Breastfeeding Mom Forced to Pump Beside Urinal During Jury Duty

jury duty quiet room includes urinal
Amanda Chandler/Facebook

When you're called to serve for jury duty, you're probably already dreading the whole affair. But the ordeal became even worse for a breastfeeding mom, who was offered an abysmal "quiet room" as a place to pump. And, oh, did we mention it included a urinal? (Did you just wince? We don't blame you.)

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Forty-year-old stay-at-home mom Amanda Chandler is the primary caregiver for her 2-year-old daughter, Elliott, and even though she's nursing her little girl, that wasn't reason enough for her to be excused from jury duty.

Instead, the Minnesota-based mom was told she'd be reimbursed $40 per day for non-licensed childcare and advised that her pumping needs would be accommodated. (That would cover about three hours of childcare in plenty of states -- what then?) 

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Chandler shared the guidance she was given when she was preparing to fulfill her civic duty.

"The clerk I spoke with was very proud and excited to tell me about a new 'quiet room' which had recently been designed with nursing mothers and those wishing for a place to pray in mind," Chandler told Today Parents. "I was also assured that if I was placed on a panel, the clerks and judge would accommodate my pumping schedule."

Sounds good in theory, right? But take a look at that "quiet room," which was so dismal, Chandler shared a photo of it and a caption that expressed her disbelief and shock.

jury duty quiet room includes urinal
Amanda Chandler/Facebook

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Um, I think I can smell that urinal cake from here. Yeesh!

Here's how Chandler described the experience on her Facebook page:

Terrible experience at jury duty today. As a nursing mother I was completely disappointed with the lack of regard and dismissal I felt when trying to pump (express breastmilk) on a schedule today. My determined schedule (which is already less than my normal at home schedule) was neglected even as I tried advocating for myself over and over to clerk after clerk and to the judge herself. When needing to pump at least 4x today I was granted 2x. One time I was ushered to this gem of a room (picture).

Nursing moms aren't looking for candles and flowers, but a clean space that doesn't include a urinal shouldn't be too much to ask. And, also, this poor woman must've been incredibly uncomfortable as she had to wait until they allowed her to go pump.

It's no wonder Chandler is furious. She continued in her Facebook post:

"This is the Hennepin County Government Center. Minnesota has laws protecting nursing mothers including providing a private space [that's] specifically not a bathroom and also allowing breaks to pump whenever requested by [a] mother. I was told over and over to wait. This afternoon I was thankful to just finally be able to pump. Tonight I'm pissed."

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Wow, we do not blame her one bit! When faced with that, you'd rather just go and pump in your car, right? And the irony that this clerk and judge couldn't even follow the set rules was not lost on this rightfully outraged mom. She wrote:

"Seems pretty ironic that the very place which is supposed to uphold and enforce the laws would not follow or adhere to them."

And here's another point to consider: Do you really think that someone who is in physical discomfort and upset about being dismissed and disrespected is the best person to serve on a jury deciding your fate?

Unfortunately, Chandler's bad experience doesn't end there. After emailing the judge to share her annoyance, she was summoned to the judge's courtroom the following day. The mom told Today Parents that while the judge acknowledged the complaint, she stated that that the court had met Chandler's needs -- and then gave the mom a bit of a talking-to for posting about it on social media. (We'd love to know if that judge is a mom!) Thankfully, after that, Chandler was dismissed from serving on a jury panel.

While the judge may think she's had the last word, the mom filed a formal complaint and is waiting for a response from the Hennepin County Court Administrator. We hope at the very least that Chandler's experience educates those who sorely need it at this courthouse and that this doesn't happen to any other moms.

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