Protecting the Caregiver

By Staff Report

Sep. 11, 2013

While there is no federal law that specifically addresses bias against caregivers in the workplace, there are statutes for protection.

Here is an overview:
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993: Entitles eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for, among other things, caring for a parent or spouse with a serious health condition. Employers cannot deny or discourage an employee from taking FMLA leave or retaliate against someone who has taken leave.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990: Prohibits discrimination based on “association with” an individual with a “disability” as defined in the law. The ADA offers protection to workers caring for people with disabilities.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973: Prohibits discrimination based on disability by federal government agencies and contractors, and recipients of federal financial assistance using standards established by the ADA.

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974: Prohibits an employer from firing or discriminating against an employee to keep them from exercising their rights under a benefit plan. For example, an employer can’t fire a worker to avoid paying the health care costs of the employee’s dependent spouse or child.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: Prohibits discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Female workers who are caregivers could allege discrimination if they have been mistreated based on gender stereotypes, like being less committed to their job than a man. Motherhood is the strongest form of gender discrimination, but can also include elder-care responsibilities.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967: Prohibits discrimination against employees 40 years of age or older. Older working caregivers may claim that their family responsibilities have triggered age discrimination.

Source: AARP Public Policy Institute, “Protecting Family Caregivers From Employment Discrimination”

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