Public Breastfeeding Law

3781.55 Breast-feeding in places of public accommodation.
A mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location of a place of public accommodation wherein the mother otherwise is permitted.

“Place of public accommodation” has the same meaning as in section 4112.01 of the Revised Code.

Effective Date: 09-16-2005

Enforcement Provision


Workplace Pumping Law


Enforcement Provision


28 Responses to “Ohio”

  1. Casey Bond says:

    Public breastfeeding law or not breastfeeding mothers are still being targeted for doing so! Recently a woman got kicked out of Target for breastfeeding her baby. This is NOT a breastfeeding-friendly time, even though it’s OBVIOUSLY the most natural thing to do for your child! I understand that not everyone can breastfeed, but those of us who can and do are getting punished for it.

    I don’t understand why there are no enforcements to these laws. They are so important to so many people and yet officials in all branches choose to look the other way. It WILL come back to bite them in the behind one of these days!

  2. Jayme Nance says:

    I need to pump in my workplace. I go into a private office, lock the door and pump. At which point, I carry the full bottle to the “community” kitchen and pour into a storage bag to freeze. I then wash the bottle.

    I was told that I am not allowed to let the breast pump bottle dry in the kitchen because it is NOT workplace appropriate. Nor can I carry the full bottle down the hallway to the kitchen because it is not appropriate.

    It was placed in a back corner on top of a papertowel to air dry. It was not on the community table or in the area of the coffee pots (heaven forbid).

    Why do I have to feel uncomfortable because I am trying to do what I was created to do — feed my child. I have to work and I have to be a mother… They need to really look into a workplace pumping law and other laws to help. Maybe instead of monitoring school lunches, we get back to what’s natural! and help with healthy eating in early life!!!

    • admin says:

      Yes, Ohio is in dire need of workplace pumping law. You shouldn’t have to go through this but sadly there is no law to help you. Workplace pumping legislation is introduced with some regularity in Ohio. Keep your eye out so that you can become involved the next time that it is.

  3. Casey Bond says:

    I wound up having to choose between breastfeeding my daughter or keeping the bills paid.I was not allowed to pump at work, and was working 12 hour shifts so there was no waiting. I breastfed my son until he was over a year old and weaned himself, but my little girl got cut off at 8 months.

  4. Angela N says:

    As of March 2010, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to provide break time and a location other than a restroom for mothers to express breast milk

  5. Heather says:

    If you r NIP & the establishment asks u to stop or leave do u have the right to refuse? Can they force u to leave?

    • admin says:

      In Ohio currently, if you refuse to leave, you can be considered a trespasser and forced to leave (or arrested theoretically) for trespass. However, there have been some interesting findings in the Ohio Human Relations/Rights Commission so I would suggest filing a complaint should this happen to you. I never suggest that a person risk arrest when a child is with her.

      • Tiffany says:

        How do you know that they can arrest you for trespassing? I’m just curious.

        It seems to me that if you have the right to nurse in a public place (that you have the right to be in) – say, a mall, for example – then it would be illegal for them to ask you to leave. It would be like asking a black man or handicapped woman or fat person (or any other kind of person who might be discriminated against) to leave on the premise that “nobody wants to see that”. If they forced you to leave, I would imagine that you would have grounds for a lawsuit based on discrimination for breastfeeding. Am I wrong?

        • admin says:

          Tiffany, I am a lawyer and this is the most basic property law. Discrimination on the basis of race, for example, is explicitly forbidden by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is the primary reason that landmark civil rights legislation came into being.

          Under property law in all states in the US, the owner of a public accommodation has the right to revoke your “invitation” to be there for any reason or no reason unless explicitly forbidden by law (as in the case of race). A store owner may forbid entry to all people with blue eyes or blond hair or high heeled shoes or any other reason that is not explicitly forbidden by law. Undercurrent federal and Ohio state law, there is no prohibition against discrimination on the basis of breastfeeding. It is entirely legal. In Ohio it has been argued (unsuccessfully in state and federal court but at least once successfully before the state civil rights division) that breastfeeding discrimination is sex discrimination. Sex discrimination in public accommodations is NOT unlawful under federal law but is forbidden by Ohio state law.

          So short answer is, sadly, you are indeed wrong. No such lawsuit currently exists in Ohio. :(

          • Bobbie Jo says:

            Ohio may not have a law but women need to write to their Congress and Senators to get one! This needs to be in every state! I write to get things on various diseases, so ladies go forth! My mother breast fed all 11 of us, her mother her children, my grandkids breastfeed their children! Their is nothing wrong just a lack of moral thinking in our society! A lack of morality and teaching of respect for mothers and women in general! The complaint is discrimination against womanhood! Not accomodating under the ADA for disability is very much recognized. So people, recognize women have a natural need that has been neglected because NOBODY speaks up and declares injustice in the workplace. I worked in factories 40 yrs and saw women pregnant work harder than men and never complain and work up to the date of the birth- so if they choose to nurse and they are not given the time off, then the business must accomodate them or I would fight till hell froze over!

