Thursday, October 25, 2007

Discrimination suits by family caregivers on the rise

As the number of employees with elder and child care demands grows, more workers are filing lawsuits claiming they've been discriminated against on the job because of their family caregiving obligations.  The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which recently issued its first guidance for employers about the issue, reports an "upsurge" in cases — with many resulting in awards to plaintiffs. The guidance provides examples of how bias can occur so that employers are aware of the risk.  The type of discrimination is growing so fast, it's been dubbed "family responsibilities discrimination." The Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, which tracks these lawsuits, says such cases have risen by 400% in the last decade.  This is on employers' radar screens," says James Matthews, a Philadelphia-based employment lawyer. "Law firms are really talking to their clients about it."  Cases usually involve an employee who must care for a child, elderly parent or disabled spouse. The employee may claim that he or she was retaliated against, not hired or discriminated against by an employer because of his or her caregiving responsibilities.

Source/more:  USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/money/workplace/2007-10-24-caregivers-work-discrimination_N.htm

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