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Challenge to Presumption of Mother as Primary Caregiver

JPMorgan Chase allows primary caregivers up to 16 weeks of paid leave. It is considered a fairly generous leave policy. There is one catch: primary caregivers are presumed to be women.

Derek Rotondo and his wife were expecting their second child. Wanting to be more involved, Mr. Rotondo called up his employer, JP Morgan Chase. He was told that he could have two weeks of parental leave. He asked for the “primary caregiver” status that would allow him more time. He was advised that mothers are given the presumption of “primary caregiver.” He could only gain that status by showing that his wife went back to work or was medically incapable of caring for their newborn. As his wife was a teacher on summer break, he could not show either requirement.

With the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and ACLU backing him up, Mr. Rotondo has filed a lawsuit alleging sex discrimination. The Family Medical Leave Act guarantees both parents up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave. It is the ACLU’s (as well as the EEOC’s) position that both genders should be given the same amount of paid leave as well, referring to JP Morgan Chase’s current policy as “outdated.” It remains to be seen whether the courts will agree.