EEOC Issues New Guidance on Family Responsibilities Discrimination

EEOC Issues New Guidance on Family Responsibilities Discrimination and they are here:

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has published new guidance on how agency-enforced laws apply to workers with caregiving responsibilities.

The agency says it is issuing the guidance as a proactive measure to address an emerging discrimination issue in the workplace. The enforcement guidance, Unlawful Disparate Treatment of Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities, provides examples under which discrimination against a working parent or other caregiver may constitute unlawful disparate treatment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

The guidance notes that changing workplace demographics, including women’s increased participation in the labor force, have created the potential for greater discrimination against working parents and others with caregiving responsibilities, such as eldercare–all of which may vary by gender, race, or ethnicity.

“With this new guidance, the commission is clarifying how the federal EEO laws apply to employees who struggle to balance work and family,” says EEOC Vice Chair Leslie E. Silverman. “Fortunately, many employers have recognized employees’ need to balance work and family, and have responded in very positive and creative ways.”

The guidance, available online at www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/caregiving.html along with a question and answer fact sheet, states: “This document is not intended to create a new protected category but rather to illustrate circumstances in which stereotyping or other forms of disparate treatment may violate Title VII or the prohibition under the ADA against discrimination based on a worker’s association with an individual with a disability.”

The guidance highlights a wide range of scenarios in which nondiscrimination law would come into play, including: • Treating male caregivers more favorably than female caregivers. • Sex-based stereotyping, such as reassigning a woman to less desirable projects based on the assumption that, as a new mother, she will be less committed to her job. • Subjective decision-making regarding working mothers (that is, lowering subjective evaluations of a female employee’s work performance after she becomes the primary caregiver of her grandchildren, despite the absence of an actual decline in work performance). • Discrimination against working fathers and women of color. • Stereotyping based on association with an individual with a disability, such as refusing to hire a worker who is a single parent of a child with a disability based on the assumption that caregiving responsibilities will make the worker unreliable. (Source: BLR.com)