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Where can I breastfeed?
10:38am Monday 18th October 2010 in Advice
My daughter was breastfeeding her child on the bus last week, and the bus driver told her she had to stop or get off the bus. Was he acting within the law?
No. Women are allowed to breast feed in public and sex discrimination law currently protects breastfeeding women. From October, under the new Equality Act 2010, this is clarified and the bus driver would be made liable for discrimination because he was treating the breastfeeding woman differently from other passengers and refusing to allow her to use the bus in the same way as others.
The bus company could also be held liable unless it could prove it had taken all reasonable steps to prevent drivers acting in a discriminatory way, by for example, giving training and information to drivers on how to treat particular groups of passengers.
There are some public places where women cannot legally breastfeed in public, including single sex services for men, such as changing rooms in a public swimming pool. It is also not unlawful to stop a woman breastfeeding where there are health and safety risks, for example, near to certain chemicals.
If you feel you have been discriminated against because you were breastfeeding, get advice. Go to the Citizens Advice website www.adviceguide.org.uk for more information and contact details of your nearest CAB.