I was harassed for nursing at local diner, city police backed it up. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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**Update post 81**

Ugh mamas. I am in Ontario, where the right to breastfeed wherever you have the right to be is a human right. At least as far as I know it is! I was just at a local diner with my kiddo, her dad, and my babe, and babe needed to nurse (I'd been gone for 3.5 hours doing an exam), so I nursed her. Discreetly, at the table in the corner, although of course that doesn't matter.

Got harassed in a big, awful way. First our waitress was totally silent with us delivering our food. M's dad thought it was coz I was nursing, I thought he was paranoid. Guess he was right because a few minutes later (Z was in her high chair by this point) someone else, I think the proprietor but not sure, came and told me I needed to bring a blanket to cover up. I told her, calmly, that I did not, that her asking me to cover up is a violation of the Human Rights Code, that mamas have a right to nurse wherever we have a right to be. She kept on, saying 'people are trying to eat.' I said I'm trying to eat!, asked her to leave several times, finally M's dad and I raised our voices, she left.

Comes back a few minutes later standing about our table, on the phone, says she has called the cops and they said she was right. I said they are mistaken. Several other staff got into the melee, I raised my voice coz obviously everyone was watching by this point, and said I was nursing my baby, that is my right, and leave us alone. M's dad made a funny crack about 'That's it! 10% tip!' LOL, but the whole thing had me upset and shaking. We were made a spectacle in front of the whole place, and I was blamed as instigating it by nursing. Awful.

So I come home, call the City Police to see what went down. Spoke with a Constable (got his name) who doesn't know who she spoke to, but told me they had every right to tell me to cover up, it's their business, I was not in a public place but an establishment, they could have told me to leave.

Well obviously that is completely false. I attempted to explain that to him, he became hostile, I asked for his supervisor. He wouldn't tell me at first, I said 'So you are refusing to tell me who your supervisor is?' and then he gave me the information.

Can you believe that? I'm in shock. And my 5 year old witnessed me being admonished and spoken to harshly for nursing her sister, witnessed a whole scene about how I should cover up with a blanket to nurse.

Wonderful.

I'm at a loss. I want to do something. Merely boycotting the place doesn't really cut it as it just means I lose out on a place I like to go to, yk? Wondering about a nurse in? I hesitate coz it's a small business, but OTOH she harassed me and harassed me, came back to harass me some more, and the staff harassed me too! She didn't leave well enough alone when I politely informed her I could nurse.

And the local police... holy crap! Something has GOT to be done about that. Obviously it's not just one officer with misinformation too, because this was not the guy the restaurant woman spoke to.

What the heck to do about alla that? I'm totally upset about it, it happened like an hour ago.
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#2 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:12 PM
 
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I am so bloody outraged, more at the police than the diner, though the diner is unbelievable as well.

I would be contacting the media, telling both the diner and the police that if they don't apologize, you will contact the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Contact your local LLL too. They might be helpful.

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#3 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:14 PM
 
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WOW! TM. I don't know. Maybe contact your Human Rights Commission? Is that what you have up there in the frozen north that deals with your Human Rights Code violations?

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#4 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:17 PM
 
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Oh my god. It never fails to amaze me when crap like this happens in a place like that - you guys have some of the best breastfeeding rights legislation anywhere, and you'd think people would be aware of that. I'm so sorry that happened to you - heh, I probably would have been arrested for throwing a blanket over the lady's head.
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#5 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:18 PM
 
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That is awful. I am sorry you went through that.
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#6 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Looks like we're organizing a nurse in at the cop shop. and my local mamas are calling the diner tonight to complain. Anyone else who wants to join them, the diner is:

****
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#7 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:27 PM
 
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Go to the media!!

Unbelievable that this happened in Ontario! I'm so sorry for and angry for you.
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#8 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm thinking to organize a nurse in and alert the media? Would that be how to do it? We're thinking to nurse in at the police station.
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#9 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:30 PM
 
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OH my god!! I guess I am naive, it totally shocks me that this could happen in ONtario, where the Ontario Human Rights Commission DOES have us covered (pun not intended!).
If it were one naive staff member...fine, whatever...but multiple staff??? and manager? AND THE POLICE!!!!??? :

When are you doing the nurse-in? I don't know that I could make it to London, but I would like to try.

Holy s***. This has brought tears to my eyes. It's so different hearing about it happening HERE as opposed to somewhere else.

DS 12/22/05 and DD 5/24/09
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#10 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know, I can't believe it happened here! Well, the diner owner I can believe, but the police I cannot believe. Unreal.

Nurse in, I don't know. Next weekend? I don't even know what date that is, how close to Xmas. During the week kinda sucks tho, people work etc. I have no idea how to do this! But I don't just want to ignore it yk? Coz that let's it be okay, and it keeps happening.
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#11 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by thismama View Post
I'm thinking to organize a nurse in and alert the media? Would that be how to do it? We're thinking to nurse in at the police station.
That sounds like a great idea--I bet the media would be all over that!
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#12 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:32 PM
 
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That really sucks!

