SEAL BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A young waitress claims she was denied the right to pump breast milk at a Seal Beach restaurant on Monday.
New mother Kristen Joseph, 28, said she had an awkward conversation with one of her managers at Hennessey’s Tavern when she requested some time to pump breast milk for her 6-month-old son, Wrigley.
“He said it was disgusting. He said he didn’t want me to spray all over his office. I was just appalled at what he had to say,” said Joseph.
The waitress said she never had a problem with pumping at work before this particular instance.
In fact, Joseph said she previously used the manager’s office to pump and have some privacy.
“They have to provide me a safe, sanitary private place. When I told (the manager) it was against the law for him to deny me of that, he kind of just went off,” she said.
Joseph said she contacted Hennessey’s corporate office and is waiting for a response.
“I’m not trying to do anything negative. I’m taking this as a very positive opportunity to make the situation aware to other women, to mothers. Because we’re all interested in the same thing: the well-being of our children,” she said.
The manager on duty at Hennessey’s told KCAL9’s Juan Fernandez that they had no response to the allegations.
Phallee Woodridge, a registered nurse and lactation educator, said she encounters similar situations, even in California where laws protect breastfeeding mothers in the workplace.
“(Mothers) have a tendency to get discouraged, so they don’t normally do it, especially when they go back to work,” she said.
Only businesses with less than 50 employees are exempt from the breastfeeding law.
Hennessey’s has 10 locations, nine in Southern California and one in Las Vegas.