The following story is a fictionalized version of a real event reflecting laws that may not apply to your jurisdiction. This article is produced for entertainment purposes only and should not be interpreted as legal advice. Readers are advised to seek legal advice relevant to their circumstances, the jurisdiction in which their matter pertains to and the laws in place therein.
“There, there, mon petit. My but you’re hungry today. Don’t worry. Mama won’t move until you have finished.”
Anne Marie arranged her blouse so that little three-month-old Jacques would have nothing to interfere with his feeding.
“Just think, little Jacques, how lucky your Mama is. Here I am, in Montreal’s most exclusive shopping centre nursing my precious in the outside cafe. Your grandmama was not so lucky back in the fifties.”
Anne Marie, with her head bent as she watched little Jacques’ every movement, didn’t notice the two elderly ladies at the next table staring at her and whispering to each other.
“Shocking. Just shocking. No shame. And no breeding. Why, if I tried to nurse my babies in public, I would have been barred from polite society. We must put a stop to this.”
The ladies called over a security guard and complained. The guard approached Anne Marie. “Sorry, ma’am, but you’ll have to cover up. I have just received a complaint from those two ladies about what you’re doing.”
Anne Marie was shocked. This had never happened to her before. “I have never been so humiliated in all my
life. I’m a mother with a nursing baby. Nobody expects young mothers to spend their lives prisoners in their own homes while they have babies.”
Anne Marie put Jacques into the carriage and wheeled him straight to the human rights commission where she complained bitterly.
The commission wasn’t impressed. “Were you denied a service generally available to the public? No. So there is nothing we can do for you.”
Anne Marie was determined to have her rights acknowledged. She found a group that supported her claim and pressured the human rights commission to investigate. Anne Marie got her day in court.
IN THE COURTROOM
She argued, “Your honor, my human rights have been violated. I was discriminated against based on my sex.
I was denied access to a public place because I was breast-feeding my son. This is wrong. There is nothing more natural than breast feeding. And I was discreet. Make them pay.”
The owner of the shopping mall and the security company argued, “Your honor, there is nothing wrong with breast-feeding, but it should be done in the appropriate place. The shopping mall is open to all people. We can’t allow Anne Marie to offend our customers. We are running a business. People complained and we politely asked her to cover up. She wasn’t denied access to a public place. She is welcome to shop at our mall at any time as long as she breast-feeds somewhere else. We have been fair. We didn’t discriminate.”
Was Anne Marie discriminated against? You! Be the Judge! Then look below for the decision of the Commission.
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“There is no doubt in our minds, Anne Marie. Your rights have been violated. The security guard had acted inappropriately.” Anne Marie was awarded $2,500 in moral damages