The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently sued cosmetics company Esteé Lauder for gender discrimination for failing to grant male employees with the same benefits as its female employees in both its parental leave and return to work policies (EEOC v. Esteé Lauder Cos. Inc.).
The case is a cautionary tale for all employers. Estee Lauder’s policies offered benefits beyond what was required by law, but the policies were not made available equally to all employees. Employers are required to provide both males and females with equal pay for equal work under the Equal Pay Act and cannot treat female employees better than similarly situated male employees, or vice versa, under Title VII.
To avoid gender discrimination claims in leave benefits: