Sophia Cruz, a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent from New Mexico, was fired last year from her post because, she says, she was trying to have it all: being both a new mom and a working woman.
“All I wanted to do was nurse my daughter. And all I wanted to do was be a mom and an agent,” Cruz told KOB-TV.
Sophia Cruz thinks she was discriminated against at work for activities necessitated by her being a mother. (Image source: KOB-TV)
Cruz was fired in April for failing to take a firearms certification renewal test, but the woman said not only was the test never scheduled but that she wasn't given a new, required bulletproof vest that would fit her after her body changed in pregnancy. KOB reported that even if an appropriate vest were provided, Cruz was advised by her doctor not to wear one for extended periods because she was breastfeeding.
“I think the issue was that they always approached this as ‘Agent Cruz wanted special treatment,’” Ray Martinez, Cruz's lawyer, told KOB of the perspective he thinks other border patrol might have had
Watch KOB-TV’s report:
Martinez provided KOB with a letter sent to Cruz last year from Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Mark Woody, calling her care for her baby a "laudable decision” but that if it was interfering with her work she “may resign from employment” or work "full duty."
“We need you back on full duty," Woody wrote in the letter.
Cruz' doctor recommended she continue pumping breast milk for the year after her daughter's birth. (Image source: KOB-TV)
In a statement, Customs and Border Patrol wouldn't comment directly on the case due to the pending lawsuit, but told KOB it "is dedicated to the health and well-being of all of its employees and is constantly looking for programs and initiatives that positively impact their work environment.
"The Lactation Support Program is one such program that was designed to enhance the quality of work life for employees who are nursing mothers," the statement continued. "CBP understands the stress and challenges of having a new baby and is concerned for the health and well-being of all employees by providing needed worksite assistance. Pre-designated areas are provided for employees needing accommodations and employees are responsible for providing their own equipment and maintaining the cleanliness of the lactation rooms. Full-time and part-time CBP employees are eligible to participate in the program. CBP fully supports the Lactation Program which was enacted January 25, 2011.”