Disney fires man for taking paternity leave; judge rules it's not discrimination because he didn't give birth

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/10/24/disney-fires-man-for-taking-paternity-leave-judge-rules-its-not-discrimination-because-he-didnt-give-birth.html


Aren’t these the same people who would have granted him the leave in the first place? Saying that someone is better off “somewhere else” dismisses the fact that finding a new job and starting out is difficult if not impossible sometimes, especially with a newborn, but this sounds like a job full of cruel sociopaths. Any one of those comments would have been grounds for serious a HR investigation.


2 weeks of leave, too! I expected something like 6 months! America, you’re crazy sometimes.

What good do two weeks of leave even do?


Could universal paid parental leave finally be the issue that unites Men’s Rights Activists and Actual Normal Gender Equality Activists?

Doubtful. While child custody is a big issue for MRAs, they’re still very grounded in traditional patriarchal norms when it comes to childbirth and early years child care.

For MRAs, it’s literally about men’s rights rather than equal rights. It’s a reactionary movement in all senses, one that (as with all alt-right spheres) appeals primarily to bitter and entitled white cis-het males.


It was always an issue for Actual Normal Gender Equality Activists, it’s just that the MRAs don’t want their marks to know that.


Disney Villains is an excellent tag.


MRAs would never accept this because it would mean that women would be eligible for paid family leave as well. Also, I doubt many of them feel very compelled to, you know, help out at all.


Disney - the family friendly corporation!


I’m not sure what is going on here…

NYS offers up to 10-weeks of Bonding leave for a male parent with a newborn under (2016) Paid Family Leave law [1] starting in 2018.

“Your employer is prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against you for requesting or taking Paid Family Leave.”


  • not returning you to your same or a comparable job,
  • terminating your employment,
  • reducing your pay or benefits, or
  • disciplining you in any way.

Which leaves the ‘warnings’ he received from colleagues—bizarre—as his proof the firing was related to the pregnancy.

NYS, like most of the US, Is an At-will employment law state [2].

Sounds like the court drew a fine line.

[1]: paidfamilyleave dot ny dot gov slash bonding-leave-birth-child

[2]: In [U.S. labor law] at-will employment is an employer’s ability to dismiss employment an employee for any reason (that is, without having to establish just cause for termination), and without warning, as long as the reason is not illegal (e.g. firing because of the employee’s race, religion or sexuality). (Wikipedia)


This case clearly illustrates a number of points.

  1. The US badly needs etter rights for workers. At-will employment means virtual serfdom for the employee who is always at the mercy of their corporate overlord’s whims. Even ignoring its own policies if it simply doesn’t like you, as in this case.

  2. The idea of “protected classes” in anti-discrimination laws and regulations is completely flawed. All it does is undermine equality and perpetuate the idea that certain forms of discrimination are perfectly fine, while setting up absurd situations like this.

  3. HR is never your friend when you are in a fight with management, this is why we need UNIONS.

  4. As the snarky comments immediately show, getting activists to segregate themselves along identitarian lines is the best way to make sure we keep fighting amongst ourselves and not uniting to advance our broader class interests.


Funny how a company that began solely for bringing joy to children loves to treat their parents like human garbage.

This is not how you treat employees America. It’s shit like this that makes Americans hate living in America.

What I see is they fired him for choosing to have a kid, which flies in the face of everything that company was founded for.

Disney what you have done here is disgusting and deplorable. You should be ashamed of yourselves, I can’t believe a company founded on children treats their employees this way when they decide to have one, this is ridiculous


I try to avoid working with those who want me dead or subjugated. It never ends well for some reason. Maybe you could go after them for working against their class interests instead?


Good luck with that one. The manosphere defines itself as a right-wing space, and is filled not only with sexists but with bigots and AynCap fantasists. Bring up “class interests” with that crowd and they’ll heckle you out of the room as a “Marxist SJW”.


What’s wrong with the rallying cry of “protect my interests and maybe you’ll get tossed a bone?” /s


The Mr Bumbles of the world would never allow it.



Compromise for me, but not for we.



Also, this is precisely the kind of case that RBG built her career on, equality to access to things like this. If she was not rolling in her grave before this, she is now.


To be clear, he could have taken way more than that under US law, NY State law, and even Disney policy. Taking minimal paternity leave is about men never wanting to compromise their careers for kids the way women are expected to.


Also everyone, men and women, are worried about getting fired for taking the full amount of what they are owed. This applies not to just maternity/paternity leave, but vacations as well. It’s a rotten work culture in the US, and something we need to work on.

It varies by state and by company. My company offers 22 weeks for both maternity and paternity leave in nearly all locations worldwide. That’s considered a bit unusual for a US company, and tends to land us somewhat favorably in “best places to work” rankings.


I’ve got no idea what’s going on in this specific case or how the law / company policy differs between NY and CA, and I’m certainly not going to defend it, but I personally had no problem at all taking about 8 weeks or so of paid family leave when each of my last 2 kids were born six and ten years ago, as have several of my other male co-workers. My managers were very supportive and I never heard a hint of pushback about anyone taking the full amount of family leave to which they were entitled. (One manager had a kid and took leave himself). So whatever is going on in this case is not necessarily reflective of the company behavior as a whole. But then again, the company is freakin’ HUGE, so maybe there are divisions/departments that have a different corporate culture and attitude about adherence to these policies and laws.