Toys R Us Violates the Law-Nurse in needed!! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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New York Civil Liberties Union
125 Broad Street, New York, NY 10004
www.nyclu.org

Toys R Us Violates Civil Law by Barring Breastfeeding in Store, NYCLU
Warns

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Maggie Gram, 212.607.3344 / 845.553.0349 / mgram@nyclu.org

September 14, 2006 -- The NYCLU today warned the Toys R Us company that
it had violated civil rights law by telling a mother that she could not
breastfeed her infant in a store.

A saleswoman approached Chelsi Meyerson after she began to breastfeed
her seven-month-old son in an out-of-the-way section of the Toys R Us
store on 42nd Street in Manhattan, where she was shopping with her
family. The saleswoman informed Meyerson that she was not "allowed" to
breastfeed in the store unless she moved to the basement, and that her
breastfeeding was "inappropriate" because there were "children around."
When Meyerson asserted that she was in the right and refused to move,
four more store employees harassed her, and the original saleswoman
called security.

"Breastfeeding is not a crime, and the right to breastfeed is simply not
a right that I am willing to give up," Meyerson said. "This incident was
humiliating and dismaying. I'm asking Toys R Us to guarantee that it
will never happen again."

The NYCLU sought a meeting with Toys R Us officials; an apology;
appropriate compensation for Meyerson; and a written guarantee that Toys
R Us would permit breastfeeding in its stores and would train its staff
about the policy.

"It's ironic that a store that caters to children would prohibit a
mother from doing what is best for her child," said Donna Lieberman,
NYCLU Executive Director. "One would think that Toys R Us would have
moved past the puritanical notions that this incident reflects."

Added Galen Sherwin, Staff Attorney for the NYCLU Reproductive Rights
Project: "This is about public health, not public morality."

Twelve years ago the New York Civil Liberties Union lobbied for and
secured the passage of a law that specifically establishes the right of
all New York mothers to breastfeed in public. That statute, a section of
New York State's Civil Rights Law, provides that "a mother may
breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother
is otherwise authorized to be."

"Prohibiting public breastfeeding is bad public health policy -- and
it's also against the law," said Elisabeth Benjamin, NYCLU Reproductive
Rights Project Director. "Health care providers and the law agree that
families who choose to breastfeed their children should be able to do so
whenever and wherever necessary."

The NYCLU's letter will be available this afternoon on its website,
http://www.nyclu.org.

- xxx
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#2 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 05:48 PM
 
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I"d go down for a weekend nurse in with my toddler!
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#3 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 06:13 PM
 
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If I lived in the area, I would totally be there. I hope the mama sues.
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#4 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 06:15 PM
 
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Wow, I bf'd all the time in mine. I thought they all went out of business, anyway?
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#5 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 06:17 PM
 
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That's wonderful that she's standing up for herself, but the part about "appropriate compensation" rubs me the wrong way for some reason.

I get the feeling I'm missing something, because it seems huge to be bringing out the big guns right away. Was an attempt made to contact Toys-R-Us and have them make this right before the NYCLU and a nurse-in were mentioned?

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#6 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 06:20 PM
 
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Maybe to her appropriate compensation is having the one who went so far as to call security fired?
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#7 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 06:24 PM
 
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Maybe. To me, compensation is monetary.

It just seems a little overzealous to me that this happened today and there's already a press release, call for a nurse-in, demand for compensation, etc. I'm not saying it's not deserved, but Janet in Canada (I think) has some great links about why a nurse-in is not always the best first response. I'm just wondering if they were even given a chance to make this right.

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#8 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 06:32 PM
 
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OK, I just realized that the article doesn't say when it happened, so it might not have happened today, and the article isn't calling for a nurse-in, the OP is. I'l have to look for more details.

I'm all for nurse-ins, especially in NYC since I could actually go, but I sometimes worry that people start shouting nurse-in before they actually try less "huge" ways of solving the problem.

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#9 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 06:45 PM
 
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Wow, in a Toys R Us? Strange that they would tell a mama not to nurse in such a child-friendly place. I wished I lived in NY- I'm dying to do a nurse-in! But I can't think of a way to justify a flight from Ca to do it.

