Working and parenting are not mutually exclusive. A man or woman can be both a great parent and a great employee. After the birth of a child, either or both parents may take time off work to bond with their baby through parental leave policies in their state and through their employers. After all, while a person’s job is an important part of his or her livelihood, family is even more important.
Many employers do not feel this way, however, and discriminate against working parents. Some retaliate against those who use their parental leave—which they are entitled to receive under state and federal law. Many employees who take leave are demoted and even terminated.
Mothers and fathers are increasingly filing lawsuits and winning. The number of caregiver discrimination lawsuits has tripled in the past decade. Between 2006 and 2015, more than 3,000 cases were decided in courts. More than half have resulted in compensation for victims. These discrimination cases are costing companies a lot of money, with employees awarded nearly half a billion dollars. While most claims are filed by pregnant women and working mothers, the number of men filing lawsuits has increased dramatically in the past decade.
However, the act of being a parent is not protected under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Despite this, employees are suing for unlawful sex discrimination and winning.
Parental Leave Laws
At the national level, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prohibits job discrimination based on sex, race, religion, disability and national origin. Many women are suing based on sex discrimination, since after giving birth, many women are demoted or even terminated from their positions in favor of less qualified men.
There is also a federal law available called the Family and Medical Leave Act. This law allows employees to take time off work to care for a family member without retaliation. Employees are allowed to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
Several states also make it illegal to retaliate against employees who take time off work for caregiving responsibilities. In fact, New York has the strongest parental leave laws in the country. Signed into law in 2016, New York’s Paid Family Leave provides eligible employees with paid time off to bond with a new child or care for an ill family member. Paid Family Leave also provides job protection, so employees can return to their jobs without discrimination or retaliation. Employees can also keep their health insurance during their time away from work, so they do not have to worry about coverage.
Contact a New York FMLA Violation Attorney
You have the right to care for your newborn child and other family members under state and federal law. Both mothers and fathers have this right. If your employer is discriminating against you because you are taking time off from work, protect your legal rights.
The employment law attorneys at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. are willing and able to take action against your employer. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. Call (347) 464-8694 or fill out the online form.