  6. Raven says:

    Everyone says breastfed is best fed. I’m 17 and have a one-month-old daughter. Apparently me feeding her in public is inappropriate because I’m that age where I can still be attractive… it’s bull. Schools need laws too! People act intolerant of my choice because everyone feels uncomfortable when a mother breastfeeds. America watches So much porn that a breast is in their mind as a sex toy and is therefore personal. I honestly will probably stop breastfeeding when baby is three months because I have to go back to school. This isn’t fair at all that I have to stop the closeness I have with her:( we need more laws making breastfeeding and bottlefeeding equal!! :/

  7. Valerie says:

    I am lucky enough to be employeed at a business that runs a 24 hour Emergency response. I have a 24 on/ 48 off schedule that would normally make breastfeeding impossible. Both management and my co-workers have been supportive with pumping after the births of both of my children (3 years apart). Although I am subject to light teasing and goofy comments, they do it in fun and its par for the course around here. I have space to pump, and as long as there is someone to cover my duties, I can pump every 4-5 hours. It can be a stretch at 5 hours, but I manage. I am allowed to air dry my pumping equipment in the office kitchen and and have use of the sink and refridgerator, however, I cover the pieces with a towl when laid out and store the milk in a lunch cooler in the refrigerator so it isn’t visible in the refridgerator next to other people’s food as there are several people I work with that aren’t comfortable with seeing it out in the open as they try to be. They support my choice to nurse/pump and I respect their comfort zone. It is a mutual respect that makes it all work. I know how lucky I am to work where I don’t have to worry about the laws or enforcement. The people I work with and for simply agree that breast is best and applaud my efforts – even those that didn’t breastfeed their own children. My children come first – but I make sure that my job doesn’t suffer while I am supposed to be working. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to know that there are employers, like mine, that are open minded about breastfeeding and supportive to nursing mothers.

  8. Chista says:

    I have always breatfeed all four of my children in public let someone tell me I cant feed my baby and see what happen this is the dumbest law every we need to start telling moms they can bottle feed in public if thats the case so sad because breast feeding is how GOD intended it to be!!!

  9. Kathy says:

    agreed. I would take to twitter, facebook and the 5 oclock news if I was asked not to breastfeed my child or if I was asked to leave on the basis of doing so somewhere. I am sure they would rather be accepting of breastfeeding than have the negative publicity. That being said, I breastfeed in the grocery store, the mall, the zoo, the childrens museum and have never encountered any negative comments. I work with almost all men and a few women who are not yet mothers, and it is funny the men seem to be more accepting of me breaking to pump and seeing the pumped milk in the freezer than the women!

  10. Kristin says:

    The FLSA law for pumping at work may not be enforceable unless fired, but that is by no means a reason for mothers to hesitate sharing this law with their employer when asking for accommodations. I’m sure there are plenty of employers who are unaware of this law and would be willing to negotiate with the mother so they can be a “law-abiding” company. Obviously though, an employer who opposes such accommodations will look into the law further to find out it’s irrelevant because it’s not enforceable. But I still believe there are employers who will grant a mother’s request when presented this information, for the sake of not “breaking” the law.

  11. Laura says:

    Question about pumping at work….. if I get a half hour lunch is that considered my break, or do I get a separate break to use to pump? I’m a teacher, so I get a 30 min lunch….. is it reasonable for me to ask for a pumping break so that my lunch can actually be spent eating….. or do I chose between doing one or the other? Thanks.

    • admin says:

      So far no workplace pumping law has required that pumping employees be given extra breaks. All the laws refer to existing break time.

  12. Patience says:

    At my workplace there are no designated break times, just take it when you can. My “crew leader” has made several comments including “Your not going to want to come back after you have the baby”, and saying “You will leave for delivery and we will never see you again”, and “oh your breastfeeding, you wont be able to come back then because there is no one to cover breaks”, I feel like I’m being discriminated against because I, unlike her cannot afford to be a stay-at-home mom until my child goes to school. Work is necessary for me and my family and it gets very frustrating to come into work and here these comments all the time. It makes me feel like my position here is not stable which as a parent is worrisome. My actual manager has told me that I will have a job when I come back from time off for the delivery and such, but he is a man and I’m kind of uncomfortable bringing up the breast feeding problem with him after that comment from my leader. For a job such as mine when there is no designated break time, the employer should work with me to at least have a half way mark break so I can continue to pump while I’m at work. I really want to breast feed but I’m starting to worry about the problems I’m going to be facing at work with it. There needs to be a law enforced to help moms like me with this problem.

    • admin says:

      Ohio has no workplace pumping law but this behavior does arguably rise to the level of sex discrimination. I would consider filing a complaint with the Ohio Human/Civil Relations Commission.

  13. David Miller says:

    How would Ohio law pertain to the situation described in the following blog post?


    Would the restaurant be considered a “place of public accommodation”?

    • admin says:

      Looks like the blogger reached a resolution but, yes, a restaurant is most definitely a public accommodation.

  14. Rachael says:

    I always thought federal law superceded state law. If this isn’t true, do I have any rights to pump in my workplace in Ohio?

    • admin says:

      It does. However see federal law page for explanation as to why current federal law is not of much help.

    • Kristin says:

      Show your employer your federal rights to pump at work. A respectful employer will accommodate. However, they’re not legally forced to comply but they might not be aware of that. Good luck!