National Partnership for Women & Families

"Alito Again Misleads on Family & Medical Leave Act," Nation's Top Expert on the Law Charges

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
Washington, D.C. — January 11, 2006 —
Facts are facts, whether Judge Alito chooses to acknowledge them or not. The legislative history of the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) contains vast, irrefutable evidence that some states had discriminatory medical leave policies. Before the FMLA became law, there were states with narrow medical leave laws that effectively discriminated against men by covering a common medical condition that women face (pregnancy) but not comparable medical conditions that men face. This also led to more discrimination against women, because it encouraged employers to view women as more costly employees. This compelling evidence led Congress to pass the FMLA.

Judge Alito chose to ignore that legislative history in ruling against the plaintiff in the Chittister case, and he denied it again today in testimony that can only be characterized as misleading. Our nation deserves better.

The National Partnership is the group that wrote the FMLA, and led the long fight to pass it. We know that Judge Alito’s repeated assertions, that the FMLA’s legislative history contains no evidence of sex discrimination in state medical leave practices, are
 demonstrably untrue.

That Judge Alito continues to make such statements about the FMLA is disturbing evidence that, if confirmed to the Supreme Court, five million state employees would lose their ability to enforce their FMLA rights. He must not be confirmed.”

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at

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