Two Frontier Airlines flight attendants have filed federal complaints against the Denver-based carrier, saying the airline discriminated against them by not allowing them to pump breast milk while on duty.
The flight attendants, Jo Roby and Stacy Rewitzer, filed discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado.
The complaints were filed one year after four female Frontier pilots submitted similar complaints against the airline with the EEOC. That case is still under investigation.
"Frontier subjects its flight attendants to policies and practices that discriminate on the basis of sex, pregnancy, childbirth and disability," according to the complaint filed by Roby, a 13-year veteran at Frontier.
"In particular, Frontier has refused to provide me with accommodations related to pregnancy or adequate on-the-job accommodations that would allow me to return to work while continuing to express breast milk," she said.
In their complaints, the flight attendants said they are often required to work 10- to 12-hour shifts, staffing flights of up to five hours long, but are not given time or rooms to pump milk every three or four hours.
Frontier doesn't provide maternity leave; instead it requires new mothers to use sick days, vacation days and unpaid time accumulated under the Family Medical Leave Act, according to the complaints, which ask that the airline be required to make several policy, scheduling and other changes.
In a statement, Frontier said it complies with all federal and state laws and its labor agreements with flight attendants.
"We have made good-faith efforts to identity and provide rooms and other secure locations for use by breast-feeding flight attendants during their duty travel," the airline said.
Galen Sherwin, an ACLU senior staff attorney, said most other carriers provide maternity leave and are more accommodating to new mothers than Frontier.
"Frontier lags behind others in the industry," she said.