Many people today have responsibilities to care for their children, a spouse, a parent, or another family member. Sometimes, these responsibilities create work-family conflicts that are difficult for employers and employees to address. Whatever the circumstances, employers need to be careful not to discriminate against applicants or employees based on their caregiving responsibilities.
What is Family Responsibilities Discrimination?
Family responsibilities discrimination, or caregiver discrimination, occurs when an employer takes negative action against an applicant or employee, such as denial of employment or promotions, less pay, harassment, or termination, based on their caregiving responsibilities. Examples might include the following:
- Not hiring a woman because she has children at home, even though she’s qualified for the position;
- Transferring a woman to a position with fewer responsibilities out of concern she’ll be stressed and exhausted because of her many job and caregiving responsibilities, even if the employer has benevolent intentions;
- Penalizing employees for legally taking time off to care for a family member with disabilities;
- Refusing to hire or promote a woman for fear she’ll become pregnant.
Employers can’t make decisions based on stereotypes about women, men, parents, or other caregivers. They have to evaluate applicants and employees based on their individual qualifications and treat them in the same way they would treat other employees.
Which Laws Prohibit Family Responsibilities Discrimination?
No federal laws explicitly prohibit family responsibilities discrimination; however, employers can be liable for sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. In some situations, they can also be liable under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act, among other laws.
Under Nevada law, individuals might be able to make similar claims.
You can learn more about employment discrimination and what to do about it here.