Tim Hortons had to apologize to a breastfeeding mom in Tweed, Ontario. It seems the restaurant manager had a problem with something that Stacey Kennelly had every right to do.
Kennelly had been passing through the town over the Labor Day weekend and nursed her newborn while standing in line. As she waited, a supervisor had come over and asked her to cover up, according to local breastfeeding support group head Megan Irvine. The supervisor had allegedly been told by the manager to relay the message.
Kennelly had known her rights and refused, said Irvine.
“So she asked to speak to the manager, he came over and said it was store policy for mothers to cover up.”
It seems that breastfeeding is being mistaken for something that shouldn’t be done, and mothers everywhere are cracking down on those who don’t understand breastfeeding moms’ rights.
— Parentdish Canada (@ParentdishCA) September 9, 2014
When Kennelly relayed the story to the breastfeeding support group, they planned to host a nurse-in at the restaurant in protest of the way she had been treated. Some of them had come a long way to participate, knowing how important it is for women to fight for their right.
Gianna Petrella of Colborne, Ontario, was one such protester. She figured the larger the crowd, the more likely the restaurant would listen.
“I thought the bigger the group, the bigger of a movement it would be. I try to do whatever I can to help society normalize breastfeeding.”
Stacey Kennelley had informed the management that she knew her rights and is now taking the fight beyond the restaurant, straight to the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
“I will not be dealing directly with Tim Hortons as this isn’t an issue with a service they did or did not provide, but a blatant violation of human rights. I informed the employee and then the manager that they were incorrect in their assumptions that I was required to cover up.
“I brought up the human rights website that outlines my rights as a nursing mother. The manager refused to look at it and kept insisting ‘it’s not a problem,’ that he is just following head office policy.”
The Ontario Human Rights Commission clearly states that women have the right to breastfeed in public, a fact backed up by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Breastfeeding moms have the right to do their business anywhere and at any time.
For their misunderstanding, Tim Hortons has offered their sincere apology to everybody involved in the protest, as well as moms everywhere.
[image via Mises Canada]