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Discrimination Against Nursing Mothers at the International Restaurant and Food Services Show of New York » the strong buzz, by andrea strong
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the buzz

“Discrimination Against Nursing Mothers at the International Restaurant and Food Services Show of New York”

I was truly outraged to hear this news from Lori Mason, co-owner of Klee Restaurant, who attempted to attend the International Restaurant and Food Services Show of New York. 

Lori, who is a new mother to a beautiful baby girl, is quite amazing. She has been juggling the considerable challenges of running a restaurant while caring for (and nursing) her newborn.

On Sunday, she and her husband, Klee's chef Daniel Angerer, made their way to the International Restaurant and Food Service Show of New York. They packed up their baby and ventured out to enjoy the day only to be turned away and kicked out because the show forbids infants. Since Lori is nursing, she could not leave the baby at home (if you have nursed, you know that you can't go away for hours without pumping, and it's not like she's going to bring her pump with her to the Show.) She and Daniel were asked to leave. She asked to speak to a manager who also insisted that they leave.

I will be following up with the New York State Restaurant Association about this rule, which to me makes little sense and stinks of sex discrimination against nursing mothers who also happen to be restaurateurs. I understand that the NYSRA may be required to refuse admittance to minors, but an exception for nursing mothers and their infants seems logical and necessary since many of the women restaurateurs in our city are in fact mothers, too.

It's hard enough to try to do it all, without having the rug pulled out from under us. And here's a woman who's really doing it all, and wants to participate in her industry's events, and she is turned away. Disgusting.

As Lori wrote in an email to me, "Men go to show and mommy goes home with baby. Is this 2010?"

Stay tuned for more from the NYSRA. 


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1.)CeCeH
“Not Sex Discrimination”

I disagree that this is sex discrimination. The NYRS is NOT..I repeat...NOT a place to bring children, let alone infants. The place is crowded and many moments on cannot move and i literally at a standstill, while folks walk or stand or are pushed in a corner with food, beverages, and alcohol. There is a reason why kids aren't allowed, and anyone who has attended this show in the past show have the common sense to leave the kids at home. It's not safe for adults, let alone kids.

2.)thewiseking
“Do Us All A Favor, Get A Sitter or Stay Home!”

Excuse me, but if a location is inappropriate for or deems it necessary to exclude infants then you can't plead that your rights to breast feed there are being denied. Following the whiners logic out here we should also sue porn theaters, strip clubs, late night music venues and bottle service clubs for HR 296 (2)(a) discrimination as well.

3.)jbgood
“Shocking”

Clearly, you're not so wise, king. And probably aren't a parent. In this case, we're talking about an infant, not a toddler -- there is a major difference. I'm sure they don't want teenagers sneaking in and trying to get alcohol or something - understandable, but this is discrimination.

4.)thewiseking
“Do We Really Want Screaming Infants Around Us At A”

I don't see why there is a problem with barring infants from a food and wine event, ostensibly geared toward a somewhat sophisticated adult crowd. Given the behavior by parents nowadays I wouldn't be surprised to see unattended infants running up and down the aisles screaming and imbecilic Mr Moms using the food display tables for diaper changing tables if not for this rule.

5.)tonisan9
“Definately Sex Discrimination...”

under both the New York State Human Rights Law Section 296(2)(a)(the Show as a public accommodation) and the New York Civil Rights Law Section 79(e)(the right to breastfeed in any location where the breastfeeding mother has the right to be).

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