Designated purpose?

How office lactation rooms get used and abused

(JAIME REINA/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s been a turbulent few weeks at Uber. The company recently fired 20 employees implicated in a sexual harassment investigation, canned another person for sharing the medical records of a rape victim, and ignited a hullabaloo over the use of in-office lactation rooms.

The nursing-related nightmare began when Arianna Huffington, a board member at Uber, revealed that CEO Travis Kalanick used company lactation rooms to meditate. “Literally, it was an amazing moment last week when we were in the office and he said, ‘I really need to go meditate in order to be in a place to make good decisions right now,’” Huffington said. “And literally [he] went into a lactation room that happened to be open, because they [Uber] don’t have meditation rooms yet. This is part of the change coming.”

Huffington made the comment to highlight Kalanick’s measured leadership qualities, but people were quick to point out that lactating rooms are designated spaces for women who need to breastfeed, and not for CEO’s in need of some zen.

The Guardian asked several women about their experiences with co-workers who usurp office lactating spaces, and their responses were … interesting. One woman said her CEO often used the lactation room to make phone calls, while another revealed that a female colleague used the space to put on makeup. But the executive who was caught having sex with an intern in a lactation room arguably takes the cake.


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