Estée Lauder, Aren’t Dads Parents too?
Philadelphia, PA – The male employees of the cosmetic giant Estée Lauder have filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging they were subject to unlawful sex discrimination. The men made the complaint because they feel they are entitled to the same amount of time off from work to bond with their newly born child as do women.
In August, the EEOC filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Christopher Sullivan, a father and Estée Lauder employee who the company denied his requests for parental leave benefits because it went beyond what was allowed for fathers.
Allegedly, Estée Lauder’s current parental leave policy provides eligible new mothers six paid weeks for childbirth recovery and an additional six weeks off for paid parental leave for child bonding. However, that same policy only offers new fathers whose partners have given birth just two weeks of paid leave for child bonding.
One EEOC spokesperson explained, “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.” Another EEOC Attorney added, “Addressing sex-based pay discrimination, including in benefits such as paid leave, is a priority issue for the Commission.”
Of course, men and women do have anatomical differences—most importantly that women give birth and men do not—thus policies involving such physical differences may be warranted under the law. While Estée Lauder’s gender-based post-childbirth leave based on the medical need to recover from childbirth is most likely lawful, because bonding is not necessarily based on anatomical differences and may be a form of gender discrimination. Since it is based on an archaic view men’s and women’s roles in parenting, it will be difficult for such a policy based on bonding to fly with the EEOC or the courts.
What does this mean for you? Well, if your employer provides unequal post-childbirth baby-bonding benefits to employees—providing more time off for women—than your employer might be violating the law.
There are several laws that protect both men and women when it comes to maternity leave, or leave for new parents to take care of a new baby, new foster child, or newly adopted child (even if the child is older).
It does not matter if you are a man or a woman if you believe you have been discriminated, sexually harassed, or subjected to an unlawful sexist policy at your place of employment, call the skilled Philadelphia sexual harassment attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC. Our firm has years of experience litigating claims of gender discrimination and we serve all of Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, Reading, Upper Darby, Scranton, Bethlehem, Bensalem, Lancaster, Lower Merion, Abington, Bristol, Levittown, Harrisburg, Haverford, Altoona, York, State College and Wilkes-Barre. We offer a free consultation and charge no fee unless we recover for you in your sexual harassment EEOC claim or sexual harassment lawsuit. Working together with our New York City sexual harassment attorneys, we have recovered millions on behalf of our clients who have experienced sexual harassment discrimination. If you believe that you have been treated unfairly, do not hesitate to give our office a call, toll-free, at (800) 807-2209. for your free consultation.


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Attorney Derek T. Smith is an experienced sexual harassment & discrimination law litigator who has particular experience in the areas of workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, civil rights litigation, employment law and civil litigation.

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