EEOC Sues Employer for Providing Different Family Leave Benefits to Men

October 27, 2017

As more employers are expanding their paid family leave benefits, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued a large employer for providing longer paid parental leave benefits to new mothers than new fathers.  According to the complaint, while the employer provides paid maternity leave, adoption leave, primary caregiver leave, and secondary caregiver leave, it allegedly does not "enumerate or administer any dedicated paternity leave benefits for biological fathers similar to the maternity leave benefits for biological mothers."  Specifically, biological mothers were entitled to six weeks of paid maternity leave and flexible return-to-work benefits, while biological fathers were only eligible for two weeks of paid secondary caregiver leave.  As part of the class-action suit, the EEOC is seeking back pay and compensatory and punitive damages.  Employers are advised to review their paid leave benefits as EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence said: "Addressing sex-based pay discrimination, including in benefits such as paid leave, is a priority issue for the Commission."