Kelsey Vetter is a brand new breastfeeding mom to 13 week old twin girls in Mount Airy, North Carolina. While at work at Lone Star Steakhouse in Mount Airy, Kelsey takes a 20 minute break to pump milk for her hungry babies at home. Pumping for her little ones is something that is not only vital to their healthy beginning in life, but is also protected by law -- working mothers have the federally sanctioned right to take a break at work to pump milk. (See laws in detail below).
However, one Lone Star customer who was sat in Kelsey's section on June 24, 2015, did not seem to understand the many reasons a young woman may need to step away from her tables for a brief time. This customer would likely benefit from learning a little more about who their server was that night --a working mom striving to do the best for her small babies. Instead of inquiring, or having compassion for what the situation may be, this customer left a large "X" scribbled where a tip would otherwise be written onto their receipt, and left nothing for Kelsey's time in waiting their table that night. In addition, on the back was a scribbled note (above).
On her Facebook page, Kelsey responds:
To the girl who left this for me tonight, and didn't tip... I apologize for the tea being "nasty" (the tea that you asked for a to-go cup in order to take it with you). All you had to do is let me know, and I could have fixed the problem. But you didn't. Also, I DID thank my manager for watching my section, and as you said "waiting on you" for the 20 minutes I had to step away to pump because I am a new mother of two 13-week-old girls whom I breastfeed. No, I don't feel the need to explain myself or warn my table that they may have someone else bring their food, or check on their drinks. I would just like people to be more aware of what a situation might be. There are laws that give breastfeeding women the right to break from their job to pump. Not everyone knows this, but it is important. It's important to understand that it is the only way that some babies eat. So to the girl who left this, I hope that in the future you might consider the big picture instead of just being rude and ignorant. #HindsightIs20/20We would like to encourage Kelsey -- not only for standing up on behalf of thousands of other mothers who are working and pumping to balance mothering and paying bills, but also for her devotion to nursing her twins (and pumping for them when she's away). Any mom of multiples knows this is no small task, and Kelsey should be supported, encouraged, empowered -- not belittled and denied the income she works for.
Photograph of Kelsey's twin baby girls from Heavenly Angels Photography.
Federal Workplace Pumping Law
Section 7(r) of the Fair Labor Standards Act – Break Time for Nursing Mothers Provision Effective March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended the FLSA to require employers to provide a nursing mother reasonable break time to express breast milk after the birth of her child. The amendment also requires that employers provide a place for an employee to express breast milk. Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 207) is amended by adding at the end the following:
(r)(1) An employer shall provide— a reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk; and a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.
(2) An employer shall not be required to compensate an employee receiving reasonable break time under paragraph (1) for any work time spent for such purpose.
(3) An employer that employs less than 50 employees shall not be subject to the requirements of this subsection, if such requirements would impose an undue hardship by causing the employer significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to the size, financial resources, nature, or structure of the employer’s business.
(4) Nothing in this subsection shall preempt a State law that provides greater protections to employees than the protections provided for under this subsection.
United States Department of Labor: Nursing and Pumping Laws for Working Mothers: http://www.dol.gov/whd/nursingmothers/faqBTNM.htm
Breastfeeding State Laws and Federal Health Reform and Nursing Mothers: http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/breastfeeding-state-laws.aspx