Report Reveals in Increase Caregiver Discrimination Lawsuits

By Leeds Brown Law | March 8, 2017

Lawsuits on the Rise: Discriminating Against Employees Based on Family Responsibilities

According to a recent Time article, a 2016 report by Cynthia Thomas Calvert for the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, found that caregiver discrimination lawsuits have increased over 250% since 2005. Ms. Calvert is the senior advisor on family responsibilities discrimination. According to the report, workers achieved successful outcomes in two-thirds of the cases that went to trial. Two-thirds is far above the success rate of “other” employment discrimination cases. Additionally, employees received approximately half a billion dollars in settlements and verdicts between 2005and 2015, nearly double the amount they got during the previous decade.

The article states that “Many employers seem to know enough not to say openly “This is no job for a woman,” but some seem to feel perfectly comfortable saying “This is no job for a mother.” Employers are aware of what behavior constitutes gender discrimination but perhaps not enough about other types of discrimination that may be unlawful.

Discrimination based on caregiving may be unlawful under federal laws such as The Pregnancy Discrimination Act and could be included in the sex discrimination provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and/or the Americans with Disabilities Act.

New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) prohibits employment discrimination based on familial status which can protect parent caregivers of minor children.

New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) goes further and includes language that specifically prohibits employment discrimination based on an individual’s status as a caregiver. This provision includes employees caring for a minor child or an adult such as a parent or grandparent.

What Did The Report Find?

The main findings of the report highlight the startling increase of discrimination claims that involves family obligations and caregiving.

  • Employment discrimination cases involving elder care increased 650% over the last decade.
  • Pregnancy discrimination remains the most common type of caregiver discrimination.
  • There has been a significant increase in caregiving cases brought by male employees.
  • Cases involving employment discrimination because of breastfeeding rose by 800 %.

Why Does This Matter?

It matters because you, as an employee, should understand your rights and the legal options available to you when you think someone is discriminating against you. Being a family man or caregiving woman should not be factors in employment decisions, and more and more employees realize that they don’t have to be.

Whether the increase in family responsibility cases reported above is due to more discrimination itself or heightened awareness and education about the legal protection that exists (or some combination of the two) is hard to know for certain. According to the report, the upward trend will continue due to “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 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.”

Consider the following scenarios and ask yourself if they sound familiar.

  • You are a woman who does not get a job for which you are perfectly qualified because the manager assumes you will eventually get pregnant and not work hard
  • Your boss fires you, a male employee, for trying to exercise your rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Your boss refuses to promote you because you have “too many children at home.”
  • No one hires you because you are a single father
  • After you receive a job offer, you tell the hiring partner you are pregnant, and she says the offer was accepted by someone else.
  • People make assumptions about your willingness and ability to take on work and responsibility because you are a parent
  • You request a reasonable accommodation to pump breast milk and are sent to the broom closet
  • You request time off to tend to a disabled parent or sick child living with you, and your employer says no while accommodating other employees’ requests for time off for various reasons.

Contact Us

If you are an employee with family obligations, understand your legal rights. Contact Leeds Brown Law, P.C., employment attorneys handling cases in New York City, Long Island and the entire metropolitan area. We are a full-service employment discrimination law firm that has experience handling claims involving sex discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, familial status discrimination, caregiver discrimination, pumping milk at work and more.

Call us for a free consultation if you think you have experienced discrimination in the workplace. After we hear the facts of your case, we can help you get started on a claim to recover damages and any other relief to which you may be entitled. Contact Leeds Brown, New York employment discrimination lawyers now at 1-800-585-4658. Someone is here to take your call 24/7.



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