According to the New York Sun, a woman who was breastfeeding in a NYC Toys ‘R Us was asked by several sales associates to move to their private nursing room in the store’s basement. The controversy stems from how and why she was asked. Toys ‘R Us is claiming that the associates merely asked her if she would be more comfortable in the private area. The mother claims that they told her breastfeeding in the middle of so many families and children was not appropriate. By the time this alleged snafu escalated to what might have elicited further action, the mother was done breastfeeding and went about her business.
The New York Civil Liberties Union says that if TRU doesn’t educate their employees and offer a public apology, they will sue them for violating this woman’s civil rights. The kicker is that in their own press release listed on the ACLU website, they threaten to sue for “compensation”.
FOR WHAT?! At most this women was offended. She was not evicted from the store, she was not denied being able to shop there. Is this what we’ve come to? Should we compensate people just for being offended?
If what TRU is claiming to be true, that she was simply asked if she would feel more comfortable in a more isolated location (which I know some breastfeeding women would be), is that an actionable offense? Perhaps many associates asked, just like how you get asked by 5 salespeople if they can help you, but so what? One associate may not know that somebody has already approached them. It happens all the time.
What exactly are her damages?
I support civil rights, in fact I think we should have more rights and less government intrusion into our lives, yet the NYCLU is contridicting their original intentions by taking away one’s right to be ignorant and say something offensive and naive. Holding corporations hostage for the political intelligence and savvyness of their employees is outrageous. Ideally, TRU probably should include training on the right to breastfeed in public, but are they to be held accountable for a particular person’s sensitivity too?
I say, if you don’t like a rude associate, don’t continue to shop at such a place. Allow consumers to “punish” TRU if they think that’s appropriate, but must we use breastfeeding as a tool to push social and political censorship of unpopular opinion or saying something that is seemingly innocuous, but offensive to those with a particular agenda?
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