LUBBOCK, Texas — A Lubbock Whataburger location violated the legal rights of an employee to pump breast milk at work, then fired her, prompting an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), according to a press release on Thursday.

The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division said Whataburger at 7201 Quaker Avenue failed to give an employee reasonable break time “to express breast milk as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act.”

The employee left the premises to continue pumping, and was fired by the employer.

Under the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act, employees have the right (available for up to one year after the child’s birth) to reasonable break time and a place to express breast milk at work.

“Depriving a nursing mother of her right to express breast milk with enough break time to do it, and then firing her is against the law. Employers must comply with all of the FLSA provisions, including the right of nursing mothers to request the time and space they need to express milk without fear of retaliation.”

Wage and Hour District Director Evelyn Ortiz in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

To resolve the violations, Whataburger signed an Enhanced Compliance Agreement stating it will provide FLSA training to all managers in the future. The franchise also had to pay $900 in back wages and $900 in liquidated damages.

Whataburger provided the following statement to

Whataburger understands the unique challenges facing nursing mothers at work and has an official company policy that upholds the right to time and privacy. We strongly believe that nursing mothers have the right to reasonable break time and a private place, other than a bathroom, to express breast milk.

For more than 72 years, we have employed thousands of working mothers (and parents) and pride ourselves on the flexibility and support we offer so they can spend time taking care of their children.

While we are unable to comment on this particular situation, we are committed to supporting nursing mothers – and all parents – as they balance work and family.