Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day Gift From the MCAD

Just in time for Father's Day, and much to the apparent dismay of employers, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination recently gave a surprise gift to working fathers in this state. It seems the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination is now really getting serious about the issue of discrimination against men, and has abruptly decreed that the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act applies to men. See Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act Applies to Men - Boston Employment Lawyer Blog and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly - Men now eligible for maternity benefits.

From these reports, it appears that men may only be getting this equitable treatment now because someone figured out that continuing to discriminate against men in general would require discriminating against gay men as couples. As MCAD commissioner Martin Ebel put it:

If two women are married and adopt a child, then they are both entitled to leave under the [MMLA], and yet if two men are married and adopt a child, they would be entitled to no leave under a strict reading of the statute. That result was troubling to us, and we didn’t think it was in keeping with our mandate by statute, which is to eliminate, eradicate and prevent discrimination in Massachusetts.

Now, I have to wonder, if "maternity leave" can so easily be transformed into "parental leave," what exactly will be next? Will we have a federal Violence Against Men and Women Act(VAMWA), to replace the Violence Against Women Act(VAWA), in long-overdue recognition of the fact that domestic violence goes in every direction, male on female, female on male, male on male, and female on female? At last, will there be equal rights for male victims of domestic violence? I'm not holding my breath. But maybe equality is contagious.

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

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