Oregon mom Karina Gomez says she was "humiliated" when a Marshalls store employee instructed her to breastfeed her baby in a bathroom stall.
In a viral Facebook photo post, the mom writes, "Yes, this is me sitting on a toilet feeding my sweet, Katalina Maria, after I was denied my right to breastfeed where I wanted to by a #marshalls employee. I was denied to breastfeed in a dressing room, instead I was directed to a bathroom stall to breastfeed."
"What a way to treat breastfeeding customers, shaming them for breastfeeding, making them feel embarrassed that you need to feed your child," Gomez continues. "I am angry, upset, but more so humiliated. My rights have been violated."
The mom's post has been shared over 14,000 times in just two days, and the comment section has over 2,600 responses. Many commenters condemned the employee's actions as illegal and suggested that Marshalls take a cue from Target's breastfeeding policy, which calls for total support for nursing moms.
A Marshalls representative apologized to Gomez in a Facebook comment directing her to call the company's Customer Service Team during weekday work hours. But several parents were not satisfied with this response, noting that the mom should receive a more direct apology and immediate communication from the company, rather than having to wait two days to call Customer Service.
In a statement emailed to The Huffington Post, a Marshalls spokesperson said:
We have a breast feeding policy in place which instructs Associates to allow customers to breastfeed as they choose within stores. We have looked into this matter and regret that it may not have been followed in this instance. We have been in touch directly with the customer involved so we may resolve the matter. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Given the employee's failure to follow protocol, a local Portland moms group organized a nurse-in at the Marshalls Cascade Station location, where the incident occurred. "They need to train their employees. I think all retail, restaurants, they need to be more aware of how to approach situations like this, and be more appropriate," organizer Julianna Gjerman told KGW. The nurse-in is scheduled to take place later Monday at 11:30 a.m. local time.
Also on HuffPost: