HR Strange But True!
December 03, 2003

We all know that HR is never dull, but sometimes it can get downright strange...

One mother of a demonstration

A Burger King restaurant in Sandy, Utah, found itself the target of a "nurse-in"-and lots of bad publicity-after an employee asked a customer to stop breast-feeding her baby in the restaurant's play area.

Sixteen nursing mothers turned out for the lunchtime demonstration, after word of it spread via the Internet and such groups as Natural Mothers Utah and Utah Mothers, according to the Deseret Morning News.

The Burger King employee, acting on another customer's complaint, had asked Catherine Geary to either use a bathroom to continue nursing or leave the restaurant. The incident led to national news coverage and outrage among many Utah mothers, who said they didn't see anything wrong with discreetly suckling their children anytime, anywhere, as state law allows.

"This should be a child-friendly atmosphere," said one of the mothers at the demonstration, Cindy Anderson. "You shouldn't be expected to kind of banish yourself."

As Utah mothers tried to organize another nurse-in-this time at Burger Kings nationwide-the chain announced Nov. 21 that it was adopting a corporate policy of allowing women to breast-feed.

"We want to be a family-friendly place," said Rob Doughty, vice president of strategic communications for Miami-based Burger King Corp. "We want to be responsive to our customers and didn't know this was a big issue. Unfortunately, in Utah it went directly to the press, and we didn't have a chance to take a look at it."

The policy recommends a new way to handle customers who take offense at breast-feeding: "Kindly explain that breast-feeding is permitted in the restaurant and suggest to that customer that he or she relocate to another section of the restaurant."

Burger King lawyers determined that 20 states, including Utah, expressly allow breast-feeding in public, while laws in other states don't address the issue, Doughty told the Morning News. An uncertain number of municipalities also permit public breast-feeding, he added.

Source: Deseret Morning News:

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