Beware bias against men who take FMLA leave — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Would you think less highly of male applicants because they took leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? Your first answer may be "No," but a new study suggests otherwise.

In the study, business professors at Wake Forest University provided 242 people with mock personnel files containing resumes, job descriptions, performance reviews and FMLA-request forms. Based on that data, the study participants then assumed a manager's role and rated each employee on a range of attributes associated with being a "good corporate citizen." Example: They tried to estimate whether workers would be punctual, help co-workers or work overtime if needed.

Result: Male employees who took FMLA leave to care for newborns or ailing parents were rated less favorably than women who did the same.

Bottom line: Pay attention to the culture you're creating in the workplace when it comes to FMLA policy. Strive for equal participation with no bias. Treating male FMLA-takers differently could prompt a discrimination or retaliation lawsuit.

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