EEOC Sues Estee Lauder over Parental Leave Policy. Is Your Business Next?

In 2013, Estee Lauder implemented a new parental leave policy, which allowed for six weeks of paid leave for moms and two weeks of paid leave for dads. The reasoning is that mom is the primary caregiver and dad is a backup. They did allow an exception in the case of a man who hired a surrogate–he would be allowed the six weeks of paid leave.

The EEOC filed suit against Estee Lauder in behalf of Christopher Sullivan, a male employee who requested six weeks of paid leave as the primary caregiver for his child. Estee Lauder said no, as he wasn’t the primary parent.

It’s pretty easy to see that there is a clear gender difference here. Granted, there is always a gender difference in childbirth because mom has to do the physical work of getting the baby here, but there is a difference between a disability leave (you’re legally considered disabled for a minimum of six weeks after a vaginal birth and eight weeks after a c-section) and leave for a “primary” caregiver.

To keep reading, click here: EEOC Sues Estee Lauder over Parental Leave Policy. Is Your Business Next?

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4 thoughts on “EEOC Sues Estee Lauder over Parental Leave Policy. Is Your Business Next?

  1. FMLA has been abused by many and this situation falls in that category unless proven that the father is a caregiver for both mother and child because of complications from the birth.
    Unless a woman has severe physical disabilities from giving birth most women can function enough to care for a newborn ( I am not referring
    to any other household duties, just childcare of infant). Most of us don’t have access to extended families or the funds to hire a baby nanny so most women take care of their infants. It is great that the younger generation of males want to be more involved in childcare starting with the birth of the child there’s no need for the male partner to stay home every day. You can be involved and earn a paycheck. I say this as a former working mother.
    If your workplace doesn’t hinder your career by taking time off for whatever reason then go for it. But I am coming from a viewpoint of workplace situations where taking any extended time off effects your long term career status. We used to call it the Mommy track. This is the 15 year time period where childcare takes a big bit into availability for the job. The big talk of making things more equal status with pay and opportunities hasn’t happened yet so today’s younger generation chooses quality time over pay when dealing with childcare.
    I say this is a great idea but financially upsetting to long term job career, which is why male partners are using the FMLA as excuse to stay at home “involved ” . They have a support system in place that covers loss of paychecks.
    These are the same individuals who are the less than ideal team workers so their absence is a blessing on workplace.
    I am all for FMLA for needed time off but not as excuse to get more time off.

  2. One thing it seems people are skipping over, FMLA can be used for the “birth or placement of a child with you for adoption or foster care”. This part of FMLA has nothing to do with primary caregiver. It’s so the PARENTS can bond with their child. The employee may have asked as “primary care giver” however, HR should have notified him that he should have applied for bonding time. It seems Este Lauders parental leave, is not inline with FMLA…

    1. FMLA does not specify paid leave. The way I read it, he wants the paid leave that is available to mothers. They may have complied with FMLA, but will not pay him primary parent leave.

      1. I think what is at issue is that they have to offer the same benefits to men as well as to women. They cannot deny a father the paid leave benefit for the same event that they do a woman. That is discrimination, and that is likely why they will lose.

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