MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota mom's adventure in nursing at the Hennepin County Government Center has gone viral.
Amanda Chandler, of Minneapolis, posted to Facebook a photo of a bathroom at the Hennepin County Government Center. It was the conclusion of what she says was a very bad day.
Chandler, who was at the courthouse for jury duty, says Monday was great. The nursing mother was allowed to pump on her schedule and in a private room. Tuesday, however, was different.
"As a nursing mother I was completely disappointed with the lack of regard and dismissal I felt when trying to pump (express breastmilk) on a schedule today," she said in the post. "My determined schedule (which is already less than my normal at home schedule) was neglected even as I tried advocating for myself over and over to clerk after clerk and to the judge herself. When needing to pump at least 4x today I was granted 2x. One time I was ushered to this gem of a room."
Chandler said she was allowed to pump, but only after she put the special request on a juror questionnaire and a defense attorney pointed it out. She says multiple clerks and jury office staffers apologized for the inconvenience and poor communication.
Chandler says the experience has led her to research Minnesota's laws protecting nursing mothers. While employers are required to provide a private space for employees, it is not specifically stated those same spaces be made available to guests who are nursing.
"There shouldn't be any question or interpretation," Chandler said. "It just felt very ironic to experience this in a courthouse."
Chandler was dismissed from jury duty Wednesday. As for the outpouring of support on social media, she says it's been overwhelming.
"What I really want is for this to never happen again to another nursing mother. We all have jobs to do in this world but once you become a mother, at least for me, that job comes first above all. Hopefully, by sharing my story, it will bring forward awareness of the issue and spark movement and motivation to change things."
Hennepin County does have a list of private rooms available for employees who are nursing mothers. It requires a county username and password to access.
“District Court has a quiet room on the 24th floor near our jury assembly room that was designed with nursing mothers in mind, which features a locking door for privacy, a sink and a chair," a statement from Hennepin County said. "Through a miscommunication, which we regret, a jury panelist was not originally advised of the availability of this room. District Court strives to respect the physical and medical needs of all its jurors."
For state-by-state breastfeeding law information, click here.