Corporate Policies and Breastfeeding Incidents
Julie Hamilton works with corporations to help write breastfeeding policies for customers and employees including pump-at-work policies for employees and in training on these policies and federal and state laws. We can also be brought in on a crisis consulting basis in cases of breastfeeding incidents, rights violations or media events like nurse-ins. In these cases, research, interviews, immediacy and effective social media are important and we can help.
Companies are being held liable for the state and federal laws that protect mothers’ rights to nurse in public. A national book retailer was recently fined for violating a mother’s rights and had court mandated employee training plus all locations became Breastfeeding Welcomed Here locations.
Julie Hamilton’s background is in strategic marketing and corporate communications so our unique approach protects and champions mothers’ nursing rights while also protecting the brand and reputation of our corporate clients. In almost every case if a company is willing to listen, care and respond media events and mud slinging can be prevented and the company can even increase brand loyalty.
Case Study A – family wellness facility
A family wellness facility member had told a breastfeeding mother to get out of the pool. The mother explained her rights but the facility stood by the decision. The mom got media involved, had a nurse-in flyer designed and set a date for a media event. Julie Hamilton became involved and learned the issue was that the Metro health codes that governed public pools specifically stated no breastfeeding in public pools. The facility had a legitimate concern their pool could be closed with a surprise visit from codes with a mother nursing in the pool. Julie worked with the director of the health department to issue a formal statement that pool inspectors would be informed breastfeeding in public pools was protected by state and federal laws. Julie sent the facility director the newly issued statement and the facility board then met and approved a new policy that allowed mothers to breastfeed in the pool. In this case, a nurse-in would have made no difference since health policies had to be changed at the government level. Learned: Invite a breastfeeding advocate trained in corporate communications and social media to join your team on a consulting basis
Case Study B – national restaurant chain
A national restaurant chain experience two breastfeeding incidents in one week at locations in different states. Julie became involved early in the first incident and worked with corporate to schedule additional training for employees and a commitment to update policies and employee handbooks. With respectful communication armed with this information Julie was able to prevent a nurse-in media event. The second event threw the company into shock and they delayed contacting Julie until four days after the incident. She was able to mitigate damages and prevent a nurse-in but in the meantime the restaurant’s name was mentioned in anger and outrage over four hundred times on social media including breastfeeding sites, personal pages, national review pages, the company’s main social media pages and the individual location’s page. The incident was also covered by local and national media. The company had gone silent for the first few days as they stammered trying to figure out next steps then made some social media errors that further damaged their brand. Learned: Immediately invite a breastfeeding advocate trained in corporate communications and social media to join your team when facing a crisis communications event.