Work/Life Squeeze: Caregiver Protections

DMEC Staff@Work

Caregiver Protections in Today’s Workplace

Caregiver ProtectionsBy Marti Cardi, JD

Vice President, Product Compliance
Matrix Absence Management

Many employers don’t realize the extent of job protections for employees with family responsibilities. But with many employees in the “Sandwich Generation,” job protections for family caregivers are quickly becoming more important.

In this issue, we will provide brief highlights of the workplace rights that we will cover in greater detail in the next five columns. We’ll look at familiar laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) but specifically from a caregiver perspective, as well as lesser-known caregiver protections under federal, state, and municipal laws. One reviewer called the caregiver issue “the next paid leave fault line.”

What Is Caregiver Discrimination?

Also called family responsibility discrimination, caregiver discrimination occurs when an employee suffers an adverse employment action based on biases and assumptions about how a worker with caregiver responsibilities will or should act, without regard to the worker’s actual work performance or preferences. Being a “caregiver” is not a protected classification under federal equal employment opportunity laws, but protections are available indirectly through Title VII and the ADA.

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