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22nd November 2016

A woman who breast fed her new baby while conducting a job interview was left shocked when her male business partner told her it was ‘a bit weird’, according to the Daily Mail.

The original post on Mumsnet divided opinions as to whether or not it was appropriate. We asked ELAS HR Director Pam Rogerson to weigh in.

“Breastfeeding while conducting a job interview is very unprofessional and it’s certainly not something that you would expect if you were the person being interviewed. One commentator posted that they strongly support the woman’s actions, arguing that society should alter its ideas about breastfeeding in public.

“Breastfeeding in public is something that many people have an opinion on. My personal opinion is that it is absolutely possible to breastfeed a child in a public place without much commotion or comment from passers-by and in my experience as a mother who fed two children, many times in public places, I feel that the public are very well educated and cultured in this regard, HOWEVER I do not consider a job interview to be in the same category as a public place.

“This is very much the private meeting of these individuals to establish if a professional working relationship can be forged going forward. This is a scenario that can often make the interviewee nervous as they try to get across their experiences and strengths to a potential employer and, in this case, the interviewer has thrown them a complete curve ball.

“We have to appreciate that a job interview is a two way process and the company is also being interviewed. The candidate could have walked away feeling that even if they were offered the position they would not want to work with someone who has different standards of professional courtesy to their own.  It’s important to say that this is not just about breastfeeding – I would also have the same reaction if I attended an interview and the interviewer took 3 calls on their mobile during the process. This is supposed to be a formal process and even if you want to make the meeting as relaxed as possible there has to be a minimum level of common courtesy that you are there to listen to what the applicant has to say and not be distracted.”


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