EEOC Meeting Suggests Increased Enforcement of “Caregiver” Discrimination

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently held a public meeting to address discrimination against pregnant women and workers with caregiving responsibilities, characterizing these forms of disparate treatment as a “significant problem” in the workplace. As the meeting clearly suggests increased enforcement may be coming, we strongly recommend that New York and New Jersey employers review their policies and procedures in these two areas.

While employers are generally familiar with the laws regarding pregnancy discrimination, many are less familiar with what constitutes unlawful treatment of a working parent or other caregiver. While federal law does not expressly prohibit discrimination based solely on parental or other caregiver status, employers can still get into trouble if an employee with caregiving responsibilities is subjected to discrimination based on a protected characteristic such as sex or race.

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