Walmart has confirmed that the actions of an employee who harassed a breastfeeding mom were both illegal and against company policy. The chain has “apologized” for the actions of the employee following public backlash.
Kelly Messing was breastfeeding her child in the bathroom of a North Carolina Walmart when an employee decided that the nursing mother was somehow bothering other patrons. Messing, who was already in the bathroom to limit exposure of her demon bubbles to the public AND using a nursing cover, was told that she must squat in a dirty toilet stall in order to feed her child.
Messing posted on Facebook:
The Walmart employee violated North Carolina law by forcing the mother to hide the shameful action of nourishing her child in a bathroom stall.
The national breastfeeding foundation, Best for Babes, threw its weight behind the mom and organized a nurse-in at the offending Jacksonville location. A dozen moms stopped by to feed their children.
“She was in the restroom, with a cover, was accosted by an employee that said other customers were uncomfortable,” said the group’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, Tori Sproat. “That’s pretty atrocious that as a society we are taking a woman who is already projecting to us that she’s already uncomfortable, and then saying ‘Hey, let me make you more uncomfortable for feeding your child.’ [It’s] something that should just be normal and supported.”
Walmart has issued a nonapology for the violation of the mother’s rights–and company policy. “This store did not follow our policy in this situation and we absolutely apologize to our customer for her experience,” Walmart said in a statement. “We’re not sure exactly who did not follow our policy but we do not condone this and we have restated our policy to all associates at this retail store.”
However, before apologizing, Walmart was caught censoring posts about the incident–and it waited until the problem garnered national attention before apologizing.
Perhaps we do need an ad campaign to highlight this abuse.