11 Colum. J. Eur. L. 413 (2005)

Susanna Eneteg. LL.M., 2005, Columbia University law School, Juris kandidat, 2000, Stockholm University Faculty of Law.

This note will discuss the way EC labor law has dealt with the “parenting at the workplace dilemma;” in other words, what is the legal situation for a mother and father in the European Community? The focus of this note is the Community’s view of the mother and father in their respective roles as caretakers of children within the framework of labor law. Initially, the discussion will focus on the theories underlying sex equality and parental law. Next, the distinction between and the consequences emanating from equal treatment and special treatment, respectively, will be highlighted. The remainder of the note will examine primary and secondary Community legislation and European Court of Justice precedent in this area of law. The most important cases will be discussed in detail The central thesis is that Community legislation and the Court’s line of precedent cement the view that mothers are the “natural” primary caretakers osmall children and that fathers simply should not be permitted to take care of infants. Although the Court claims to be trying to promote equality between the sexes and to ensure that women will not be subject to detrimental treatment because they are child-bearers and primary caretakers of children, it fails completely in this regard.