New Jersey moms are planning to use a hotel lobby to breast-feed their children on Sunday as they stage a “nurse-in” to protest the reported layoff of a new mother.
Ariana Gossard said she was preparing to return to work after her maternity leave, but was let go from her job at the Hampton Inn in Bordentown, New Jersey. She said she was told that her position could not accommodate breaks for pumping breast milk, which she had requested. Gossard said she didn’t ask for extra breaks, she just asked to use her regular breaks for pumping.
Since she’s started talking publicly about getting fired, Gossard said support from other moms has been pouring in.
“I have gotten a lot of messages on my Facebook and my email, of just people thanking me, for putting the word out, because this is an issue that goes on all the time, and nobody is really aware of it,” she said. “Nobody is really talking about it, because they are scared of what’s going to happen.”
After hearing about Gossard’s story, Alison Gary of Bordentown decided to organize the breast-feeding “nurse-in” in protest.
“To show support for Ariana, and really all working mothers who are struggling with issues around breast-feeding and pumping breaks, there’s a lot of progress that needs to happen,” she said.
So far, 20 women have signed up for the nurse-in, Gary said, and the RSVP list is growing.
Hamtpon Inn Bordentown did not respond to requests for comment.
Gossard will not join in the protest.
She is considering legal action and is concerned that joining the demonstration could jeopardize her case.
Under the Affordable Care Act, employers are required to provide accommodations for mothers to pump breast milk, but the rule does not apply to employers with fewer than 50 employees.