Caregiver Discrimination in the Workplace
Attorneys Protecting Caregivers from Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace for Over 25 Years.
Caregiver discrimination and harassment is also known as Family Responsibilities Discrimination (FRD). This type of discrimination occurs when an employer makes unfair employment decisions because the employee cares for a spouse, child, or family member.
Your employer may unfairly believe you care more about your family than your job. They may think you will call out often or be undependable. Therefore, your employer may unfairly deny you the necessary leave. You may get fired from work. You may even get demoted, denied shift changes, and denied other accommodations.
If your employer discriminates against you, fires you, or otherwise retaliates against you based on your family responsibilities, you have the right to fight back and fight for your rights at work. You need a discrimination attorney to help you stand up for your rights to care for your family. Your attorney should work as your advocate when you fight back against your employer’s discrimination and retaliation.
What is a Caregiver?
A caregiver is a person that takes care of a spouse, parent, adult child, or relative (your charge) who is ill or injured. A caregiver can also be a parent who must take care of a minor child.
As a caregiver, you have a responsibility to the person you care for to make sure they get the physical and medical help they need. This care can include some of the following tasks:
- Getting them to and from doctor’s appointments.
- Making sure they are fed.
- Getting them medications as needed.
- Running basic errands, such as food shopping, laundry, cooking, and more for your charge.
- Getting them to and from school as needed.
- Conducting the general acts of parenting a child.
Historically, caregivers are generally women. However, a caregiver can be of any gender.
What is Caregiver Discrimination and Harassment?
Caregiver discrimination and harassment is also known as Family Responsibilities Discrimination. This discrimination occurs when your employer, CEO, supervisor, manager, coworker, client, customer, or non-employee treats you unfairly or harasses you because you are taking care of a family member.
Your employer may make rude comments about having to take care of children or a member of the family. He may also deny you the legally required accommodations to help you properly care for your loved ones.
How Can You Spot Caregiver Discrimination at Work?
Caregiver Discrimination can take many forms. Some examples of caregiver discrimination and harassment include:
- Your boss comments about a pregnant mom having her hands full with more than one child at home.
- Your supervisor refuses to let you take time off to care for your sick spouse.
- Your employer docked your pay for using the Family and Medical Leave Act for time off to help your mother with cancer treatments.
- Your boss fired you from work for taking your special needs son to a necessary medical appointment.
- Your coworker makes fun of a male employee who is the caregiver to his terminally ill wife.
- Your manager denies you, the spouse of an active-duty marine, the time off to make new childcare arrangements while your husband is deployed.
- Your boss demoted you because you took time away from work to care for your son, who was injured in a car accident.
- You got fired from work because you requested time off to care for your child, who must stay home while mending a broken leg.
What Laws Protect Employees from Caregiver Discrimination and Harassment?
Several federal laws protect employees from family responsibilities discrimination in the workplace.
1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII protects employees from sex discrimination. The law protects women or men from unequal treatment when it comes to family responsibilities.
An employer will give a woman time off to care for a sick child. When a male employee asks for time off for the same reason, he gets denied. Title VII can come into play. This law will afford men and women the same rights as caregivers.
2. The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). The ADAAA prohibits employers from discriminating against employees who need to care for a disabled family member. Discriminating against these caregivers can include firing, demoting, refusing certain projects, refusing raises, and other harassment and unfair treatment in retaliation for exercising their legal rights.
The employer will often claim the employee is not 100% committed to the job. However, the ADAAA prohibits employers from making employment decisions based on your need to be a caregiver for your disabled family member.
3. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA mandates an employer with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius must allow qualified employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period to care for a parent, spouse, or child. If the employee is part of an active military family, they must receive 26 weeks off.
A qualified employee has worked for the company for at least 12 months. The qualified employee has worked at least 1,250 hours in that time.
4. State Laws. States offer protections for caregivers from family responsibilities discrimination. Depending on your state, you may receive protections from gender discrimination, disability discrimination and even receive paid or unpaid family leave to care for your family member.
These laws also protect you from any form of retaliation, such as wrongful termination, demotions, and denied shifts from your employer because you are a caregiver.
To determine which laws appropriately relate to your case, contact an experienced discrimination lawyer. They can help you ensure you file the appropriate claim to get the compensation you deserve.
How Does a Victim of Caregiver Discrimination and Harassment File a Complaint?
If you are the victim of caregiver discrimination and harassment, you have the right to file a complaint against your employer. If the employer violated Title VII or the ADAAA, you may file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 to 300 days of the incident.
The EEOC investigates the claim. They often issue a Right to Sue Letter, providing you a time limit of 90 days to file your federal court complaint.
If your claim is an FMLA violation, you may file a charge with the Department of Labor. You may also choose to file directly with the federal courts. You should file the claim within 2 to 3 years of the violation.
Finally, your state laws require a time limit to file your claim. The time limit may be anywhere from 180 days to several years. Discuss your case with a qualified discrimination lawyer to determine when you need to file your claim for caregiver discrimination at work.
How Much Money Can You Receive as a Victim of Caregiver Discrimination and Harassment?
Not all caregiver and discrimination victims require money when seeking compensation from the court. The courts may provide the following relief if you win your claim against changing the company policy and transferring the person responsible for discrimination and harassment.
Some of the remedies the court may offer include:
- Reinstatement of employment and benefits
- Reimbursement of related expenses
- Revamping company policies
- Lost pay
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Attorney’s fees
- Court costs
- Punitive damages
How Long Can a Caregiver Discrimination Case Last?
Your caregiver discrimination lawsuit can settle before a claim ever reaches the desk of the EEOC. However, it may take years to settle, if it settles at all. The length of your case depends upon the willingness of you and your boss to reach a fair agreement.
Your attorney may reach a settlement with your employer before filing the claim with the proper federal or state agency. In these cases, your claim may settle within 4 to 6 months.
However, your employer may wait until the case gets filed with the proper agency or court. They may even wait until the case makes it to trial. Your case may settle at any point before the court enters a final judgment. The entire process may take several years to either reach a settlement or receive a court judgment.
How Can an Employment Discrimination Lawyer Help Your Caregiver Discrimination Claim?
An employment discrimination lawyer can be your lifeline throughout the process of fighting for your rights with your employer. As a caregiver, you typically burn the candle at both ends. You try to keep your life moving as smoothly as normal, with work, your healthy family members, and your own self-care. However, you also need to be available to care for your charge as readily as possible. You are likely exhausted and have little energy left to fight.
Your employment discrimination lawyer will act as your advocate and take the pressure off your back. They can guide you in the right direction to file your claim. Your attorney can give you a voice when you have nothing left to give.
Whether you need the help to fight for your rights or simply guide you towards the proper laws and timelines to file your claims, your qualified discrimination attorney can help you successfully file your caregiver discrimination claim.
Contact Our Experienced Employment Discrimination Attorneys for Your Free Consultation
You have enough to worry about as a caregiver. You should not have to worry about whether you will get fired from work as well.
If you are the victim of caregiver discrimination and harassment, the experienced employment discrimination attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group can help.
Are You a Caregiver to Members of Your Family? Did Your Employer Discriminate Against You, Retaliate Against You, or Fire You from Work as a Result? Please Let Us Help by Calling 800.807.2209 or Emailing [email protected].