The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) filed suit yesterday against Estee Lauder for discriminating against male employees. The lawsuit claims the company’s parental leave policies violate The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The Equal Pay Act of 1963.
Estee Lauder currently offers mothers six weeks of paid leave following the birth of a child. Fathers are offered two weeks of paid leave.
The EEOC doesn’t always file suit on behalf of an employee.
Employees can file complaints with the EEOC anytime they feel like they have been discriminated against on the basis of age, gender, nationality, race, or religion. When a complaint is filed the EEOC sends investigators out to find out if the complaint is legitimate.
Once an investigation is completed, one of two things happens.
(1) The EEOC decides there isn’t reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred. If this happens, the complaining employee will get a “Dismissal and Notice of Rights” letter.
(2) The EEOC decides there is reasonable cause to believe discrimination occurred. In these cases, the EEOC keeps the case and pursues legal remedy for the employee.
Because the EEOC filed suit against Estee Lauder, we know that it believes there is reasonable cause to believe that Estee Lauder discriminated against their male employees.
What’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander.
Guys….guys…this lawsuit is not good for anyone. Seriously.
Paid parental leave is not required by federal law. If Estee Lauder loses this lawsuit, businesses may choose to reduce maternity benefits instead of increase paternity benefits. And that would be legal. In fact, businesses could completely eliminate parental leave benefits in some states without breaking the law.
Do you think businesses care if you bond with your baby? No!
Maybe some do, but I guarantee businesses care more about the bottom line. Increasing paid benefits raises the bottom line. When a businesses expenses rise, it can pass the expenses on to its customers or absorb the cost. Customers don’t want to pay higher prices and businesses aren’t going to eat the extra cost of non-mandatory benefits. It just doesn’t make sense!
As an aside, mothers need maternity leave to recover physically from giving birth. Yes, they spend some recovery time bonding with their child. But that isn’t the point of maternity leave. Anyone that believes he or she won’t bond with a baby without spending six weeks of uninterrupted time with the baby is being dramatic. For real.
Women stand to lose more from this lawsuit than men stand to gain. Everyone loses when we split hairs in the name of equality without considering legitimate physical differences between men and women. And that is for real.