Canterbury cafe owner speaks out after staff shamed for using breast pump

A Canterbury cafe owner has spoken out after a member of her staff was ‘shamed’ by a customer for using a breast pump in public.

Liz Childs, co-owners of the vegetarian & vegan Veg-Box cafe with her husband, Adam, took to social media after a customer complained that the breast-pumping member of staff had “ruined her lunch”.

Mrs Childs said in a Facebook post that: “Everyone should feel comfortable breastfeeding (and in any form this takes) everywhere”.

Liz told UNIfied that she won’t stand for anyone trying to humiliate her staff or customers.

Sha said: “I want to make it clear that we wont tolerate any abuse towards our staff or customers.”

The post that Liz put up on Facebook, following the incident

“We just wont tolerate it. We are fully supportive of breastfeeding.”

According to Liz, the member of staff was pumping discreetly in the corner of the cafe.

“The member of staff had just returned from maternity leave,” said Liz.

“We are fully supportive of breastfeeding.”

“She was pumping in the corner. She was covered, no one could see anything. It was very discreet.

“The customer said that she had ruined her lunch.

“We asked the customer not to return.”

What does the law say?

Preventing someone from breastfeeding in public can be an offence.

Public breastfeeding is protected under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, making it illegal to stop someone breastfeeding in public.

The Equality Act 2010 states that ‘a business must not discriminate against a woman who is breastfeeding a child of any age in a public place’.

What to do if you have been told you cannot breastfeed in public?

Leading maternity charity, Maternity Action, offer the following advice on their website for anyone who has been told they cannot breastfeed at work:

“Firstly, you should talk to the service provider. If you cannot resolve it, you can make a complaint. Most service providers, educational bodies and other groups should have a complaints procedure, if not, you should ask who to complain to.

“If you cannot resolve the matter you can bring an action in a county court in England or Wales or a Sheriff court in Scotland but you should seek advice as these can be expensive cases to bring. You must start the case within 6 months of the date of the act you are complaining about. This time limit will only be extended where it is just and equitable.”

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