I’ve had the privilege to interact with Josh Levs a few times now for stories he has done for CNN and HLN covering modern, involved fatherhood. He has always been a pleasure to chat with, and one of the few media people I have met who I know really “gets it.” As a young dad himself, he’s been a huge supporter of getting dads welcomed into the conversations about parenting in the media.
Recently, Josh and his wife had their third child. In planning for the birth, he did some research into the paternity leave policy that Time Warner (CNN’s parent company) provided, and was surprised by what he found: clear discrimination against biological fathers.
The full leave policy is likely very complicated, but in a nutshell, it is this: mothers get ten (10) weeks of paid leave, while fathers only get two (2). Time Warner has, in the past, justified this discrepancy because of the recovery time needed for mothers after the trauma of childbirth, although technically recovery time is actually already covered as part of their short-term medical disability leave. However, in the case such as adoption, surrogacy, and for same sex couples, the ten week paid policy applies to any new parent, man or woman. Time Warner has, rightly, been proud of their forward looking parental policy when it comes to supporting new adoptive, surrogate, and same-sex parents. So why does this policy exclude ONLY biological fathers?
Hoping this exclusion was an unintentional holdover on old policy, Josh has been working with Time Warner to have their policy changed. But despite assurances that it was being addressed he has in the end been denied with no explanation. At this point he feels he has little choice but to challenge the policy in court, and has filed an EEOC charge against Time Warner.
Throughout all this, no one at Time Warner has argued with me on the merits of my request, nor presented any suggestion that there’s anything wrong with what I’m asking for.
The company gave no explanation in rejecting my request last week, saying only that it was “unable” to grant it. That’s obviously false. Time Warner is able to, but chose not to.
The moment it did that, this issue stopped being a possible oversight that the company could have resolved quietly. It became an active, deliberate decision to discriminate.
I’m not giving up without a fight.
You can read a lot more from Josh about this here on his blog.
If you agree that Time Warner needs to address this discriminatory policy, please share this story, and let Josh know that you support him. In addition to his blog you can find Josh on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
Photo courtesy Josh Levs.
Almost a year after this was originally posted, Time Warner has reportedly released a new, altered parental leave policy, that addresses Josh’s complaints and marks a vast improvement.