I did find this link:

http://www.breastfeeding123.com/onta...on-complaints/

It has info on the law, and info on who to contact. It says to report directly to the OHRC.

From the Ontario Human Rights Commission:

Quote:
You have rights as a nursing mother. For example, you have the right to breastfeed a child in a public area. No one should prevent you from nursing your child simply because you are in a public area. They should not ask you to “cover up”, disturb you, or ask you to move to another area that is more “discreet”.
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#13 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:33 PM
 
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I'm thinking to organize a nurse in and alert the media? Would that be how to do it? We're thinking to nurse in at the police station.
YES! And talk to the OHRC, perhaps? Definitely get ahold of the information you need to take to the police so they have a clear definition of your rights - educate them.
I've never done this sort of thing before, but if there is anything I can do to help, please PM me.

DS 12/22/05 and DD 5/24/09
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#14 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The cop told me the diner is not a public place, but an establishment. This is not true though right? I have always heard that shopping malls, stores, restaurants, etc, anywhere that welcomes the public, is considered a public place and cannot discriminate. Is that correct?
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#15 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:40 PM
 
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Yes. ANYWHERE the mother as a person has a right to be, she has a right to nurse. I've found the wording on the OHRC site, I'll try to find it for you again. Also look on the breastfeeding123 link someone posted above - there seems to be a discussion there in which a lawyer states the wording allows for including private businesses.

DS 12/22/05 and DD 5/24/09
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#16 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:40 PM
 
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I don't know anything about Canadian laws, but it sounds like the cop was full of it. Otherwise, couldn't people technically break a lot of other laws in restaurants or shopping malls because they are "establishments" and not public places? I would think that the law extends to private businesses as well.
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#17 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:40 PM
 
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Here's your local LLL: http://groups.lllc.ca/view.php?area=...London+Daytime

DS 12/22/05 and DD 5/24/09
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#18 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:42 PM
 
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Definitely worth contacting the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

So sorry that happened to you, Mama. You are so awesome to stand up for the rights of your baby and all breastfeeding babies in Ontario. Please keep us posted here.
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#19 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:42 PM
 
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TM - (It's MM from LMs ) You know I'm there to support you. Just let me know where and when I'll see if I can get there.

They picked the wrong mama to harass!

LP
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#20 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:43 PM
 
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how can a local restaraunt not be a public place? I mean, I know they can kick people out for fighting or something but harassed for nursing : I'm sorry you were treated this way

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#21 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:45 PM
 
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Definitely contact your Human Rights Commissioner and alert the media if you can. YOu could send out a press release to CTV and CBC. They often have local hotlines for news tips. That is completely unacceptable!

Mama to Thing 1 and Thing 2.
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#22 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:46 PM
 
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I am so outraged on your behalf :

Mama to Thing 1 and Thing 2.
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#23 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:47 PM
 
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But the cops should know that it's been legal for women to be topless here, and has been for 15 years. So how can they say that you can't breastfeed?

I wish I was still nursing, I'd be so there, but I don't think my 8yo would be willing to latch on any more!
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#24 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:48 PM
 
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I'm having trouble finding the section on the OHRC website I found before - the links from the left lead to vague summaries and aren't helpful. BUt I know what I found before stated that any discrimination related to pregnancy or breastfeeding was considered, under the OHRC, sexual discrimination (and thus what you experienced was sexual harassment) because it discriminates for something which is gender-based - because you are a woman.

I will keep trying to find the right info. Maybe you can call the OHRC on Monday - though we all know government offices this close to the holidays might be hard to reach...

DS 12/22/05 and DD 5/24/09
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#25 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But the cops should know that it's been legal for women to be topless here, and has been for 15 years. So how can they say that you can't breastfeed?

I wish I was still nursing, I'd be so there, but I don't think my 8yo would be willing to latch on any more!
You can be topless but not necessarily in a restaurant. Breastfeeding law is a different one I believe.

LOL on the 8 year old. I would love to see supportive ppl there too, nursing or not.

When to do it? How do ppl do the nurse in thing? I'm lost.
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#26 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 06:57 PM
 
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I'm furious for you. Kudos to you to reiterating the point "Are you refusing to give me your supervisor's name" WOW. You've got guts mama.

I would talk to their supervisor, get a fax number and fax them the info on your human rights. I would also write a letter to the establishment, with the same information asking for an apology. If you don't get that, go public with it.

I think sometimes this is the only way to educate the community. This is discrimination and if we don't stand up against it it will continue happening.

Good luck mama.
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#27 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 07:00 PM
 
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WOW. You've got guts mama.
You have no idea! This time they messed with the WRONG mama!

LP
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#28 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 07:01 PM
 
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I wish I could afford to take a trip to Canada just to go to a nurse in
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#29 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 07:08 PM
 
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I wish I could afford to take a trip to Canada just to go to a nurse in
You're welcome anytime, but as a Canadian I would recommend picking a nurse-in in the summer. It's chilly and snowy here right now! :
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#30 of 157 Old 12-13-2008, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You have no idea! This time they messed with the WRONG mama!

LP
LOL! Yeah I'm not really a wilted flower.
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