Breastfeeding mum to get apology
A breastfeeding mother who had a blanket thrown over her child by a Henderson Work and Income employee will receive a personal apology from the staff member.
Henderson resident Ashley Hollings was nursing her 7-month-old daughter Kaitlyn as she waited for her partner at Henderson's Work and Income office on September 9.
A female WINZ employee picked up Kaitlyn's blanket from beside them and twice threw it over the child's head to hide what was going on.
"Because there's males around", was the worker's answer when Miss Hollings protested.
The story has since received traction on social media sites, even capturing international audiences on the American Huffington Post website.
Miss Hollings received a call from WINZ this week saying the employee will apologise in a written letter.
The 25-year-old mother says she won't move on until she receives the apology.
"I don't know what her reasoning was when she approached me but it needs to be addressed by her personally.
"She picked up an item of my property and told me what to do. If she had asked me if I was OK or if I needed a room that would have been fine and would have been the end of it," she says.
Miss Hollings says she has received encouragement from members of the public in the supermarket and on the street.
But Rosanna Leman, who contacted the Western Leader after reading the article, It's Only Natural (September 17) isn't so understanding.
"It takes very little to cover up with a scarf and perhaps a little decorum is asking too much of these selfish women who think breastfeeding gives them the right to expose themselves to all of us regardless of whether we wish it or not," she says.
Equal employment opportunities commissioner at the New Zealand Human Rights Commission Jackie Blue says women have the right to breastfeed and it should not be a reason for withholding a service or treating them differently.
"Sometimes members of the public or employees may object to seeing a mother breastfeeding in public however the right to do so in public is an entitlement," she says.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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