Woman Files Lawsuit Over Walmart Store’s Breast Pumping Practices

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SACRAMENTO -- The chance to feed mother's milk to a newborn is a beautiful experience many women crave.

But one Sacramento mother says her employer -- Walmart -- stole that opportunity from her and stressed her to the point that her milk dried up.

Christina Alexander claims she was surveilled by security cameras while trying to pump when she returned to work after maternity leave.

After learning she'd been caught on camera, Alexander started expressing her milk in a bathroom stall, but she still didn't feel safe and quit work at the Taylor Center Neighborhood Market.

Following a transfer to the super center in West Sacramento, she also says she was fired for a trumped up missed day from her time at the Market.

It's a move that followed her complaint to the State Labor Board.

"Being a mom, uh, you put their needs before your own. Um, you always do what's best for them," she said.

Focusing on what would be best for her first child, Capri, is what led Alexander to the kind of plans many woman have -- breastfeeding for a full year.

Once Capri was born, Alexander went to her managers at the Taylor Center Walmart's Neighborhood Market in Sacramento and asked for a place to be able to pump her breast milk so her little girl could get benefits beyond formula.

"I just knew it was the right thing to do," she said.

While Capri was growing at home and she was at work, Alexander says her cashier supervisor directed her to one primary back room at the store for lactation and a second for use as back-up if the first was filled.

"I asked her a lot of times, probably three times or more, were there any cameras, and the only reason I asked was because there was a big machine there that had me curious, and she told me no," she said.

But she says her worst fears came true when another manager topped her from going into the back-up room one day in 2016.

"And she was like, 'no really you can't pump in here, there's cameras.' And everything just froze," Alexander said.

That realization is the crux of a 28-page lawsuit Alexander's filed against Walmart, her cashier supervisor and a store manager.

It accuses the store of failing to follow state labor code and the Fair Employment and Housing Act requiring private, locking lactation space without surveillance.

She and her attorney claim Alexander was verbally taunted about her pumping.

"Walmart didn't pay me to pump," she remembers from one conversation.

Alexander claims she was made to pump on her lunch hour and as an African-American, not given the same consideration as other employees for certain shifts.

Without a doubt, the biggest issue for Alexander is a sense of violation, turning away from our cameras when asked how all of this made her feel.

"Sorry," she sniffled, dabbing at her eyes.

"I suspect it was a live feed and that somebody was watching it and how in the world somebody doesn't bring it to other people's attention is beyond me," said Alexander's attorney Richard Lewis.

Walmart has not officially received the lawsuit yet, but sent FOX 40 this statement:

"We are committed to supporting breastfeeding mothers and do not tolerate discrimination, harassment or retaliation of any kind."

Alexander disputes all of that and says when it comes to retaliation, she was also given a final paycheck from the Neighborhood Market that bounced.

Though she hasn't seen any of what cameras may have captured of her pumping, she says in response to her labor board complaint Walmart listed days and times she was in that room.

Alexander believes the company was able to track that information back through time-stamped video.

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