A cafe has banned a customer after she complained to the owner that her “lunch was ruined” by a female member of staff using a breast pump.
The mother had recently returned to The Veg-Box in Canterbury from maternity leave and was discreetly expressing milk in the corner of the establishment.
But the customer was offended by the incident and swiftly left the eatery – returning the following day to file a complaint.
Yet the owner of the cafe, Liz Childs, immediately defended her staff member who admitted to feeling “shamed” and “humiliated” by the experience.
Posting on the cafe’s official Facebook page, she wrote: “Everyone should feel comfortable breastfeeding, and in any form this takes, everywhere. The member of staff had just returned from maternity leave and was pumping in the corner.”
“It was very discreet, she was covered and no one could see anything,” she continued. “But the customer complained it had ruined her lunch and walked out.”
“She came back the following day when I told her that we would not tolerate our staff being humiliated like that and asked her not to return.”
In a second post, the boss warned the offended customer not to return to the cafe.
“Sadly one of our lovely members of staff was shamed by a rude customer for very discreetly pumping the other day,” she wrote. “This is not okay and we continue to reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”
“If this was you, please don’t come back,” the post concluded.
Members of the public were quick to show their support of the cafe’s decision via social media.
One customer wrote: “Thank you for upholding the law and protecting your employee from discrimination, as per the equality act.”
“Breastfeeding is legally allowed anywhere that mum and baby are allowed to be. It’s such a shame a customer has behaved in such a disrespectful way to a parent just feeding their baby.”
“There is nothing more natural than a mother feeding their baby – just like adults need to eat, so do babies,” another Facebook user added.
But amid the support, also came criticism on the cafe’s decision to ban the customer.
“Ok, is it ok if I take a p*** anywhere too? Hey, it’s only natural,” one commented. “Nope, there are toilets for that kind of ‘natural behaviour’ and that’s the respectful way to live in a society.”
“Bodily fluids don’t belong where other people are eating. Wasn’t discreet enough if a costumer was able to see them/notice,” another argued. “Do you not have a staff room?”
Although women have a right to breastfeed in any public area under the Equality Act 2010, the topic remains a divisive one.
Last year, a mother revealed how an employee at a shopping centre in India suggested she go to the toilets to breastfeed her baby.
—Watch the latest videos from Yahoo—
Read more from Yahoo Style UK: