Amid the many pages of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is a provision requiring employers to provide female employees a place other than a bathroom to express milk for their infants. This place must be shielded from view and free from intrusion from other employees and the public.
If an employer fails to do so, can the employee sue to force the employer to comply? The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa neatly summed up the law and the issue on July 19 in Salz v. Casey's Marketing Co.
The answer is no, the employee does not. The court granted the defendant's Rule 12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim as to injunctive relief, noting that the law does not explicitly provide for a private right of action and that the Department of Labor has issued a notice that it has the power to seek injunctive relief.
But — and it is a big “but” — the court did hold that a plaintiff can sue for retaliation and constructive discharge if the employer retaliates against an employee for complaining about the policy (or in this case, the lack of one). A new claim is born.