Employment discrimination against caregivers
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued enforcement guidance on the unlawful disparate treatment of workers who have caregiving responsibilities. While the EEOC acknowledges that federal equal employment opportunity laws "do not prohibit discrimination against caregivers per se," it nevertheless indicates that in some circumstances discrimination against caregivers may constitute unlawful disparate treatment. The guidance emphasizes the fact that while the proportion of women working outside the home has significantly increased, "women continue to be most families’ primary caregivers." As a result, women with caregiving responsibilities often encounter a "maternal wall" through employer stereotyping, such as a belief that women with such responsibilities are less committed and competent than other workers. Male caregivers may likewise face discrimination, including being denied requests for leave for childcare where similar requests by female employees are granted. The enforcement guidance discusses, and illustrates with examples, the factors the EEOC will consider to determine whether an employee with caregiving responsibilities has been discriminated against unlawfully.
EEOC enforcement guidance