Employee Informs Meeting’s Lead She’s Using A Breast Pump And Won’t Turn On Her Camera But They Insist So She Maliciously Complies.
It’s a heated discussion on what it’s like to be a new mom in a belittling workplace. In this story too a lady described how, despite advising the host that she was breast pumping at the time, she was told to turn on her camera during a video meeting. Read the story and let us know what you would have done in her situation.
I am a project manager and data scientist. I manage lots of different public health related projects. There is one project in particular that includes a really demanding team from a federal government department.
I recently returned back to work from maternity leave. I work in my office three days a week; on those days, I have to pump breastmilk at regular intervals for my baby. Luckily, I have my own private office and can usually just keep on working (emails, reports, etc) while I pump. I have a hands-free, wearable pump which is convenient….but still definitely obvious if I am wearing it (it pokes out about my shirt and is not exactly silent).
Recently we have a Zoom call scheduled during one of the times I needed to pump. Instead of missing the meeting, I figured I would just keep my camera off so I could wear my pump and still participate and listen. Heck, I was even IN my office and not working from home; I felt like I was being a pretty committed employee!
Meeting starts, a few people have their cameras off. The Lead makes the announcement: “I just want to remind everyone that our expectation is that you will have your cameras on because this is not a virtual meeting, it is a simulated in person meeting” (….whatever that means)
I sent a quick private message to explain I was paying attention, but pumping; no response to me, just instead, a, “Again, the expectation is that all cameras will be on.”
So fine. I turned my camera on for this meeting of about 20 people, The camera isn’t aimed at my chest but certainly the top of my pump is CLEARLY visible. I unmuted myself, so you could also clearly HEAR the pump, and just said, “Thank you for your patience, I was adjusting my breast pump.”
The meeting continued awkwardly, with several other team managers letting me know privately it was fine to turn my camera off, but at that point, there really was no point in turning it off.
At the most recent meeting, the announcement was, “Please turn on your cameras if you are comfortable doing so.”