The latest news, articles, and events from the attorneys at Lerch, Early & Brewer.

Lerch Early Insights

COVID-19 Resource Center

Lerch Early is monitoring COVID-19 and its impact on our clients and communities.

As part of this effort, we're constantly working on fresh content to both inform and to meet your needs. Please check out our

COVID-19 Resource Center


Implement Gender Neutral Parental Leave Policies to Help Avoid Sex-based Discrimination Lawsuits

Can an employer provide more generous parental leave benefits to its female employees than its male employees?

The answer is “no,” according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Recently, the EEOC filed suit in federal district in Pennsylvania against Estee Lauder Companies claiming that its parental leave policies, which gave greater benefits to new mothers than new fathers and denied new fathers transition back-to-work benefits such as temporary modified work schedules, constituted sex discrimination and a violation of the Equal Pay Act.

Estee Lauder’s policy viewed new fathers as secondary caregivers. New fathers were only given two weeks of paid parental leave whereas new mothers were granted medical leave for pregnancy and childbirth (those policies were not challenged in the action) in addition to six weeks of paid child bonding leave and transition back-to-work benefits. The EEOC alleged that the policy violated the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Rather than proceeding with litigation to determine whether Estee Lauder’s policy violated these laws, the parties entered into a settlement agreement whereby Estee Lauder agreed to pay $1.1 million to the class of 210 male employees who had received only two weeks of paid parental leave rather than the six weeks of child-bonding leave that the company had granted to new mothers.

The company also agreed to revise its policy to provide gender neutral parental leave and transition back-to-work benefits. Estee Lauder’s revised parental leave policy provides all employees, regardless of gender, with 20 weeks of paid leave for child bonding and six weeks of transition back-to-work benefits. For biological mothers, the parental paid leave benefits begin after their medical leave for pregnancy and childbirth.

Revising Parental Leave Policies

In light of the Estee Lauder lawsuit, employers should review their existing non-medical parental leave policies and consider revising them to provide gender neutral parental leave and transition back-to-work benefits to avoid sex discrimination and equal pay law suits.

Julie Reddig and Nida Kanwal are employment attorneys who represent management in workplace employment matters. For more information on revising non-medical parental leave policies, contact Julie at or Nida at


This content is for your information only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney before acting on any information contained here.


Email Confirmation

Thank you for your interest in Lerch, Early & Brewer. Please be aware that unsolicited e-mails and information sent to Lerch Early though our web site will not be considered confidential, may not receive a response, and do not create an attorney-client relationship with Lerch Early Brewer. If you are not already a client of Lerch Early, do not include anything confidential or secret in this e-mail. Also, please note that our attorneys do not seek to practice law in any jurisdiction in which they are not authorized to do so.

By clicking "OK" you acknowledge that, unless you are a current client, Lerch Early does not have any obligation to maintain the confidentiality of any information you send us.