The ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of a South Carolina State trooper who was fired for attempting to take a parental leave. Lance Cpl. David Roberts is the second man to file a sex discrimination suit because his employers denied parental leave.
Upon requesting leave to take care of his newborn daughter, Robert’s commander stated that “The man is the breadwinner and it is the man’s responsibility to work, not to stay home with the kids.” Andre Brumme of the ACLU responded by saying that “Here’s a case where a father’s trying to take responsibility for a child, but being told…’Men don’t do that.’ Men should have the same rights as women.”
The defendant’s attorneys are challenging the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), enacted by President Clinton in 1993, that requires all businesses with over 50 employees to allow up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for children or ill family members. They argue that the federal government does not have authority to obligate states to follow this law. Generally more women than men use FMLA: 1.4 million women annually take this leave, compared with only 500,000 men.
Roberts noted in his defense that “This was the birth of my first little girl and I wanted to be there. Looking after a newborn is not a vacation and I wanted to pull my fair share and give my wife the opportunity to get back to her new job and continue her career as well.”