One of the very first posts I ever wrote on this blog, all the back in May of 2007, detailed the EEOC’s then-recent publication of enforcement guidance on what it called caregiver discrimination. It seems that more than seven years later, some employers still haven’t gotten the message. Consider, for example, Rice v. Kellermeyer Company (N.D. Ohio 7/15/14).
With these facts, the district court showed no hesitation in denying the employer’s motion for summary judgment and sending this case to a jury to decide.
In writing about this case on his FMLA Insights blog, Jeff Nowak said, “We have to stop sticking it to pregnant moms and expectant dads.” He’s 100 percent correct. We have a parental crisis in this country. No one should have to choose between a job and “an unexpected appointment” for one’s expectant wife. More broadly, no one should have to choose between a job and a family responsibility or event.
Employers, we are facing a crisis over the issue of parental leave. The more stories we hear like Ronald Rice’s, the louder the cry will become for Congress to step in and fix this problem legislatively. Do you want new laws passed that will mandate expanded parental leave for more employers, or do you want the FMLA to remain as it is? As long as there exists employers like the employer in this case, the cry for expanded parental leave rights will continue. Eventually, it will become too loud for Congress to ignore. Be proactive with these issues in your own workplace, or Congress will become reactive. The choice is yours.