California fathers’ rights advocates might have caught wind of a discrimination suit filed by a journalist for CNN who was recently denied 10 weeks of paid parental leave by the network after his daughter was born. Paternity leave from Time Warner, the owner of CNN, is two weeks, in sharp contrast to the 10 weeks of paid leave for new mothers and adoptive parents. The journalist requested the full 10 weeks given to mothers, maintaining that this was not a fair treatment of new fathers. Despite his repeated requests through official channels, he was finally formally denied the longer leave after his daughter was born. This prompted the journalist to file an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission discrimination action against his employer.
A correspondent for the Huffington Post recently took up the journalist’s call for equal time off for fathers of new babies. The writer noted that Time Warner actually had a “generous” parental leave policy compared to most U.S. employers, only 15 percent of which offer paid leave to new fathers. Most fathers have to save up other time off in order to spend uninterrupted time with a newborn, he wrote.
In considering the situation, some might agree that it makes sense for new mothers, who go through the physical discomfort of birth and sometimes need surgery, to be granted more time off than new dads. However, according to the journalist’s attorney, the huge disparity in the time available for each needs to be substantially reduced. A difference of a factor of five was too great, the attorney said.
Parental rights reach far beyond child support and custody issues. Fathers’ rights in particular often must be fought for, both in and out of the courtroom. An attorney may be able to assist biological fathers with requesting visitation rights or other such matters.
Source: Huffington Post, “Taking a Stand for Paternity Leave Equity“, Scott Behson, November 17, 2013