EMPLOYERS PROVIDING PARENTAL LEAVE MUST NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST FATHERS
More and more employers utilize some form of parental leave to allow bonding with a new child. Some say the moves help in hiring and retention of top talent. Regarding such leave, however, the purpose of the parental leave is for child bonding, and the discrimination laws require the same rights to be extended to fathers as are extended to mothers as a lawsuit against the cosmetics firm Estee Lauder recently revealed. Estee Lauder paid a $1.1 million settlement in this lawsuit accusing it of providing new fathers with less paid time off for child bonding than it provided to new mothers doing the same jobs. The company also denied new fathers the same return-to-work benefits it provided to new mothers to ease their transition, including modified work schedules. As part of the settlement, the employer amended its paid parental leave policy so that all new parents will be able to take up to 20 weeks of paid leave to bond with a newborn and six weeks of flexible work arrangements after they return to work following the birth of a child. The leave for child bonding is separate from any short-term disability leave that may be afforded to mothers only for pregnancy-related medical conditions, child birth, and child birth related medical conditions.