Wednesday, February 8, 2023 10:34 am

Attitudes shift on paid leave: dads sue, too; law needs to catch up, says Rose Law Group Partner Kaine Fisher

Father-babyBy Noam Sxheiber | The New York Times

For decades, women who believed their employers had punished them with lower wages and missed promotions after they had become mothers have been filing gender discrimination complaints and bringing lawsuits.

Now, as men shoulder more responsibilities at home, they are increasingly taking legal action against employers that they say refuse to accommodate their roles as fathers.

“The huge thing that’s changed only in about the past five years is suddenly men feel entitled to take time off for family,” said Joan C. Williams of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. “They’re willing to put their careers on the line to live up to that idea. It’s revolutionary.”

Comments by Rose Law Group Partner Kaine Fisher:

“I have a bit of a problem with the way Ms. Williams characterizes the role of fathers in today’s family dynamic.

“I don’t think the idea fathers are willing ‘to put their careers on the line to take time off for family’ is ‘sudden’ or ‘revolutionary.’  To characterize this trend as such seems to suggest we were still living in the Stone Ages. It trivializes and denigrates a large contingent of fathers who for years have, or may have wanted, to provide primary care for their children after they are born.

“As with most issues of this sort, it has just taken the law some time to catch up to afford fathers the legal platform to exercise their right to be present during a child’s early stage of development without the risk of losing their job. Fathers have wanted this for quite some time and have changed to accommodate this desire – not the other way around.


Related: Tempe considers mandating paid sick days for private companies/The Arizona Republic

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September 2015