The Feds’ new focus: Making sure that employers don’t stifle the careers of employees who have responsibilities for the care of children and other family members.
With that in mind, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued two guides — Employer Best Practices for Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities and Unlawful Disparate Treatment of Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities – that can help employers and their supervisors avoid problems.
Among the information in the guides are the definitions of “caregiver” and “family” that will at very least help employers understand which employees fall into what has become a new protected category of workers.
Also, the guides warn against a host of prohibited behaviors, including:
- assuming that female workers’ caretaking responsibilities will interfere with their ability to succeed in a fast-paced environment
- assuming that female workers who work part-time or take advantage of flexible work arrangements are less committed to their jobs than full-time employees
- assuming that male workers do not, or should not, have significant caregiving responsibilities
- assuming that female workers prefer, or should prefer, to spend time with their families rather than time at work
- assuming that female workers who are caregivers are less capable than other workers
- assuming that pregnant workers are less reliable than other workers
- asking female applicants and employees, but not male applicants and employees, about their childcare responsibilities
- making stereotypical comments about pregnant workers or female caregivers
- treating female workers without caregiving responsibilities more favorably than female caregivers, and
- denying male workers’, but not female workers’, requests for leave related to caregiving responsibilities.