As of this week, like Barnes and Noble before it, behemoth regional clothing chain Century 21 will explicitly prohibit its employees from ushering breastfeeding women out of sight. In doing so, it has agreed to comply with New York State Law.
Yesterday's agreement, facilitated by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, follows an incident over the summer at Century 21's Cortlandt Street location in the Financial District. According to the AG's office, a store employee told customer Noora Arajärvi, who was breastfeeding on the salesroom floor, that she would have to move into a changing room.
Arajärvi alleges that she encountered a long line for the changing rooms, and wasn't allowed to cut to the front. "I was shocked," she said in a statement. A complaint she filed through the store's website allegedly received no response.
As part of its agreement with the AG's office, Century 21 will donate $5,000 to the city's Health Department, explicitly earmarked for the DOE's newborn home visiting program which sends health workers to private residences for breastfeeding "support."
In addition to displaying the international breastfeeding symbol near the entrance of all five NYC stores, Century 21 has agreed to let women breastfeed anywhere on the showroom floor without interference. Moving forward, any breastfeeding-related complaint must be addressed by the company within 15 days.
In August, over 100 women gathered in Times Square for a public breastfeeding session to promote the virtues of the practice.