For years, many companies have been offering mothers paid maternity time to convalesce after having a baby. More recently, companies have been offering time off to fathers as well.
Cosmetics giant Estee Lauder is in trouble with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which has filed suit against the company, alleging that their parental leave policy discriminates against men.
Men are not being treated equally
According to Phillymag.com, the suit was filed on behalf of Christopher Sullivan who is employed by Estee Lauder.
The company offers six weeks of paid parental leave for maternity, adoption and primary-caregiver leave, followed by a four-week transition period that allows the employee to work a shorter week or work from home while adjusting to both parenting and full-time employment.
The problem with their policy, according to the complaint, is for what is called “secondary caregiver benefits“. These employees—typically men—are granted two weeks of paid leave and are not given any transition or flexible scheduling after that period.
Can this also affect same-sex couples?
The EEOC says this gives men lesser benefits than women. It should be noted that in some cases, this lesser treatment might also apply to women and men in same-sex marriages.
The case is filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The lawsuit alleges that Estee Lauder’s policy discriminates based on gender, that this is a nationwide discrimination that affects all Estee Lauder employees, that it adversely harms male employees and that it violates both the Civil Rights Act, as well as the Equal Pay Act.