Victoria’s Secret officially apologized to a Texas woman who was denied the right to breastfeed her four-month-old child inside a store in Austin, Texas.
When 27-year-old mom Ashley Clawson asked the sales clerk if she could use one of the dressing rooms to breastfeed her child, she was understandably shocked by the employee’s response. Instead of allowing her to nurse the baby inside the location, she was asked to breastfeed in the alley beside the store.
Since the right to breastfeed in public is protected by Texas law, it’s not surprising that the mom was a little shocked by the clerk’s response. Although a nearby customer said it was okay to breastfeed inside the Victoria’s Secret location, the employee didn’t agree.
“The woman who checked me out began to nod her head yes, but before she had a chance to respond, the employee next to her immediately responded by telling me I was not allowed to nurse my son in her store. Instead, I could walk outside to a nearby alley,” Clawson recently told the Austin Culture Map.
She continued, “I was instantly confused and shocked, so to clarify, I asked her, ‘You want me to take my son outside, down an alley, and nurse him?’ She responded by saying yes. It was cold and windy — there was no way I was going to walk down an alley in the middle of the elements to feed my son.”
Since the Texas Health Code states that a mother can breastfeed in any public location, the mom decided to file a complaint with the Victoria’s Secret customer service line. Unfortunately, the company didn’t seem to take the situation too seriously at the time.
“He said he filed the complaint and they would be in touch. However, the next day, when I called them back, there was no record of my complaint, so once again, I was on the phone for another 30 minutes explaining my experience. The new contact said they would be in touch as well,” Clawson explained.
The angry mom also complained to the store manager and Victoria’s Secret CEO Sharon Jester Turney. While Clawson said she hasn’t received any response from the company as of this writing, Victoria’s Secret did issue an official statement about the situation.
The press release explained:
“We take this issue very seriously. We have a longstanding policy permitting mothers to nurse their children in our stores and we are sorry that it was not followed in this case. We have apologized to Ms. Clawson, and we are taking actions to ensure all associates understand our policy that welcomes mothers to breastfeed in our stores.”
Not surprisingly, Clawson is a little unsettled by the company’s lack of response. Since breastfeeding in public is protected by Texas law, she feels Victoria’s Secret should address the matter with their employees so this sort of thing doesn’t happen again in the future.
“I am just an everyday mom doing what I think is best for my son, as are all the other mothers in the world. I just hope Victoria’s Secret understands the urgency on their part to support moms and nursing moms alike,” she said.
What do you think about Victoria’s Secret denying a mom’s right to breastfeed in public?
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]