Breastfeeding backlash a lesson to SMEs

Just when David Koch had started to breathe easily again, mums are back on the warpath after a Sydney café banned a breastfeeding mother.

A nurse-in-protest has been organised for lunchtime today at Satellite Café after Regan Matthews claims staff told her to stop breastfeeding her child and that the practice was ”disgusting” and ”an offence to humanity”.

The Facebook page for the café has already received over 260 mainly negative comments about the incident.

Satellite Café posted on Facebook that a personal apology has been sent to Matthews.

“I hope that once she receives it, some amends can begin to be made here,” the café posted.

“Breast-feeding mothers, children and friends are welcome at Satellite – the stickers will be on the door next week.”

The uproar is evidence that all publicity is not good publicity and highlights an important issue for businesses.

Your staff may hold strong personal beliefs on anything from breastfeeding babies to religion. But staff, especially those who deal with the public, need to be told – and then continually reminded – that their personal views are not to be expressed on the job.

All staff should know that laws protect breastfeeding women in public whether on trains, at work or in cafés.

The law provides that businesses may set reasonable terms for provision of services if the services are to be provided in a special manner but that does not include breastfeeding.

What’s more, the Federal Discrimination Act specifically states that people can’t discriminate against breastfeeding mothers.

In an era of social media, Satellite Café’s actions have turned into a national media story.

It’s a valuable lesson for businesses.

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