A mother, Breanna Frick, was breastfeeding her 5-week-old infant while shopping at the Springfield, Illinois rue21 clothing store when she needed to feed her infant. She continued to shop and breastfeed at the same time, as many ladies do that have the skill, and was approached by an employee who decided to tell her breastfeeding wasn’t allowed in their store and that she’d need to move herself into a fitting room. Usually, when these incident happen the employee claims ignorance to the law. This one employee said they knew the law but chose to disregard it.
This was Breanna Frick’s complaint that she posted on the store’s main Facebook page yesterday:
With this photo of the breastfeeding laws in Illinois.
That’s right. Illinois Rev. Stat. ch. 740 § 137 (2004) states that a mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be. Just because this clerk didn’t want to see it in the store, doesn’t mean she had to right to harass this mother. This employee, who stated she knew the law, clearly doesn’t understand that Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 720 § 5/11-9 (1995) “clarifies that breastfeeding of infants is not an act of public indecency” and she needs to get over her misguided feelings towards breastfeeding. Or at least not act on them.
As of this evening, Rue21 has not reached out to the mother to offer an apology after she gave them her phone number.
How can you help?
Contact the offending location and let management know that you heard of their mistreatment of a mother and child, that this employee needs to follow the law. Breanna Frick and her child deserve a sincere apology. Then contact rue21 corporate and let them know that they need to take steps to ensure this type of harassment is really taken seriously. When Barnes & Noble harassed a mother, they sent out a nationwide message and reinforced their policy, put the international breastfeeding symbol stick in each of their stores, and donated $10,000 to the local breastfeeding coalition. Rue21 can also do this very easily without Breanna needing to involve Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The Illinois State Breastfeeding Taskforce or Family Friendly Business would be happy to assist with training.
rue21 at White Oak Mall
2501 Wabash Ave Sp B08a, Springfield, IL 62704
Store phone: (217)726-2075
Attn: Customer Service
800 Commonwealth Dr.
Warrendale, PA 15086
Have you breastfed while shopping at the mall? How should rue21 respond to this incident and one of their employee’s blatant disregard for state laws? Should legal action be taken against this employee for knowingly acting in a discriminatory, unlawful manner?
**Update 7.30.2014 9am**
I sent rue21 a message on their website yesterday and received this message this morning:
In case you cannot read it, it says, “At rue21, we are fully committed to the rights of nursing moms. We truly apologize for what happened at our store in Springfield and have reached out to Breanna to offer our apologizes. Our policy is that women have the right to breastfeed in our stores, and we are currently re-educating our store teams to ensure compliance with all laws and to respect the rights of all nursing moms. We thank Breanna for bringing this matter to our attention, and we reaffirm our commitment to public breastfeeding at each of our 1,052 locations.”
I have not confirmed with the mother about whether or not she’s actually received an apology but if she has, I hope this response satisfies her. What do you think of their response?
- Search my archives for recent nursing in public incidents
- Video: “Everybody’s Gotta Eat” – Free The Nipple PSA - Paa.la
- What’s So Hard About Covering Up to Breastfeed in Public? - Motherhood and More
- I Was Harassed for Nursing in Public (NIP) what do I do? - Best for Babes
- Every argument against NIP debunked – Paa.la
- Nursing with Discretion: What really matters - Paa.la
- The Pope Supports Breastfeeding in Public – Paa.la