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Tampa settles lawsuit with feds over parental leave for male workers

Exterior of Tampa City Hall
Thomas Iocobucci
WUSF Public Media
Tampa City Hall

The city of Tampa has reached an agreement with the federal government to resolve a discrimination lawsuit alleging that male workers didn’t receive the same parental leave as female workers.

Under the proposed settlement reached Thursday, Tampa will pay $300,000 and credit 240 hours of additional leave time to male workers who were denied the same amount of parental leave as female workers in 2017 and 2018.

According to the lawsuit, female workers were allowed up to 320 hours of leave time for the purpose of serving as the primary caregiver for a new child, while male workers were permitted only 80 hours as “secondary” caregivers, even if they were the primary caregiver.

At least 10 male workers requested primary caregiver leave and were denied because of their sex, and as many as 150 male workers were discouraged from applying for primary caregiver leave by their supervisors or human resources officials, according to the complaint.

The proposed consent decree, which requires approval from a judge, also requires Tampa to adopt a new parental leave policy that does not discriminate based on sex.

“This agreement sends a clear message that in providing paid or unpaid parental leave, employers must guarantee that those benefits are provided without reliance on presumptions about which parent can be the primary caregiver,” U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said in a statement.

The Tampa City Council passed a resolution Thursday denying that the city unlawfully discriminated against male employees. Both the city and the federal government reached a settlement to “avoid the risk and burdens of protracted litigation,” according to the resolution.

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