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Paulisa Jefairjian had to hide under desk to pump breast milk: suit

A Queens teacher was forced to hide under her desk to pump breast milk — once while a class was in session, prompting curious students to ask where the noise was coming from, she claims in a lawsuit.

Paulisa Jefairjian, 32, contends Principal Grisel Rodriguez told her the only space at PS 82 in Jamaica for her to pump breast milk was a dirty, crowded computer-supply closet — which was already occupied when the new mom went to use it in 2019, according to her Manhattan Federal Court lawsuit.

Jefairjian had “to resort to … the embarrassing practice of sitting on the dirty floor under her classroom desk to pump her breast milk,” according to court papers filed against the city, the Department of Education and Rodriguez.

The law requires businesses to provide clean, private spaces for women to pump breast milk.

Grisel Rodriguez
Grisel Rodriguez claims she had no other choice but to hide under her desk to pump breast milk.

bottles with breast milk
Paulisa Jefairjian, contends Principal Grisel Rodriguez told her the only space at PS 82 in Jamaica for her to pump breast milk was an already-occupied dirty, crowded computer-supply closet.


The “makeshift” milking station often left her stuck, Jefairjian charged, noting she could “only pop her head out from behind the desk to respond” if co-workers came looking for her, or “captive under the desk” while other teachers used the room for classes.

At least once, the noise of Jefairjian’s breast pump distracted curious students, she said in the litigation.

Pregnant a second time in 2021, Jefairjian quit rather than go back to PS 82 when schools returned to in-person learning from the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s seeking unspecified damages.

The city Law Department said it would review the case.

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