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#10 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 06:56 PM
 
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http://www.nyclu.org/pdfs/toys_r_us_ltr_091406.pdf
read the letter to Toys R Us

It happened sept 11th.
What you are reading on MDC is a press release and the words from the lawyer at New York Civil Liberties Union; it is NOT the mother who asked for compensation. In NY State, it is a violation of a women's civil rights and by law, there is a some measure of compensation allowed when her rights are being violated. It might have nothing to do with money compensation, it could be the formal apology and Toys-R-Us creating a training policy and posting support for breastfeeding.
That is also compensation for her rights being violated and her humiliation.

BTW. She is the daughter of a LLL and she knew her rights. Her first response seems to not have a nurse in, but to educate.
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#11 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 06:57 PM
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I read an e-mail from the mom involved. She did contact TRU headquarters to speak to someone there. All she got was guest services who wouldn't put her in touch with any kind of manager or anyone with authority, they were all busy. The rep she spoke with told her sorry and that he would pass this on to the right team and get back to her within 7-10 days. Also, the floor manager she spoke to on the day of the incident told her sorry but didn't demand any sort of an apology or accountability from the 5 salespeople or the security guard who had harrassed her.
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#12 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 07:00 PM
 
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It happened on Monday, Sept 11 according to the NYCLU site. Thanks for the details! It does sound like she tried to go through the appropriate channels to talk to someone in charge. It stinks that they didn't work with her. I'll totally be there if it comes to a nurse-in, even though no one in this house nurses anymore. I bet I could get the almost-three-year-old latched on for old-times' sake.

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#13 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 07:02 PM
 
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Oh, that poor girl

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#14 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 07:05 PM
 
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Maybe I'll visit my local TRU and get my 3 yo latched for a bit in support. GL to you NY mamas!
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#15 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 07:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie
OK, I just realized that the article doesn't say when it happened, so it might not have happened today, and the article isn't calling for a nurse-in, the OP is. I'l have to look for more details.

I'm all for nurse-ins, especially in NYC since I could actually go, but I sometimes worry that people start shouting nurse-in before they actually try less "huge" ways of solving the problem.
I agree that sometimes people blame the overall company/place/organization, when really it's a matter of a few (or even one) people who are ignorant about the laws. It might be a company policy (my Toys R Us) to allow bfing that that particular employee (and others it sounds like) were not aware of.
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#16 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 08:08 PM
 
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THATS MAKES ME SO MAD!! I'll do a nurse in anytime. Makes me want to go to a TRU rIght now and BF very PUBLICY!!!

Betsy, Mommy to DS (10) DD (4) DS (2) and DS (1)
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#17 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 08:41 PM
 
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I'm all for BM and NIP, but I think they are getting a little carried away. She contacted them and they told her they would get back to her. I personally would have given them a chance to get back to me, THEN I would have went elsewhere. I wouldn't have wanted to get the girl fired, I would have just wanted her talked to, she probably was never told any better, so it was the managements fault for not letting her be aware of the policies. Just my two cents worth.
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#18 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 08:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarynsmom06
I'm all for BM and NIP, but I think they are getting a little carried away. She contacted them and they told her they would get back to her. I personally would have given them a chance to get back to me, THEN I would have went elsewhere. I wouldn't have wanted to get the girl fired, I would have just wanted her talked to, she probably was never told any better, so it was the managements fault for not letting her be aware of the policies. Just my two cents worth.
Well, to be honest, I think she gave them a fair chance, reading what others wrote. Refusing to put her through to a manager and refusing to allow her access to a manager at the store is completely unacceptable.

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#19 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 08:45 PM
 
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It is my understanding that this mother tried contacting the store and got a run-around. When you are harassed by that many different employees, it's not a matter of one worker who needs training, but a flawed corporate culture. I'd like to be there at the nurse-in - please keep us posted about scheduling.
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#20 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 09:08 PM
 
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I believe she handled it appropriately.
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#21 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 09:13 PM
 
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Neat thing about the NY state breastfeeding protection law is that it is one of the few (only one?) that has actual teeth in that it provides for penalties when a company or person violates it.

Unless those are used, they become useless. Companies would do well to Pay Attention.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#22 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 09:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie
That's wonderful that she's standing up for herself, but the part about "appropriate compensation" rubs me the wrong way for some reason.

I get the feeling I'm missing something, because it seems huge to be bringing out the big guns right away. Was an attempt made to contact Toys-R-Us and have them make this right before the NYCLU and a nurse-in were mentioned?
No, this happened to me too at the same store in 2001. It was a humiliating experience for me and I have written TRU corporate about it several times. No answer at all from them.

