Jul 19, 2018
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Estée Lauder to pay $1.1 million for discrimination against new dads

Jul 19, 2018

Despite lauding itself as a family-friendly company, Estée Lauder has settled a discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for paternity bias on behalf of new fathers for $1.1 million.

Smashbox, an Estée Lauder brand - Photo: Smashbox

"This settlement ensures that Estée Lauder will provide equal opportunities for time off to new dads and new moms, which is what the law requires, and what makes sense for families," said Mindy E. Weinstein, acting director of the EEOC's Washington Field Office, in an EEOC release, announcing the cosmetics giant had settled the case.

In addition to monetary damages that will be paid to the class of 210 fathers who experienced discrimination, the court has ordered Estée Lauder and its brands to immediately change its parental leave policy so that men are awarded the same benefits as women.

The lawsuit, filed last year in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, stemmed from the company's policy that gave new mothers six weeks of paid maternity leave for "child bonding" but only gave new fathers two weeks. A new father who was a stock worker at an Estée Lauder field store filed an EEOC complaint after he was denied six weeks of paid leave when his child was born.

Additionally, the EEOC had alleged in its complaint that mothers were given "more flexible arrangements when they returned to work," compared to fathers.

"It is wonderful when employers provide paid parental leave and flexible work arrangements, but federal law requires equal pay, including benefits, for equal work, and that applies to men as well as women," said Weinstein, when the complaint was filed last August. 

Estée Lauder overhauled its maternity leave program in May of this year, proudly expanding paid leave to twenty weeks. However, male employees who became new fathers still only received two weeks of paid leave for child bonding.

Estée Lauder's brands include Aveda, Origins, Smashbox, MAC and Bumble and Bumble. It holds licenses for Tory Burch, Tom Ford and Michael Kors fragrance.

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