A mother who alleged she was ordered to stop breast-feeding her infant at the Tiffany’s in the Short Hills Mall, Essex County recently lost her discrimination lawsuit. But the case was a near miss.
Initially, Superior Court Judge Burrell Ives Humphreys denied Tiffany’s motion to block the woman’s civil suit, saying the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination is “nothing less than the eradication of the cancer of discrimination.” Even though the law doesn’t specifically cite breast-feeding women as a protected class, prohibiting breast-feeding in a place of public accommodation is a form of sexual discrimination, the judge said.
While that decision allowed the woman to bring her case to trial, she subsequently lost the case because the Tiffany employee testified convincingly that he’d merely asked the mother to move her stroller away from the store’s entry way.
Caution: The judge’s comments in the preliminary hearing should put you on notice: The courts stand ready to apply anti-discrimination statutes to a woman’s right to breast-feed in public areas.
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