On June 15, 2017, the ACLU filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) on behalf of Ohio JPMorgan Chase & Co. employee Derek Rotondo, who is the father of a newborn, alleging that the company’s parental leave policy discriminates against men by denying fathers the same amount of paid parental leave as mothers.
The charge alleges that the company’s policy gives the “primary caregiver” of a new child 16 weeks of paid leave, and gives the “non-primary caregiver” two weeks of paid leave. Rotondo claims that the company’s policy discriminates against male employees by automatically designating mothers as infants’ primary caregivers and fathers as non-primary caregivers, thus giving mothers 16 weeks of paid leave and fathers only two.
He claims the company told him that fathers can only get an extension of their paid leave if they can prove that the child’s mother must return to work or is “medically incapable” of caring for the child. Rotondo says his wife is a teacher who will not return to work until the fall, and she is not medically unable to care for the newborn, so he was denied more than two weeks of leave.
“It was like something out of the 1950s,” said Rotondo. “Just because I’m a father, not a mother, it shouldn’t prevent me from being the primary caregiver for my baby.”
“We recognize that both women and men would like to be involved in the care of their children early on, and we’re expecting employers to think carefully about whether they are in fact discriminating against men,” said Chai Feldblum, an EEOC commissioner.
The charge, filed as a class action, claims JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s policy violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Ohio Fair Employment Practices Act, and other state and local laws that protect employees against discrimination on the basis of sex or sex stereotypes. If the EEOC determines the charge has merit, it may grant permission to bring a federal lawsuit against the company. We will continue to monitor this matter as it develops.