Earlier this month, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a new “technical assistance document” regarding employment discrimination and harassment that targets people with caregiver responsibilities. This new publication represents the federal government’s recognition of how employers can possibly violate federal laws when dealing with these workers. Here in New York, the state and the city have strong protections safeguarding caregivers in the workforce. If you think you’ve endured discrimination or harassment because of your caregiver responsibilities, then it’s worth your while to contact a knowledgeable New York employment discrimination lawyer and find out what you can do.
The new document from the EEOC also recognizes that the numerous unique challenges workers with caregiver responsibilities face has only increased in this age of COVID-19.
An employee can be the victim of illegal discrimination in many ways when it comes to caregiver status and COVID-19. One hypothetical example the EEOC used was an employer that made remote work and modified schedules an option for its female employees but not its male employees during periods when schools were closed to in-person learning. This assumption about who bore the majority of caregiver responsibilities for school-aged children was not only sexist, it also represented a potential Title VII violation by treating women employees better than men employees.