Retail giant Kmart will become the target of a flash mob next week by those who argue the company is violating a woman's right to breastfeed.
The Smithfield branch, in Cairns, Australia, has been named as the site for a protest next weekend amid claims a woman was asked to refrain from breastfeeding inside the shop.
A local business owner, who wished to be known only as Rachel, organised the event after becoming aware of the incident through a closed Facebook group for Cairns mothers she is involved in.
"A lot of people felt quite strongly about it," she told news.com.au. "We decided to use the opportunity to take a stance. We're not doing it maliciously, we're using it as an opportunity to highlight the fact that a woman breastfeeding in public is still discriminated against."
Rachel said one of the members of the group claimed she was asked to leave the shop by management for breastfeeding her child in store. She said they were encouraged to apologise by others but refused.
"Anyone and everyone is welcome! We actively encourage anyone who ISN'T a BFing mother to attend!" she wrote on Facebook.
"This is merely a show of people who are demanding that the legal rights of a breastfeeding mother is recognised and acknowledged. We will be using this opportunity to further highlight the need for education to support breastfeeding mothers," the event notice claims.
A Kmart spokesperson told the Herald the company is upset over the incident.
"We were concerned to learn of our customer's experience and have asked her to contact us directly. Kmart has an equal opportunity policy in place which clearly states that the business will not tolerate unlawful discrimination or harassment on the basis of pregnancy, potential pregnancy or breastfeeding and the features associated with these attributes.
"Kmart sincerely apologises for this situation."
The popular family shop sells a range of breastfeeding and baby equipment.
While the Australian Breastfeeding Association said a mother's right to breastfeed in public places is protected by law throughout the country, in New Zealand, according to the Human Rights Commission, there is no specific law that deals with the right to breastfeed.
However, legal protection is available in situations where disadvantageous treatment can be proven or direct or indirect sex discrimination occurs.
- Additional reporting, NZ Herald