Breastfeeding and Jury Duty Can Be a Dirty Combination in Florida

Categories: Broward News
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via www.surebaby.com
Breastfeeding is not an explicit reason for sidestepping jury duty in Florida. Although a mother who does not work full time and who cares for a young child has a legally valid excuse, a full-time working mother who breastfeeds is bound to jury duty, unless a judge agrees otherwise.

"If you're a breastfed baby in Broward County and your mom is called for jury duty, she will be told to prepare your meal in a disgusting public bathroom," says Tracy Volaric, a nursing mother.

For her, pumping twice a day at work is never a problem, but the Broward County Courthouse proved another story. Volaric was told there was an outlet in the restroom where she could plug in her pump. She walked into the "typical dirty dirty public restroom" and found the only outlet next to the overflowing trash can by the door.

Volaric told courthouse employees she would not pump in the restroom and says several of them shrugged off her request for a more appropriate location. She was offered a cleaner and more private office space only after she asked for the names of the people she considered rude and unhelpful.

Last year, a bill was introduced  that would excuse mothers nursing children under 2 years old from jury duty, but the bill never became a law. At least 12 states explicitly excuse breastfeeding mothers from jury duty, but Florida does so only if someone can show "hardship, extreme inconvenience, or public necessity," the catch-all excuse that can, conceivably, include breastfeeding. Volaric didn't try to apply these conditions to her situation because she didn't think it would be such an unpleasant issue.

Florida is one of 44 states that have laws allowing women to breastfeed in any private or public location. But this doesn't mean women are comfortable pumping in the corner of a courthouse bathroom -- or, for that matter, in a courthouse hallway, jury room, or parking lot.


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9 comments
Kimmy D.
Kimmy D.

Ditto to everything Elita said!

Elita @ Blacktating
Elita @ Blacktating

Your comment was that she should pump at home or pump at lunch. If she is gone from her home for 8 hours a day at jury duty, that would leave her able to only pump during whatever lunch break she got at jury duty. That is not enough. And on her lunch break, if no other accommodations could be made, you said she could find a "more suitable public restroom." There is NO public restroom that is suitable for preparing your baby's food. If you wouldn't make and eat a sandwich in there, why would I pump my milk in there? The point is, the courthouse should be prepared for this type of thing if they are not going to list it as an exemption. There should be a dedicated space for lactating women where they can pump, if you are going to expect them to show up for jury duty.

HIH
HIH

Fire the bathroom custodian & his or her supervisor.

Guiness
Guiness

If the courthouse can provide a clean place for smokers to indulge in an unhealthy addiction, the courthouse can provide a clean private place for a woman to pump breastmilk

Sam
Sam

If a Judge is not going to excuse breastfeeding women from jury duty than the court should provide a lactation room. Otherwise, breastfeeding women are going to have to pump and dump bad for babies or go without pumping bad (and painful) for Mom.

Women should not have to pump in a restroom.

Elita @ Blacktating
Elita @ Blacktating

You are still assuming a bathroom is a suitable place to pump. It's not. Do you eat in public restrooms? If the court system is not willing to grant exemptions for nursing mothers across the board, like other states, then they damn well better be prepared when a woman walks in needing a place to express milk. And ok you're a woman, it's still obvious you know very little about how breastfeeding works. Expecting a woman to pump once per day, for God only knows how long, illustrates that clearly.

Sent from my HTC on the Now Network from Sprint!

----- Reply message -----

Elita @ Blacktating
Elita @ Blacktating

So Smitty, I'm assuming you are a man who has never been around a breastfeeding woman because what you are saying makes no sense. Breasts continually fill up with milk all day. Pumping is not a once-per-day thing. If she were told to report to jury duty at 7 am and was not released until 5 pm, she would need to pump at least three times during that period in order to keep up her milk supply and not deal with a medical issue like engorgement, which could lead to plugged milk ducts and mastitis, a breast infection that often requires antibiotics. So yes, she DOES need a more appropriate place to pump than the bathroom, and no, you cannot expect a breastfeeding mother to serve on jury duty without needing to pump throughout the day. If the courthouse can't make such a simple accommodation, then they need to excuse nursing mothers. I received a summons when my son was 3 months old, I was still on maternity leave and breastfeeding and I was thankfully dismissed. There is no way I would have pumped in a filthy bathroom.

Lyn
Lyn

I agree. I've worked at the courthouse for a long time and this issue has come up before. This is the first complaint I hear.

Maritza Tobon
Maritza Tobon

I could not have said it better myself. Great job, Elita.

Smitty consider yourself cyber-punched. But we will forgive you for your ignorance & lack of sympathy.

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