Male Reporter for CNN Claims Discrimination in Family Leave Case

By Peter Levine posted in Discrimination, Employment Law on November 12th, 2013

Josh Levs of CNN Claims Time Warner Discrimination In Paid Family Leave for New Biological Fathers

CNN reporter Josh Levs announced that he and his lawyers, along with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have filed a charge against parent company Time Warner, claiming that the company’s paid family leave policy discriminates against new biological fathers.

Writing about the claim on his Tumblr, Levs says that the company’s rules allow all parents of new children to take 10 paid weeks off except for biological fathers, who are only granted two weeks. According to the company’s policies women who give birth as well as new parents with new children through adoption or surrogacy get 10 paid weeks off. But new biological fathers aren’t covered.

Levs alleges that for two months he tried to get the company to undo that loophole. He was rejected 11 days after his child was born while he was already on leave to care for her.

“Under Time Warner rules, I have only two choices: stay out for 10 weeks without pay, or return to work and hire someone to come to our home each day,” he writes. “Neither is financially tenable, and the fact that only biological dads face this choice at this point in a newborn’s life is ludicrous.”

Discrimination of Time Warner’s Family Leave Policy Against New Fathers

Now that his two weeks of paid leave have run out, he’s using days from the company’s paid time off policy. He will have to go back to work next week if nothing changes.

“I can’t sit by and allow this inequality,” he says. “It’s unfair to my wife and family, and to other dads and their families.”

Despite the discrimination Levs says he is facing, he is actually lucky compared to other new fathers in the U.S. Only 11 percent of private sector workers and 17 percent of public sector workers have access to paid maternity leave through their employers.  Paternity leave is more rare. New parents of either gender aren’t guaranteed any paid leave under federal law, and only 12 weeks of unpaid leave if they work at a company with 50 or more employees. 5 percent of covered workers report needing to take leave but not being able to do so because they can’t afford it. Given restrictions within the law, 40 percent of workers aren’t even covered by those protections.

To ensure all workers have access to paid leave for a new child, the Center for American Progress has proposed Social Security Cares. This is a nationwide program that would allow workers to pay into family leave through Social Security payroll deductions.

Peter K. Levine
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