By Erin L. Kilgore

On July 17, 2018, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced that Estée Lauder Companies will pay $1,100,000 and provide other relief to settle a class sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC.

In 2017, the EEOC filed suit against Estée Lauder in federal court in Pennsylvania.  The EEOC alleged that Estée Lauder discriminated against a class of 210 male employees in violation of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, by providing them, as new fathers, less paid leave and related benefits for child bonding than it provided to new mothers. (The parental leave at issue was separate from the medical leave female employees received for childbirth and related issues). The EEOC also alleged that the company unlawfully denied new fathers certain return-to-work benefits that it provided to new mothers.

On July 17, the court entered a consent decree resolving the lawsuit.  Pursuant to the consent decree, Estée Lauder agreed: (1) to pay a total of $1,100,000 to the class of male employees who, under Estée Lauder’s parental leave policy, received two (2) weeks of paid parental leave when new mothers received six (6) weeks of paid leave for child-bonding after their medical leave ended; (2) to administer parental leave and related return-to-work benefits in a manner that ensures equal benefits for male and female employees and utilizes sex-neutral criteria, requirements, and processes; and (3) to provide training on unlawful sex discrimination and allow monitoring by the EEOC.

The EEOC’s full press release can be found here.