Ames’ story reads as every woman’s worst nightmare of what coming back from maternity leave could be like. Ames alleges that when she returned to work, another employee’s things were in her workspace. When she asked for a place to pump breast milk, she was sent to a company nurse. Even though the Nationwide offices had a lactation room, Ames says she was denied access and told she had to fill out paperwork and wait for days for it to be processed in order for them to open the door to let her in. With her breasts swelling and uncomfortable, she says the only options offered to her were rooms that had no privacy.
At this point, Ames says she reached out to the department head for help in getting that lactation room door open, which is when she was met with a resignation letter to sign. Ames reports that her department head said, “Just go home to be with your babies.”
But while the case was primarily decided on this question of whether Ames fought back hard enough, the trial court also ruled that bullying women over breast-feeding cannot be considered sex discrimination, because men can, in theory, lactate, too.