Dec. 1, 2014
The Michigan Journal of Race & Law has kicked off its Author Speaks Series and will continue to bring article authors to the Law School throughout the year as a way of exposing the Law School community to the scholarship being produced by the journal and having informal discussions with authors about civil rights issues, as well as controversial and hot-button issues.
Nancy Ehrenreich (pictured at right), professor of law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, on Nov. 24 discussed her recently published paper, "Breastfeeding on a Nickel and a Dime: Why the Affordable Care Act Won't Help Low-Wage Mothers" (Vol. 20.1, Fall 2014). Ehrenreich argued that the nursing mothers provision under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to nursing mothers who want to express milk in the workplace, could end up marginalizing the hourly workers it was intended to help.
Because the breastfeeding provision gives employers latitude in negotiating what constitutes reasonable accommodation at work, Ehrenreich said, it leaves room for cultural attitudes and stereotypes about breastfeeding to shape employers' decision-making with regard to the accommodation. If a nursing mother believes she isn't being accommodated under the law, Ehrenreich said, "she may decide her rights aren't worth pursuing," thus forcing her to choose between her job and breast feeding.
Next semester, Noha Moustafa, the journal’s executive notes editor, will speak about a note she wrote on the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act and its "sincerely held belief" test. For updates, visit mjrl.org.
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