Amanda Chandler says she wants to see more support for nursing mothers after she says she was denied reasonable time and adequate space to pump her breast milk while on jury duty.
It all started when the 40-year-old mother from Hennepin County, Minn., was summoned for jury duty at her county courthouse.
The nursing mother of two-year-old Elliott says she was already feeling quite nervous about the prospects of being part of a legal proceeding, so she made sure to call the jury office to express her needs to pump her milk.
“When I had called the jury office, they had assured me that my needs and requirements for pumping as a nursing mother would definitely be met.”
But as Chandler told Global News, that wasn’t the case.
For the first day, things went as planned, Chandler said. She was offered a “quiet room” to express her milk. But on the second day, after she was placed on a jury panel, things went sour.
“I wasn’t allowed any personal break,” Chandler told Global News.
She was denied a chance to pump her milk during the morning session, and in the afternoon, after pleading with the judge and clerk, Chandler says she was led to a small unisex bathroom. She says she needed to pump her milk at least four times a day, but was only able to do it twice right next to a urinal.
She posted about her frustration on Facebook.
After the outpouring of support on Facebook, Hennepin County Government Center responded.
“District Court has a quiet room on the 24th floor near our jury assembly room that was designed with nursing mothers in mind, which features a locking door for privacy, a sink and a chair,” a statement from Hennepin County said.
“Through a miscommunication, which we regret, a jury panelist was not originally advised of the availability of this room. District Court strives to respect the physical and medical needs of all its jurors.”
Chandler says she hopes sharing her experience at the courthouse will raise awareness of the difficulties nursing mothers face and the need for greater support.
“It was a really terrible day. But in the end it was one day for me and I made it through, but it really made me think about all of the nursing mothers who deal with things like this every day with no support or laws to back them up.”