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Discrimination against dads in the workplace. What to do?

The vestiges of sex discrimination still appear in the American workplace. Women still make nearly 80 cents to every dollar a man makes, and they still have to deal with sexual harassment. However, men may have to deal with the stereotypes that come with the traditional norms of parental relationships; specifically that men put work first and leave time for child rearing to their spouses.

Because of this, fathers may experience a form of discrimination when asking for time off or leniency in work schedules. Essentially, the unwritten rule that applies to mothers (i.e. that adjustments be made in order to accommodate pick-up and drop-off to day care, or to attend school events) may not extend to fathers. This can be especially difficult for divorced fathers who had previously put their careers first and were beholden to the demands of the workplace.

While this may be a departure from the norm, fathers should be given the same rights and opportunities to be there for their children. It would be troubling for a divorce to be predicated on a father's absence (due to overwhelming work demands) only for the continuing relationship with children to be sabotaged in the same way. With that, fathers may want to consider the following when requesting flexible schedules:

• Be proactive with your boss and explain your parenting time schedule. Most employers value predictability, and when you can show when you will be in the office (or at least available remotely), this can help in establishing a flexible schedule.

• Be sure that your boss understands that you are subject to a court order. This means that your legal rights are at issue and as long as you are fulfilling your work obligations, you should have the time to follow the court's directives.

Source:, Workplace discrimination: The hidden discrimination divorced dads face at work, January 17, 2013

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