As the variety of staff requesting versatile work preparations will increase, the Equal Employment Alternative Fee (EEOC) has launched a brand new technical help doc, “The COVID-19 Pandemic and Caregiver Discrimination Under Federal Employment Discrimination Law,” and an replace to its COVID-19 “What You Should Know” to deal with staff and job seekers with household caregiving duties.
The brand new EEOC steering highlights potential points and situations that would result in discrimination claims primarily based on caregiver duties, and it gives vital reminders for employers coping with staff’ versatile work requests.
There may be usually no proper below federal employment discrimination legal guidelines to cheap lodging primarily based on caregiver standing (absent a possible have to accommodate staff briefly disabled by being pregnant, childbirth, or associated medical situations). Nevertheless, as the EEOC highlighted, staff with caregiving duties could have rights below different legal guidelines, equivalent to depart for coated caregiving functions below the Household and Medical Go away Act or comparable state or native legal guidelines.
Whilst COVID-19 pandemic situations enhance, the problem of juggling work and caregiver duties stay an vital concern for workers. To deal with this, and to draw and retain prime expertise in a tough labor market, many employers want to present versatile preparations for workers, usually, or particularly to these with caregiver duties.
The EEOC’s steering makes clear that treating staff with caregiver duties extra favorably in phrases of versatile working situations doesn’t violate any equal employment alternative legal guidelines, so long as an employer is just not treating staff requesting flexibility for caregiving duties otherwise attributable to their intercourse or every other equal employment alternative (EEO)-protected attribute. As the EEOC factors out, treating caregivers otherwise violates federal equal employment discrimination legal guidelines if an employer bases office flexibility choices on a caregiver’s protected attribute (equivalent to intercourse, race, incapacity, and age) or a mixture of protected traits. Moreover, treating caregivers otherwise primarily based on their affiliation with a person with a incapacity or on a protected attribute of the particular person for whom care is offered could violate EEO legal guidelines.
Two different reminders are highlighted in the EEOC steering. By way of lodging primarily based on age, the EEOC reiterated that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act doesn’t entitle older staff to cheap lodging, but it surely doesn’t prohibit employers from treating older employees extra favorably than youthful employees due to the older employees’ age. Some state legal guidelines, nevertheless, could not permit preferential remedy for older employees.
Lastly, the EEOC cautioned that, whereas having a coverage or follow that situations availability of versatile work preparations on a caregiver’s efficiency is permissible, employers ought to guarantee efficiency requirements are utilized persistently with out regard to protected traits.