Caregivers as a Protected Class?: The growth of state and local laws prohibiting family responsibilities discrimination

Source: Stephanie Bornstein, Robert J. Rathmell, Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, December 2009

From the press release:
At least 63 local governments in 22 states–including some of the nation’s major urban areas–have passed employment anti‐discrimination laws that go beyond federal and state statutes to ensure that those with caregiving responsibilities are not discriminated against at work. Cases filed under these local laws, such as one recent decision in Chicago, have the potential to result in substantial damages, fines, and attorneys fees.

Today, the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law released the first comprehensive nationwide survey of state and local laws that prohibit family responsibilities discrimination, or FRD. FRD occurs when employees are penalized at work–fired, demoted, denied promotions or employment benefits, or harassed–because of their caregiving responsibilities at home, whether for children, an ill partner, or an elderly relative. While most of the local laws cover parents and those with responsibilities for children, some go further to include other caregiving relationships.

The new report shows that, going beyond state and federal statutes, cities and counties have taken it upon themselves to ensure their residents are not discriminated against in public and private employment settings based on familial status or responsibilities.

Leave a Reply