Employers who punish or retaliate against employees who take time off to care for family members could face discrimination lawsuits. Over the past decade, employment lawsuits alleging discrimination based on family responsibilities have increased by 269 percent, and the resulting verdicts and settlements amount to almost $500 million. Although caregivers are not specifically protected under federal employment laws, gender discrimination and disability discrimination laws may apply in many cases.
A father successfully filed a gender discrimination claim after his employer refused to let him work from home while caring for his premature baby. The employer had allowed new mothers to work from home.
A female police officer successfully filed a discrimination claim after her request to be removed from patrol duty was denied. The request was made because she could not wear a bullet proof vest while she was breastfeeding. The court ruled that breastfeeding is a pregnancy-related condition covered by pregnancy discrimination laws.
Individuals who are denied employment because of a family member’s disability may also file a claim based on associational discrimination. If an employer decides not to hire someone because the employer fears that the prospective employee’s need to care for a disabled family member might interfere with his/her work, the employee can pursue a discrimination lawsuit.
If you have been wrongfully terminated or mistreated by an employer because you took time off work to care for a family member, call 215-569-1999 or contact us online for a free consultation with an experienced Philadelphia employment lawyer at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C.