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Divorced dads with custody face workplace discrimination

While women have made strides in the workplace, and many are balancing a career and parenting, a divorced father says there is a double standard for men who are trying to do the same.

This bias could affect matters of child custody, whether the father has full custody, has joint custody or has visitation, because it impacts the ability of fathers to be available for their children.

The working dad, who is actively involved in his children's lives, said the workplace is one of the few areas where gender discrimination is still tolerated and even accepted. He has found that, in most environments he has worked in over his 11 years of fatherhood, mothers get more freedom to attend to child-related matters. They can leave work early to pick up children at school or attend a school meeting, come to work late to take a child to a doctor's appointment, or bring the child into the workplace with them on a day off from school or a babysitter emergency. The assumption seems to be that, for mothers anyway, parenting comes first.

For fathers, however, the expectation is that being a productive employee comes first, and parenting is supposed take a back seat, said this working dad. He has found it increasingly difficult to get the same flexibility as his female colleagues to attend to his children's needs during work hours. He said he has felt pressure to find someone else to attend to what he considers to be his parenting responsibilities, or has been told outright to make other arrangements.

This dad acknowledges that, in many ways, men still have a leg-up in the workplace. However, he said, the double-standard regarding parenting is not only unfair to men, it is also unfair to women, as it holds both in archaic and discriminatory gender roles in the office.

Source: Huffington Post, "Workplace discrimination: The hidden discrimination divorced dads face at work," Robert Anthony, Jan. 18, 2013

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