“How’s the Family?”: Family-Responsibilities Discrimination In Job Interviews

3d_family_3We hope that most interviewers know it is inappropriate to ask in an interview: “How old are you” (you can ask if the person is 18 years of age or older) or “Do you celebrate Ramadan?”  There is another danger zone in interviewing, which is often unrecognized by employers but which can get them into just as much trouble: questions pertaining to an applicant’s family or family responsibilities. Continue reading

Marital Status Discrimination: First Comes Love . . . Then Comes Marriage . . . Then Comes Preferential Treatment at Work?

Delaware has long since included “marital status” in its list of categories (along with race, sex, gender, religion, and sex) protected by the state’s anti-discrimination statute. But what is marital status discrimination? Does it really occur, and has an employee ever filed a claim based on alleged marital status discrimination? A new Policy Briefing from the Sloan Work and Family Research Network (pdf) gives some insight into this area of discrimination rarely discussed. Continue reading

Caregiver Discrimination: The “Sandwiched Generation”

Big_kidEEOC issued Employer Best Practices for Workers With Caregiving Responsibilities, a technical-assistance guide, last week.  Caregiver or Family-Responsibilities Discrimination, according to the EEOC, occurs when an employer makes an adverse employment decision based on the employee’s care-giving responsibilities.  Because this type of discrimination is a derivative of gender discrimination, the basic premises begins with parents of young children.  But it extends in the opposite direction, as well, to employers whose own parents are the ones in need of caregiving.  This second category is the less commonly recognized of the two forms of discrimination.  But there is a third type, as well.  A  dual-income household where both caregivers are working and care not only for children, but also for aging parents, is known as a “sandwiched” home.  The sandwiched generation are those who are at a very fragile point, having responsibility for multiple generations. Continue reading

EEOC Issues “Employer Best Practices for Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities”

eeoc_3Employers, the EEOC issued a new technical assistance document yesterday, titled Employer Best Practices for Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities. This document supplements the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Enforcement Guidance: Unlawful Disparate Treatment of Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities, issued in May 2007. Continue reading

The Maternal Profiling Debate Continues

Employment discrimination against pregnant women and moms is on the rise.  Or so says the author of an article in this month’s Delaware Today magazine.

The number of single mothers has increased dramatically over the last three decades, rising from 3m in 1970 to 10m in 2003.  And, according to a Cornell study cited in the article, a woman with children is 44% less likely to be hired than a non-mother with the same resume, experience, and qualifications.  Mothers who were hired were offered, on average, $11,000 less than non-mothers. Continue reading

Employee Time Off at the Holidays: Does it pay to be married?

Does your workplace have an unwritten policy benefiting married employees?  John Phillips, at The Word on Employment Law, asks this question and posits some very interesting answers.  In his post, Holiday Pitfalls: Time Off from Work and Marital Status Laws, John points out the common problem of competing requests for time off during the holiday season.  Let’s face it, everyone wants off over Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.  And, just because someone doesn’t celebrate a particular holiday, it doesn’t mean that they want to sit in the office all day by themselves, as the lone soldier manning the fort.  So who foots the bill when it comes to getting stuck with the holiday shift nobody wants? Continue reading

October is National Work and Family Month

work_life_balance_sign_thumbOctober is National Work and Family month. The Alliance for Work-Life Progress (AWLP) , sponsored the work-life-balance initiative, which was passed by Congress in 2003. National Work and Family month recognizes the importance of employer-sponsored work-life programs in attracting, motivating and retaining top talent.

Though employers may scoff at such perceived “perks” in the current economic environment, organizations that incorporate work-life programs report that such programs help to create more effective workplaces. Flexible work arrangements provide enhanced employee performance and show that employers care about the well-being of their workforce. Continue reading

Family Responsibility Discrimination Update

Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act (H.R. 5781) Passes the House

The FMLA mandates that employers of a certain size give parents 12 weeks’ leave, and allow them to return to the same or substantially similar position. But with the exception of a few states who have enacted states requiring that some amount of this leave be paid, employers have no obligation to pay for any parental leave. Continue reading

New Employer & Workplace Study on Flexible Schedules

flextimeFamily Responsibility discrimination (FRD) and gender discrimination are the targets of many advocacy groups who work to promote family-friendly workplaces.  WorkLife Law, 9to5, and Families and Work Institute are just some of them. Families & Work Institute released a study on May 21, the 2008 National Study of Employers, which followed ten-year trends in U.S. workplace policies and benefits. The results were mixed. Continue reading

Mommy Bias – Truth or Fiction?

sketch-of-woman-balancing-baby-and-briefcase-thumbThe so-called “anti-Mommy bias” has garnered a lot of attention recently. A type of workplace discrimination, “anti-Mommy bias” is also known as maternal profiling, or family responsibility discrimination. (See this recent article in the Cincinnati Enquirer and my earlier post on Family Responsibility Discrimination). Continue reading