After Derek Rotondo and his wife welcomed their son in June 2017, the financial crimes investigator at JP Morgan Chase filed for the 16 weeks of paid parental leave the company began offering as part of their parental leave plan in 2016. Rotondo, however, was denied the full parental leave and offered only two weeks paid leave on the grounds that he wasn't the primary caregiver of his son. In other words, he wasn't a woman. The company seemed to feel that only the mother could be a primary caregiver and therefore granted women 16 weeks paid leave unless. Fathers were only entitled to the full leave if they could show the mother was either incapacitated or had to return to work.
Rotundo, whose wife is a special education teacher, decided to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission according to CBS news, which resulted in a class action lawsuit being filed against the company. As a result of the lawsuit brought against the company, JP Morgan Chase recently announced that it has clarified it's parental leave stating "our policy is gender neutral and allows employees to change from nonprimary to primary, or vice versa, during the course of their leave period."
As part of the settlement, the company has also agreed to put aside $5 million to compensate approximately 5000 fathers who were denied their parental leave over the last few years, a move the ACLU said in a statement is the "first class-action lawsuit to settle discrimination claims for a class of fathers who claim they were denied the opportunity to receive equal paid parental leave given to mothers."
Outdated parental leave policies discriminate against all parents by reinforcing stereotypes that raising children is “women’s work.”— ACLU (@ACLU) June 1, 2019
We’re glad that @Chase has taken steps to make sure its family leave policy reflects the realities of modern families. pic.twitter.com/QP9aAXkysj
In a statement, Rotundo said he's happy that his initial case resulted in such big changes. "I'm proud that since I filed my charge, Chase has clarified its policy to ensure that both male and female employees who wish to be the primary parental caregiver have equal access to those benefits," he said.
After Rotundo filed his initial complaint he was granted the full 16 weeks, but it's nice to see that after the class action suit was filed the company has agreed to view both men and women as primary caregivers. "We are pleased to have reached an agreement in this matter and look forward to more effectively communicating the policy so that all men and women employees are aware of their benefits," Reid Broda, associate general counsel at JPMorgan, stated. "We thank Mr. Rotondo for bringing the matter to our attention."