Federal statistics show more men asserting parental rights in the workplace

Boston, MA–Last week, we wrote about how inequality in parental leave – in that case, maternal leave in the UK – increases workplace discrimination against women. Here in the US, the trend federally and in major corporations has been in favor of gender-neutral family leave, to be taken by men and women to care for kids, elderly and sick relatives, or their own medical needs.

As men attempt to use these newfound rights, many encounter resistance and hostility from some employers who still see things the old way, i.e. mom=caretaker. The National Law Journal reported today, “More Men Filing Workplace Lawsuits‘ with “lawyers calling this a byproduct of the father”s rights movement.’

It turns out we are making progress, however slowly, at least in this one area. The Federal Equal Opportunity Commission reported a near-doubling of male sexual harassment complaints (9% to 16% of all complaints) in the 15 years through 2007. The article stated that most of these complaints are driven by fathers, both married and single.

“One the parental leave front, lawyers note, a growing number of men are filing Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) claims, many of them single dads with more responsibilities at home. Others are simply asserting their desires to spend more time with their children.’

Family law attorney Sari Friedman said, “Without question, it’s the next step. It’s an expansion of fathers in the court system seeking their parental rights. Now they’re asserting their rights with respect to the labor laws.”

Chicago employee rights attorney Charles Siedlecki said, “”I think it’s just a societal thing. There are so many more single dads out there than there used to be who have custody … and of course everybody has aging parents.”

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