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Parental Leave Discrimination at JPMorgan Chase

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has accused JPMorgan Chase of violating the Civil Rights Act, stating that the company discriminates against male employees who ask for paternal leave.

 The plaintiff, Derek Rotondo, applied for sixteen weeks of paternal leave when his wife was pregnant with their second child.  JPMorgan’s policy is to grant that amount of paternal leave only to the “primary caregiver.”  JPMorgan informed Mr. Rotondo that the company starts from the presumption that the primary caregiver is the child’s birth mother.  

Because Mr. Rotondo’s wife was a teacher and would have the summer off, JPMorgan would not qualify him as the primary caregiver and would only give him two weeks of parental leave.  

The ACLU says JPMorgan’s decision violates the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans sex discrimination in the workplace.  Mr. Rotondo’s lawyers make a distinction between medical leave, which can be limited to women affected by childbirth, and parental leave, which they allege must be provided to similarly situated men and women on the same terms.

The complaint states: “JPMorgan’s policy relies upon and enforces a sex-based stereotype that women are and should be caretakers of children, whereas men are not and should not be caretakers and instead do and should return to work shortly after the birth of a child.”