EEOC Releases Information about Employment Discrimination Against Caregivers

03/17/2022 8:17 AM | Alex Clark

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today released a technical assistance document, “The COVID-19 Pandemic and Caregiver Discrimination Under Federal Employment Discrimination Law,” and an update to its COVID-19 “What You Should Know” explaining discrimination against employees and job seekers with family caregiving responsibilities.

The technical assistance provides pandemic-related examples of discrimination against caregivers. For example, it would be illegal if an employer refused to hire an applicant who is the primary caregiver of an individual with a disability who is at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 out of fear that the employer’s healthcare costs would increase. It also would be unlawful for an employer to refuse to promote a woman based on assumptions that, because she was female, she would focus primarily on caring for her children while they quarantined or attended school remotely.  

Additionally, the technical assistance document addresses situations in which caregivers may encounter illegal harassment, retaliation, or discrimination based on pregnancy, gender, association with someone who has a disability, or other bases protected by EEOC-enforced laws. 

In addition to this new technical assistance document and related “What You Should Know” updates, the EEOC also released a short video explaining caregiver discrimination in English and Spanish. More information about caregiver discrimination is available in the EEOC’s caregiver discrimination policy guidance, associated fact sheet, and employer best practices document.

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