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  1. #1
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    Default Should businesses have to accommodate a pumping mother?

    I just read the following on Facebook. I don't know this person - it is a status which has been shared into a group I'm part of. I've removed the name of the individual, the winery and the event.

    What do you think about this? Personally I think that given it's a winery, not a shopping centre or kids play centre, you generally wouldn't expect to have to accommodate a breastfeeding mother. If she had her baby there, grab her a chair to sit on to feed the baby but I don't think any business has an obligation to allow a breastfeeding mother into their "staff only" areas. Particularly to pump - she's pumping and dumping, not feeding her hungry baby. There was one person commenting on the status with similar views to me and everyone else was outraged screaming discrimination. She wasn't told that she couldn't pump but was told that they had nowhere private for her to go. If people aren't comfortable breastfeeding or pumping at a public event where there are not appropriate facilities, then perhaps they should consider waiting until they're no longer breastfeeding to attend. In my opinion, we make sacrifices as mothers and I think this is an occasion when she would have had to.

    I breastfed my daughter for 6 months and plan to breastfeed my next child/ren so please don't read this as an anti-breastfeeding post. I'm simply wondering how far people really expect businesses to go for them just because they're a mother.


    "I am utterly shocked and appalled at the treatment I received at your winery yesterday during the [EVENT NAME] event. I have a 4 month old son at home, and in order for me to attend I had to bring a breastpump along and pump milk throughout the day, as my baby was not with me.

    My friend asked the cellar door worker if we could use a private room for me to pump breastmilk in. She asked her manager on the floor, then returned to tell me the most private place they had for me was over there in a corner, and she pointed to a crowded extension of the winery with about 20 people sitting at tables and chairs..
    I told her I needed to empty my milk somewhere, so would like somewhere more private. She then told me she would empty it for me and pointed to the sink on the cellar door counter and laughed. Appalled we turned away, and heard her joke with a male customer 'too much information'.
    I was not offered a closed door at all, as they were all labeled 'staff only'. I wasn't even allowed to use the main toilets sectioned off as they were 'closed', And to add to the ordeal I was made fun of and laughed at.

    We then had to walk the grounds, to find a quiet place away from people. Our only option was behind a wet rainwater tank in the cold, next to some rusty metal frames. Sitting their drinking our wine that was purchased from your winery, as busses were driving around a few meters ahead.
    I felt extremely discriminated against, and uncatered for in a very simple situation, that could have been handled with heart and consideration.

    I am naming and shaming your winery publicly because it is completely unacceptable to be treated this way. It is a sad reality that breastfeeding women are descriminated against, and unfortunately your business added to this. It was handled by management also, who represented [WINERY NAME]. I hope in the future you can accommodate women in my position so they feel comfortable and cared for by you, and not discriminated against."

  2. #2
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    Pumping and dumping she can do it in the toilet IMO.
    Eta - yep they were closed but they would've had to provide toilet access to the public somewhere.
    Last edited by BigRedV; 11-06-2014 at 05:33.

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    I don't really think saying she couldn't use a staff area to pump is discrimination. It is a staff area, she is not staff. If it was a mother asking to use the same area to feed her child the answer would probably be the same.

    Businesses are not required to provide areas for us mums to breastfeed, they just can't tell us we aren't allowed to do it in their establishment.

    I do however take issue with the laughing at her and find that unprofessional.

    Initially I had the same reaction as BigRed and thought she is pumping and dumping, she can do it in the toilet. But then I thought about it more, it may be her one and only break from bubs and she needs to pump not to lose her supply. But I still don't think it's discrimination for not allowing her access to staff areas.

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    If Middlebrook Estate thought their staff were in the right, then why did they delete both their Facebook accounts & website after this mum complained? They are obviously trying to avoid the backlash because management know their staff were out of line.

    Whether the venue should or shouldn't provide a place to express is irrelevant - bottom line the staff made comments about her, belittled her with regards to her wanting to express & that is discrimination under the sexual discrimination act....

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    I think it is uncool fit the staff to make the *too much information* comment but I think it is unrealistic to expect a business to have to cater to pumping and dumping. Why not sit in the car? Why not call ahead and discuss your requirements?
    I imagine that they didn't offer use of the toilet lest they end up with bad press.

    It is unrealistic to expect to use staff only areas. Most of these areas in a business contain things like cleaning equipment/chemicals, staff bags and personal possessions, and office space where they may not feel it is appropriate to have someone unsupervised.

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    Legally, she is 100% supported by the anti-discrimination act. I ran an event at a hotel where I had an expressing mother attend. The hotel were incredibly accommodating, and actually provided a hotel room for her to use during the day. Pumping mothers have the same rights as breast feeding mothers - she could have done it in the middle of the restaurant if she'd wanted to. Giving management a heads up would have been a good move, but at the end of the day, she's not in the wrong.

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    I think her complaint is about the wrong thing. Not having area if fine. They she was spoken too would be what her complaint should be about. (I don't know what exactly was said but if she felt it was against the sexaul discrimination act than make a formal complaint.)
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    I'm a breastfeeding mother who expresses on occasion.

    If she was pumping and dumping she could have done it in the toilet - as bigredv said, they would have HAD to have toilet facilities open for members of the public.

    If for some strange reason they didn't, then surely she could have asked the his driver of HER bus if she could sit in there before everyone else boarded?

    I definitely think the staff should not have been rude to her and mad fun of her or laughed etc, that's rude and unprofessional, but I don't think she was 'discriminated against'.

    If anyone else had have asked for a private room for something else, their answer would have been the same.

    Also I'm sure if she was visiting a few different wineries she could have waited a few minutes to express at the next stop? Maybe they would have been a bit more accommodating.

    I don't think business should HAVE to accommodate mums who express, Afterall they are told probably on a daily basis that mums can feed whenever and wherever they like, often they feed in public without a cover (like myself) and we are always going on how we shouldn't be 'hidden' etc so really, having a separate room for expressing seems a bit OTT. I mean how many mums would go out on a regular basis and have to express while they were out. Yes it happens of course, but not nearly as much as just a breastfeeding mum.

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    The comments and attitude of the staff made a bad situation worse.

    Yes I would have expected more from the staff. I doesn't cost anything to try and accommodate her and give her access to the staff area. I found it common courtesy towards customers.

    I always give access to families to our bathroom and kitchen and we don't have to. But what does it cost us to help out people?
    Nothing and everybody is happy. It's not like it happens everyday too!
    Last edited by ExcuseMyFrench; 11-06-2014 at 07:05.

  15. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigRedV View Post
    Pumping and dumping she can do it in the toilet IMO.
    Eta - yep they were closed but they would've had to provide toilet access to the public somewhere.
    I agree. Toilets aren't ideal but surely better than outside in the cold? The staff were way out of line with the "too much information" comment though. Maybe if the staff had tried to be a little bit nicer this lady wouldn't have made such a fuss. I don't think businesses should be obligated to provide access to staff areas if they don't want to.


 

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