Your Rights Under Pregnancy and/or Maternity Leave
September 2, 2016
Caregivers are winning workplace-discrimination cases - From Seattle Times
September 15, 2016
According to a recent news article from the Seattle Times, a recent study found number of what are called “family responsibilities discrimination,” or FRD, cases increased 269 percent, resulting in nearly $500 million paid out in verdicts and settlements. Per the report: “Employees win 67 percent of the FRD cases that go to trial — a far higher rate than other employment cases — and employees prevail in 52 percent of all FRD cases that are filed.”
A caregiver can be someone tending to a sick child, a spouse or partner, or an aging parent. One way or another, and at some point in time, that will be most of us. The need to be there for others is part of being human, a fact employers should recognize and appreciate.
“It looks like the employers are not understanding what family responsibility discrimination is and why they might be liable for it,” the study said. “So they’re not settling the meritorious cases the way they would if it was, say, a sex discrimination case. And another factor is that juries are returning most of these verdicts, and caring for a family member is pretty universal.”
The report gives some examples: “A pregnant employee’s supervisor refuses to let her take a break as her doctor directed. A father who occasionally stays home with his sick child is excluded from meetings and punished for infractions other employees commit without consequences. A mother of young children isn’t considered for promotion. A male employee is fired when he asks for leave to take his elderly parents to the doctor.”
And the report predicts the number of these cases will continue to grow: “Several trends contribute to this conclusion: the prevalence of American households with all adults in the paid workforce; the projected increase in the number of people over the age of 65 who need care; the growing number of other family members who have disabilities; the number of men who are becoming caregivers; and the expectations of employees that working and providing family care should not be mutually exclusive.”
Here are other facts from the report:
- In 2014, 43.5 million adults provided unpaid care to an adult or a child with special needs.
- 60 percent of those caregivers were employed.
- About 25 percent of them were millennials.
- 40 percent of them were men.
- About half of all workers say they’ll have to provide elder care sometime in the next five years.
Simply put, almost everyone is going to be a caregiver.
The evidence in the Center for WorkLife Law’s study suggests not only that companies are doing a poor job accommodating workers who are caregivers — thus the explosion in discrimination cases — but that the cases have merit, as juries are finding companies at fault.