Time Warner changes parental leave policy amidst EEOC case

| Oct 5, 2015 | Family And Medical Leave Act |

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has guidelines in place to protect workers from pregnancy discrimination. It requires employers in California and the rest of the country to allow both mothers and biological fathers to take parental leave related to childbirth, pregnancy or related medical conditions. However, a recent complaint against Time Warner Inc. found that the company did not fully adhere to these guidelines.

In 2013, a former correspondent for CNN, which is a subsidiary of Time Warner, filed a charge with the EEOC because the company refused to allow him more than two weeks of paid leave after the birth of his daughter, who was five weeks premature. With two more young children at home already, he said that he believed he needed to be at home more so that he and his wife could share the caregiving responsibilities.

When CNN refused to give him more time off, the worker complained to the EEOC that the paid parental leave policy at the company constituted discrimination against biological fathers. While the policy allowed 10 weeks of paid leave for mothers and adoptive parents, it only provided two weeks of paid leave to biological fathers.

During the EEOC investigation, Time Warner voluntarily changed its policy to give six weeks of paid parental leave to biological and adoptive mothers and fathers. Birth mothers may also take six weeks or more of short-term disability leave. The new policy went into effect as of January 2015. Since the changes, the former CNN correspondent and the company have agreed to a settlement, and he has dropped the EEOC charge.

Employees who feel that their employers’ parental leave policies discriminate against their rights as mothers and fathers may want to speak with an employment law attorney to see what recourse may be available. In some cases, it may be advisable to start the process by filing a claim with the EEOC or appropriate state agency.


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