A restaurant in Concord, North Carolina is facing scrutiny after a former employee, Brennan Mathis Atwell, claims they harassed her, said pumping was indecent, and removed her from the schedule for needing to pump, something that is protected by federal law.
Brennan shared her side of the story on Facebook yesterday.
“I’m sad to say that my return to work at The Union St. Bistro was short lived. Despite the many federal laws protecting the rights of breastfeeding mothers in the workplace, I was removed from the schedule for pumping milk at the end of my shift. I was told it was “indecent” to express milk in a place that employs males. I hear a lot of people say that gender discrimination no longer exists in the workplace, that women’s rights are no longer an issue. Well guess what folks, I am living proof that in 2015 women, particularly mothers still aren’t equal in the workplace. If you love your Mom don’t eat at The Union St. Bistro.”
The Affordable Care Act states an employer must provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express milk. (More breastfeeding laws for NC.) All employers covered by the FLSA must comply with the break time for nursing mothers provision.
The restaurant disabled reviews and removed posts on their Facebook page as of this morning. Their only public response was stating the employee was not terminated. Breastfeeding mother and advocate Kari Reilly thinks it’s not right. She told restaurant staff that bullying, shaming, making a mom feel badly is just as bad as firing them. It is a sure way to force her out and feel unwelcome at work.
How can you help?
Contact your North Carolina representative and ask for an enforcement provision.
I suggest the mother contacts the North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition. (NCBC contact info) and contacts the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) to file a report of discrimination.
Take a stand
It’s up to everyone to help stop the mistreatment of women and children. If you see a woman breastfeeding in public, give her a thumbs up. If you see someone shaming a breastfeeding mom, making fun of her, asking her to cover up, move, or stop, stand up for what’s right and talk to them. Be respectful but honest. It’s not okay to harass moms for taking care of their children. It’s time to stand up for women, babies, our future.
How does this mistreatment of a mother at her workplace make you feel? Does your work support pumping mothers?
**Update 5.19.2015 @4:13pm**
The mother shared this update on her Facebook page.
- 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
- 50 Reasons for Breastfeeding Anytime, Anywhere – PhD in Parenting
- Every argument against NIP debunked – Paa.la
- The Pope Supports Breastfeeding in Public – Paa.la