Philadelphia Employment Lawyers
Family Responsibilities Discrimination/Caregiver Discrimination
Employees are being increasingly discriminated against based on their responsibilities in caring for family members. This could include caring for small children, elderly parents or a disabled family member and is referred to as family responsibilities discrimination (FRD) or caregiver discrimination.
Unlike more commonly recognized forms of discrimination like gender or age, there is no specific law covering FRD. Rather, FRD must be examined in connection with existing laws that recognize, and apply to, already established protected classes of employees. For example, a woman with small children who is passed over for promotion in favor of an equally, or less, qualified male because he has no children may have a claim for discrimination based on her family responsibilities. The woman is perceived as being less capable because her responsibilities outside of the office might interfere with her job while the man has no outside responsibilities and therefore is perceived as the better candidate. This is both FRD and gender discrimination.
While FRD has been referred to as “maternal wall” discrimination or the equivalent of the glass ceiling for mothers, it does not apply solely to women. For example, a company that provides maternal leave for a mother to bond with a newborn or newly adopted child but fails to provide an equivalent paternal leave could be engaging in FRD and gender discrimination. Not hiring an employee because that employee has a disabled child could be both FRD and disability discrimination.