacked privacy; in one particularly embarrassing incident, Hammer’s male supervisor walked in on her, seeing her completely exposed.
Trader Joe’s then retaliated against Hammer for taking maternity leave by revoking her healthcare coverage, claiming she did not work their minimum number of hours, even though she was a full-time employee. Hammer complained to both her managers and Trader Joe’s’ corporate office that the company had violated her rights as a working mom. Trader Joe’s ignored her, leaving her no other choice but to resign.
The case is Julia Hammer v. Trader Joe’s Company, Case No. 1:23-cv-06784 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Statement from Hilary J. Orzick, attorney for Julia Hammer:
“Trader Joe’s goes to great lengths to make the public believe that it treats its grocery store workers with dignity and respect. Our client’s experience was the exact opposite—the company refused to provide her with a sanitary, comfortable space to pump. Trader Joe’s’ decision to revoke Julia’s healthcare coverage because she went on maternity leave is especially cruel. We intend to aggressively enforce our client’s rights and encourage anyone who experienced similar problems while working at Trader Joe’s’ stores nationwide to contact our office.”
Read the complaint: