The outcry in Levs’s favor was so intense that he’s now writing a book about dads…
CNN reporter Josh Levs brought a gender discrimination action against Time Warner by filing with the EEOC in Atlanta, challenging Time Warner’s policy of offering biological fathers two weeks of paid leave while allowing mothers and other primary caregivers up to 10 weeks. Levs pointed out on his Tumblr page that the same policy applies to both men and women who adopt or have children through a surrogate. However, biological fathers like Levs only receive two paid weeks of leave.
Josh Levs, a CNN journalist, notes that numerous studies have shown that men who return to work after paternity leave are often treated dismissively by their colleagues and bosses, and all too frequently suffer damage to their reputations, reduced job responsibilities, and even demotions.
Levs, who also writes the blog ‘levsnews,” and is working on a book about the male role in parenting, isn’t just venting. When CNN parent Time-Warner denied his request for paid paternal leave, he filed a complaint with the EEOC alleging discrimination against fathers, one of the first suits brought under the new guidelines.
CNN reporter Josh Levs has written a book entitled Stretch Out about his struggle to secure more paternal leave before his third child was born. It will be published by HarperCollins in 2015. Levs’ situation brings focus to the ways in which fathers struggle with work-life balance and is a reminder that everyone needs to be at the table when we’re talking about parenting and work.
"There is obvious discrimination at play when someone in Levs’ own company could adopt his daughter and get eight more weeks of paid leave than he can.”
“This is one of the biggest factors in preventing women from leaning in to the workplace,” Levs said. “Our current policies police men out of caregiving roles and police women into them… Giving adequate, substantial parental leave… is good for gender equality and good for business.”
The new EEOC parental leave guidance involving fathers sends an unmistakable message: Discrimination against dads is illegal. Fathers are just as capable of and needed for taking care of our children as moms are. It’s time to end outdated policies that hurt women every day — policing women into caregiving roles while policing men out of them, making it nearly impossible for many couples to make non-traditional choices. Until more men have the chance to stay home after a child’s birth, many women won’t be able to “lean in” at work. That’s a central message of my upcoming book, Stretch Out. As a nation we need to stretch out the rigid structures — including laws and corporate policies — and reject sexist stigmas that are holding families, and our country, back.
Let’s hope the Neanderthals are listening.