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Denny's - Call to Action
On Sunday, February 8, 2009, a mother visiting a Denny's restaurant in Asheville, NC was asked to cover herself or leave the restaurant while breastfeeding her child. When she quoted NC law and continued to breastfeed, the police were called and she was threatened with arrest.
Approximately one week later, the incident was reported to FirstRight, a national grassroots breastfeeding advocacy group committed to ensuring freedom from discrimination for breastfeeding children and their mothers. FirstRight has been taking action in accordance with the organization's established mission and protocol for resolving instances of breastfeeding discrimination.
While FirstRight is not sponsoring the protests that are reportedly being planned against Denny's in Asheville, NC and other locations nationally, the organization has been inspired by the circumstances surrounding this incident to attempt to contact Denny's national corporate headquarters regarding their breastfeeding policies. Although FirstRight has not yet received an official statement from Denny's corporate headquarters, the organization intends to engage them in a conversation that will result in the adoption of a breastfeeding friendly policy that will be mandated to all franchisee's of the Denny's brand.
At this time, FirstRight has been in contact with the Director of Operations for Success Management which operates 32 Denny's restaurants, including the Asheville, NC location. The current statement released by Denny's contains an unsatisfactory "discretion" clause for which FirstRight discussed possible alternative wording with the Denny's representative. Within the week FirstRight representatives intend to follow up on the progress Denny's has made in revising their stated policy.
Additionally, FirstRight encourages all breastfeeding advocates to make calls to their local Denny's restaurants and franchises to inquire about their breastfeeding policy and encourage them to adopt policies that are at minimum in accordance with applicable state laws. Contact information for local Denny's restaurants can be found at this website:
FirstRight also recommends making calls (1-800-733-6697 and also 864-597-8000) and emails (http://www.dennys.com/en/cms/Denny%27s+Contact+Us/195.html ) to the Denny's Headquarters to support them in adopting a brand-wide breastfeeding friendly policy that includes training of all employees. FirstRight asks those who contact Denny's to email a summary of their conversation to firstname.lastname@example.org including the restaurant location and name and title of the employee with whom you spoke.
FirstRight expects that these actions will support Denny's in clarifying in the coming weeks their willingness to follow state laws and their desire to welcome breastfeeding mothers. If this is not the case, further actions may be considered by FirstRight at that time.
This document may be forwarded to others with an interest in breastfeeding rights. For more information about FirstRight and breastfeeding rights advocacy, visit www.FirstRight.org