Coverage: EEOC says men should get as much parental leave as women
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit on Wednesday accusing Estee Lauder Cos. of discriminating against men by giving them less paid parental leave than women.
Daniel Wiessner of Reuters had the news:
The commission said in the lawsuit filed in Philadelphia federal court that the cosmetics company gave women six weeks of paid leave for “child bonding,” while new fathers received two weeks
Female employees were also given more flexible arrangements when they returned to work, the commission said.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said the company violated federal laws prohibiting sex bias in the workplace and requiring that men and women be paid equally for equal work.
Megan Schaefer, a spokeswoman for New York City-based Estee Lauder, said the company does not comment on pending litigation.
Jordyn Holman of Bloomberg News reported that 84 percent of Estee Lauder’s employees are women:
Estee Lauder hasn’t responded to the lawsuit and wouldn’t comment for this story. Women make up 84 percent of the company’s global workforce.
“It is wonderful when employers provide paid parental leave and flexible work arrangements, but federal law requires equal pay, including benefits, for equal work, and that applies to men as well as women,” Mindy Weinstein, acting director of EEOC’s Washington Field Office, said in a statement.
The case could have implications for the relatively small percentage of companies that offer paid parental leave, where women on average are given more time off to care for newborns than men, according to a study from the Society for Human Resource Management.
New mothers receive on average 41 paid days of maternity leave, compared with 22 paid days for fathers, the study found. Even where the policies are generous by U.S. standards, men still often get less. At Google, for example, birth mothers get 18 weeks and all non-birth parents, including fathers, receive 12 weeks.
Michelle Ma of The Wall Street Journal reported that mothers have return-to-work rights that fathers don’t:
The suit also claims that new mothers at the company have flexible return-to-work benefits that aren’t available to new fathers.
A spokeswoman for New York-based Estée Lauder said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
The lawsuit is the latest to be filed against a company regarding different parental-leave policies for their female and male employees. In June, a man who works as a fraud investigator at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. charged the bank with discrimination, saying fathers were denied paid parental leave on the same terms as mothers.
According to a 2016 report from the Society for Human Resource Management, 26% of U.S. employers offer paid maternity leave beyond what is covered by state law or short-term disability plans, while 21% offer paid paternity leave. However, women typically receive far more time off than men: an average of 41 days for mothers and 22 days for fathers.