Bobee Carroll was breastfeeding her 3-month-old, Addison, at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Bossier when a manager came to the table she was at with her husband, telling her their waiter was uncomfortable with her breastfeeding.
Carroll said “She had this fleece blanket and she said ‘Do you have a cover for her?’ I said no and she said ‘Well here I brought one for you’ and I said that’s illegal for you to tell me that I have to cover up.”
La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 51. 2247.1 (2001) states that a mother may breastfeed her baby in any place of public accommodation, resort, or amusement, and clarifies that breastfeeding is not a violation of law, including obscenity laws. The law leaves enforcement to the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights.
Bobee’s husband, Caleb, said they compromised and created a barrier from the restaurant. He said “I used a chair, a toddler seat and the blanket that they provided.”
The Carrolls reached out to district managers and were contacted by a corporate representative the next day.
Caleb Carroll said “I think they were actually genuine and honest about hey we should look into a policy for this kind of stuff.”
In an email to Bobee, Jean M. Lanfear, V.P of Human Resources for JK&T Wings, Inc & Subsidiaries (Buffalo Wild Wings parent company) apologized and said in part:
First I would like to extend our deepest apology to you and your husband for the uncomfortable situation that you encountered. Our company does not discriminate in any manner. Nor do we have any policy in place that would stop a nursing mother from openly nursing her child. This was a case of a very young waiter who was caught completely off guard and was not prepared to properly react. The manager or another server should have stepped in and taken over for him which was not the case.
Quite frankly, we have never encountered a situation like this as we don’t get many nursing mothers in our Buffalo Wild Wings locations and most of our young team members have never been in this position. We are certainly going to take this opportunity to educate and prepare our Team Members throughout our entire system, in order to show discretion and sensitivity in these matters in the future.
The Carroll’s don’t want people to stop going to Buffalo Wild Wings, in fact, Bobee is hosting a breastfeeding sit in at the same spot next week.
Bobee Carroll said “We’re just going to be a bunch of moms enjoying our dinner and taking care of our babies. We want breastfeeding to be normalized. It shouldn’t be sexualized. We want women to know their rights and we want the companies to know they can’t interfere with that.”
The breastfeeding sit in is at Buffalo Wild Wings at 2640 Airline Dr, Bossier City, Louisiana, 71111.
You can find the facebook event page here.