Breastfeeding in public continues to be a controversial issue, but the law in Nevada is clear: It is perfectly legal.
This page explains both federal and Nevada “breastfeeding” laws. Our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys also explain when mothers may pump breast milk in the workplace.
Breastfeeding is legal in Nevada
In 1995 the Nevada Legislature passed Senate Bill 317 which recognized that breastfeeding a baby until age two offers health benefits to both mother and child. The law then specifies that breastfeeding is legal in any public or private location where the mother is otherwise authorized to be. Beatty criminal defense attorney Michael Becker gives an example:
While waiting for the bus in Henderson, Sarah sits down on the bench and intends to breastfeed her infant. Before Sarah can pick up the infant, a police officer rides by and sees Sarah’s newly exposed breast. Sarah is then booked at the Henderson Detention Center for breaching the peace. Once Sarah’s defense attorney explains that Sarah was preparing to breastfeed her infant, the charge should be dismissed.
Note that breastfeeding in public is permitted even if the nipple of the mother’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is also legal even if people around the mother are offended or discomforted by the sight of the breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding versus Indecent Exposure in Nevada
The Nevada crime of indecent exposure is “any open and indecent or obscene exposure of his/her person, or of another person.” Typical examples include flashers, streakers, or exhibitionists. Breastfeeding is not a type of indecent exposure.
Pumping breast milk at the workplace in Nevada (29 U.S.C. § 207)
Federal law mandates that employers provide reasonable break times throughout the workday for employees who are mothers to pump breast milk. Employers must provide these breaks for at least one year after the child’s birth.
Employers must also offer a place other than a bathroom to express milk. Furthermore, this place needs to be shielded from view and free of intrusion from coworkers and the public.
Note that employers do not have to accommodate federal breast pumping laws if the employer employs less than fifty people and accommodating federal breast pumping laws would impose an undue financial or logistical hardship.
Also, note that employers are not required to compensate employees for the time they spend breast pumping.
Arrested for breastfeeding? Call us for help …
If you have been arrested for “breastfeeding” in Nevada, call our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers. We may be able to get the charge dismissed completely. Learn more about local breastfeeding initiatives at the Nevada Breastfeeds Coalition.
We represent clients throughout Nevada, including Las Vegas, Henderson, Washoe County, Reno, Carson City, Laughlin, Mesquite, Bunkerville, Moapa, Elko, Pahrump, Searchlight, and Tonopah.