SO, to me? I am glad this is being addressed legally.
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#23 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 09:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hotmamacita
No, this happened to me too at the same store in 2001. It was a humiliating experience for me and I have written TRU corporate about it several times. No answer at all from them.

SO, to me? I am glad this is being addressed legally.
Me too, after reading further details. Sorry you had a bad experience too.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarynsmom06
I'm all for BM and NIP, but I think they are getting a little carried away. She contacted them and they told her they would get back to her. I personally would have given them a chance to get back to me, THEN I would have went elsewhere. I wouldn't have wanted to get the girl fired, I would have just wanted her talked to, she probably was never told any better, so it was the managements fault for not letting her be aware of the policies. Just my two cents worth.
Since this happened in NY, it's not a matter of store policy. It's a state law. I think it's great the CLU got involved. If a woman was harassed in some other way people would be all up in arms, saying she should sue. But this is *just* breastfeeding. I think she should push it as far as it will go. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

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#25 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 09:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Pinky Tuscadero
Since this happened in NY, it's not a matter of store policy. It's a state law. I think it's great the CLU got involved. If a woman was harassed in some other way people would be all up in arms, saying she should sue. But this is *just* breastfeeding. I think she should push it as far as it will go. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

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#26 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 10:06 PM
 
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I would have been very upset if that were me. A confrontation with 5 staff members and security? Many moms would have been scared out of their minds if they didnt know their legal rights. She better get a big apology.

~Shannon~ Proud Mama of 3 girls, ages 7,4, and 2.
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#27 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 11:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarynsmom06
I'm all for BM and NIP, but I think they are getting a little carried away. She contacted them and they told her they would get back to her. I personally would have given them a chance to get back to me, THEN I would have went elsewhere. I wouldn't have wanted to get the girl fired, I would have just wanted her talked to, she probably was never told any better, so it was the managements fault for not letting her be aware of the policies. Just my two cents worth.
I sometmes struggle with the reprecussions of my actions when I am simply standing up for myself. But where do we draw the line?

From what I read this mother informed the sales woman clearly that this was against the law- what followed was blatant abuse.. calling more staff and security? This wasn't one un-educated girl, it was a staff acting out to deny a woman her basic rights. I agree that a company should have a chance to make changes and be accoutnable, but nurse ins are about spreading public knowledge and awareness, a nurse-in is not a violent act or threat or even a punishment, it could even be deemed a celebration of a company making socially just laws. for example if *TRU* says they support breastfeeidng.. lets go breastfeed!
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#28 of 60 Old 09-14-2006, 11:57 PM
 
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if security was called on me, i would have demanded IMMEDIATE compensation of some kind. An apology, an official reprimand to the employee who was informed of the law and acted against it anyway, or some form of timely action to try and make right a bad situation. No one is going to treat me like a criminal and then get away with, "oh they weren't properly informed". If this woman stated her legal rights, a crime against her was commited. Bottom line. It is time that employees of retail stores know that it is not their job to dictate what is appropriate behaviour for customers.

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#29 of 60 Old 09-15-2006, 12:20 AM
 
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Go NYCLU, I hope this gets the attention & press it deserves. I think monetary compensation could be VERY appropriate in this case. This is an extreme case and TRU should be ashamed. The whole point of having a law is to have it be followed, so why not ask for a 'fine' (the new york law probably has a provision). Something like $50-500 isn't even a drop for a business like this, but having to pay the fine (and facing any press) could be enough incentive to change the culture. (BTW a fine might go to the state, not to the woman who was harassed).

Sounds like they were given plenty of opportunities to make amends and they didn't. At some point businesses have to be held accountable for the actions- and so far, this is a good example of the need.

If it is a priority they could still pull of something to rectify the situation-- but someone has to be willing to exert the necessary pressure.

Let's not forget this is a retail store that caters to families.... not that that should matter, but that just makes it worse.

Jessica

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#30 of 60 Old 09-15-2006, 12:23 AM
 
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it was on NY1 tonight!

great piece, and she was breastfeeding both the right and left boob during most of it!!! wish this link showed a video

http://www.ny1.com/ny1/content/index...id=1&aid=62630

eta: I think you can get to the video of it through the little link by the picture
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