Law Suit: Dad Fired for Asserting His Right to Paternity Leave?

A dad alleges that his employer retaliated against him by marginalizing and then firing him after he fought for his right to take the paid parental leave the company had in its policy manual. If true, this case speaks to the real struggle for working fathers- the fear of reprisal for visibly prioritizing family.

Screencap of the April 23, 2014 article about a man suing his employer for firing him after he asserted his right to paternity leave
Screencap of the April 23, 2014 article about a man suing his employer for firing him after he asserted his right to paternity leave

I have the best readers. The other day, an FWF reader sent me an email with a link to this story from the NY Post. Here’s a quick summary:

– Tonny Uy, a former senior accountant at asmallworld.net (a social networking site for millionaires), sought paternity leave when his and his husband’s daughter was born

– He was initially rebuffed, but he then pointed out the policy in the employee handbook

– The company then agreed to the 40 days (8 weeks) paid leave (which is quite generous compared to most policies)

– After taking leave, Uy contends he was treated differently by his supervisor, and a few months later, he was told his job was being eliminated. He was replaced with a part-time employee

– He alleges asmallworld changed their employee handbook, removing the paid leave benefit for all employees a few months after he returned from his leave (kinda like Cartman?)

A few caveats are in order- the only information I have about the suit is this article, and we are only getting Uy’s side of the story. However, if the alleged facts are indeed true, this situation is disturbing to me on two levels.

First, if the company has a policy on the books, employees shouldn’t have to fight for the right to avail themselves of that policy. From this article, It is not clear if asmallworld had only a maternity leave policy or a more general parental leave policy that covered both moms and dads. Further, if a policy is on the books, it should also extend to adoptive parents (I am assuming this is the case for Uy and his husband).

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The Changing Role of Men at Work and at Home- A Conversation at Womenetics

I was recently asked to contribute a short piece on the changing role of men in work-family for Womenetics.com, a leading website for professional women.

I don't like to call myself an expert, but I like it when others do! (click on the pic for my essay)
I don’t like to call myself an expert, but I like it when others do! (click on the pic for my essay)

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Have You Bought Into the Cult of Overwork?

Here’s a quick checklist from Greg Marcus’ book “Busting Your Corporate Idol” that can tell you if you are exhibiting signs of chronic overwork and have internalized corporate “work before all” priorities.

Have we turned our employer into a "Corporate Idol"?
Have we turned our employer into a “Corporate Idol”?

Greg Marcus recently wrote a great book “Busting Your Corporate Idol: How to Reconnect with Values and Regain Control of Your Life.” He describes corporate idolatry as the state in which one looks to their career/job/employer as a “false god” above other more important priorities such as family, health and religion.

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Fun Family Science Experiments (A Photo Essay)

Last weekend, Nick and I spent some time working on four short, easy and fun science experiments. Here’s a photo-essay.

Nick really enjoyed the science experiments in this book
Nick really enjoyed the science experiments in this book

My friend, Mike Adamick, recently wrote “Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments,” a follow-up to his best-selling book of kids’ projects. These science projects are easy to do, teach quick lessons, and were really fun. Here are some photos from our experiments. Enjoy.

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The Mets’ John Olerud Took Paternity Leave in 1998 To No Criticism. Where Were Francesa and Boomer Then?

When the controversy over Daniel Murphy’s paternity leave erupted last week (see my articles here and here, and appearance on CBS This Morning here), I thought of another Met who took paternity leave 16 years ago to little fanfare. How things have and haven’t progressed since 1998.

John Olerud took an informal paternity leave during the 1998 season.
John Olerud took an informal paternity leave during the 1998 season. (image by Webdesign, use under Creative Commons)

1998: The Year of Dawson’s Creek, Monica Lewinski, Dixie Chicks, Saving Private Ryan, ER, and Harry Potter!

As part of an article I wrote for the Journal of Diversity Management a loooooooong time ago, I discussed work-family issues in sports and highlighted the 1998 paternity leave of John Olerud. Here is an except from that article, and some new commentary below:

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Google, Segmenters, Integrators and Work-Family Balance

Google found that some employees are able to separate work and non-work, while others take a more integrated approach. How this insight has practical applications for employers and employees and highlights the need for more customized work-family solutions.

I'm impressed by Google's scientific approach to work-family management
I’m impressed by Google’s scientific approach to work-family management

I recently came across an excellent HBR.org article by Lazlo Bock about gDNA–Google’s scientific approach to studying their workplace and employees. By collecting and analyzing large amounts of data, they hope to implement workplace changes that accelerate productivity and enhance employee well-being.

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Author Q&A- Whit Honea, The Parents’ Phrase Book and Parenting with Love

Whit Honea recently wrote “The Parents’ Phrase Book.” Whit is a friend and a writer I respect, and I think his book is quite helpful for parents; I hope you find it helpful, too. (I did not receive any remuneration- even a free book- for this interview.)

Whit Honea's "The Parents' Phrase Book"
Whit Honea’s “The Parents’ Phrase Book”

The best advice I could ever give is to do everything with love—from packing a lunch to discipline, building a fort to volunteering at a school function—it can be frustrating and trying, but childhood is a small window closing quickly, and only we can decide if it leaves us with wonderful memories or too many regrets. -Whit Honea

Briefly tell us about your book

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Welcome Wall Street Journal Readers and CBS This Morning Viewers!

“The good news is that when anything—even something as asinine as Wednesday’s debate—gets America talking about paternity leave, it is significant progress.” -from my 4/4 WSJ article I hope you enjoyed the segment about Daniel Murphy’s paternity leave on CBS This Morning, and my follow-up article on the Wall Street Journal Online. I am thrilled by … Read more