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PM article - Teacher made to breastfeed in toilet victim of harassment

I have just read with interest the UK Legal lowdown article in People Management - Teacher made to breastfeed in toilet was victim of harassment.

It got me thinking, we had a mum returning after maternity leave who needed to express and we found her little more than a cupboard, a chair and a fridge - It was clean though!  The issue we had was there were very few rooms which afforded her privacy as they all have glass panels for safeguarding purposes.

Clearly we need to do more, I wondered what some of you are doing within schools to support breastfeeding mums?

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  • It's an interesting question and comes to down to dialogue and reasonableness. In the case in question, the teacher told the school that she found the arrangement unhygienic and unacceptable but the school appears to have made no attempt to accommodate her needs.

    The obligation on schools (and all employers in similar situations) is to have a dialogue with the person who needs space to express, to understand what kind of space they want and to provide that within the bounds of reasonableness. The factors of privacy, hygiene, accessibility, the consideration of others in the workplace and affordability need to be taken into account and a sensible accommodation reached that, as far as possible, suits all parties. It might be that something as simple as having a moveable folding screen and a comfortable chair is all a business needs. If an employee needs to express, they can then have the freedom to dictate where they would like it set up and then that space is available for them to use as required.
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    6 Jun, 2022 09:33

    Hi Alex,

    Thanks for flagging this. Here's the online link for everyone's benefit.
    www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/.../teacher-forced-express-***-milk-dirty-toilets-victim-harassment-tribunal-finds

    Tagging  for a view Slight smile

  • In reply to Robey:

    I hadn't actually thought of a folding screen! Great suggestion - thanks, Robey! Our returning mum was happy with what we put in place, but I'm not sure all our breadfeeding mums would have been so great to have an alternative suggestion.
  • We had a private area in our medical room that was used by one teacher who was expressing, and we booked meeting rooms where needed with lockable doors/blinds.

    Where space is at a premium, you definitely need to be flexible and listen to the individual about what they need. From what you've said, it sounds like you found a good solution - maybe ensuring there's drinking water available nearby too. It doesn't need to be beautiful, but it really does need to be clean.

    I remember having to express at a conference one time, at the Excel Centre. Beyond awful. I'd be very unimpressed at a workplace thinking that was a good option for a returning member of staff.