Pubs' breast-feeding alert

By Gurjit Degun

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Discrimination

Big issue: breast feeding mothers should not face discrimination
Big issue: breast feeding mothers should not face discrimination
Hosts are being reminded about discrimination laws after a licensee was slammed for asking a breast-feeding woman to leave her pub. Elaine Loughran,...

Hosts are being reminded about discrimination laws after a licensee was slammed for asking a breast-feeding woman to leave her pub.

Elaine Loughran, licensee of the King William IV in Hampstead, north London, defended her decision, claiming the mother was not a customer as she had not been to the bar.

She said she simply started changing her baby on the pub's floor and then began breast-feeding.

A report in the Evening Standard​ newspaper claimed the mother is now considering legal action after being heckled by customers and being asked to leave after being informed that "people are eating".

Loughran said this all happened in an area that had been reserved for football supporters before an FA Cup semi-final game last month.

She revealed she is concerned as she has received arson threats following the incident.

"I am allowed to say who is and is not allowed in my pub, and they were not customers because they had not been to the bar. I don't have a problem with breast-feeding.

"I am a mother myself and I know how hard it can be," she said. "I even let women change their babies in my flat upstairs.

"It was her changing the baby on the pub floor while others were eating that I had a problem with."

It brings to light discrimination issues, as the Equality Act 2010 says businesses cannot discriminate against women breast-feeding.

The Publican's Morning Advertiser's legal editor Peter Coulson said: "A business cannot discriminate against mothers who are breast-feeding a child of any age.

"The Equality Act 2010 has specifically clarified that it is unlawful for a business

to discriminate against a woman because she is breastfeeding a child.

"A licensee may ask a breast-feeding woman to leave their premises if the reason for this request is not due to her breast-feeding.

"However, if the woman later claims that discrimination occurred because she was breast-feeding, the licensee will have to prove that there was in fact no discrimination."

Peter Coulson's tips for licensees

• Do make sure that women you're providing services to are allowed to breast-feed on your premises if they want to.

• Ensure that mothers breast-feeding babies are not discriminated against — no matter how old the baby is.

• Do train all your employees, especially those who deal with the public, to be aware of the protection from discrimination given

to breast-feeding mothers under the Equality Act 2010.

• Don't forget, under the Equality Act 2010, discriminating against someone because they are with a breast-feeding mother is also prohibited, so companions of breast-feeding mothers who are also treated unfairly may have a claim too.

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