Caregiver status discrimination refers to discrimination against an individual based on their responsibilities as a caregiver, such as caring for a child or a disabled or elderly family member.
This can take many forms, including discrimination in the workplace, such as being passed over for promotions or being fired due to caregiving responsibilities, or discrimination in other areas of life, such as housing or education. It is often experienced by women and people of color, who are more likely to be primary caregivers.
What are ADA Caregiver Rights?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that forbids discrimination against people with disabilities in various areas of life, including employment, housing, and education. Caregivers of individuals with disabilities are protected under the ADA as well, specifically in the employment context.
Under the ADA, an employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, and this includes accommodations for caregivers. For example, an employer may be required to provide a flexible schedule or time off to an employee who is a caregiver so that they can attend medical appointments or provide care for their family member.
Additionally, an employer cannot discriminate against an employee because of their association with an individual with a disability, which includes the relationship as a caregiver. An employer also cannot discriminate against an employee because of their own disability if it does not affect their job performance.
Is Caregiver Discrimination Illegal?
The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal law that outlaws discrimination against people with disabilities in various areas of life, including employment, housing, and education. Caregivers of individuals with disabilities are protected under the ADA as well, specifically in the employment context.
Related: What to Do to Have a Strong Disabilities Case
What is the Caregiver Protection Act?
The Caregiver Protection Act is a proposed federal legislation that aims to protect caregivers from discrimination in the workplace.
This legislation would prohibit discrimination against an individual based on their caregiving responsibilities, such as caring for a child or a disabled or elderly family member. It would also prohibit discrimination based on an individual’s association with someone who has caregiving responsibilities.
The Caregiver Protection Act would extend protection to caregivers under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to provide more comprehensive and stronger protection for caregivers. This may include requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations for caregivers and to provide equal opportunities for promotions, training, and other employment benefits.
It’s important to note that the Caregiver Protection Act has not been passed yet, it’s still a proposed legislation, and its contents and the exact provisions it would include can change as the bill goes through the legislative process.
Does an Employer Have Defenses?
An employer may have defenses to a claim of caregiver discrimination if the employee is able to prove that the discrimination occurred. However, it’s important to note that the burden of proof is on the employer to show that the actions taken were based on legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons.
One common defense that an employer may raise is that the employee was not qualified for the position or was not performing their job adequately. The employer may argue that the employee’s caregiving responsibilities had nothing to do with their decision to terminate the employee or deny them a promotion.
However, if the employee can show that they were qualified for the position and were meeting their job requirements, this defense may not be successful.
Another defense that an employer may raise is that accommodating the employee would cause an undue hardship on the business. The employer would have to demonstrate that accommodating the employee would cause significant difficulty or expense to the business and that there are no other ways to accommodate the employee’s caregiving responsibilities.
An employer may also claim that they were not aware of the employee’s caregiving responsibilities and that the discrimination was not intentional. However, this lack of knowledge would not be a defense if it can be proved that they were aware or should have been aware of the employee’s caregiving responsibilities.
In any case, it’s important to note that the specific defenses will vary depending on the facts and circumstances of each individual case and the laws that apply to the specific situation.
Can I Sue My Employer to Get My Job Back?
It is possible to sue an employer to get your job back, but it will depend on the specific circumstances of your case and the laws that apply.
If you believe that you have been terminated or demoted due to discrimination, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer under federal or state anti-discrimination laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
See also: ADA Mental Health Discrimination Lawyers
What Remedies Does an Employee Have?
If an employee believes they have been the victim of discrimination in the workplace, there are several remedies available to them under federal and state workplace discrimination laws.
Some of the most common remedies include:
- Monetary Damages: An employee may be entitled to monetary damages, such as lost wages, benefits, and compensation for emotional distress.
- Reinstatement or Promotion: An employee may be entitled to be reinstated to their previous position or promoted to a position they were denied.
- Injunctive Relief: An employee may be entitled to an injunction ordering the employer to stop the discriminatory practices and to take affirmative action to prevent future discrimination.
- Attorneys’ Fees and Costs: An employee may be entitled to reimbursement for attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in pursuing a discrimination claim.
- Training and Education: An employee may be entitled to training and education for the employer’s staff on discrimination laws and policies.
It’s important to note that the specific remedies available will vary depending on the laws that apply to the specific situation and the facts of the case.
Additionally, some states may offer additional remedies or have different standards for proving discrimination. An employee should seek legal advice to understand the remedies available to them under the specific laws and circumstances.
How Can Employment Discrimination Lawyers Help?
Employment discrimination lawyers can help individuals who believe they have been the victim of discrimination in the workplace in several ways:
- Evaluating the case: An employment discrimination lawyer can review the facts of the case and determine if there is evidence of discrimination and what laws may apply.
- Filing a complaint: An employment discrimination lawyer can assist in filing a complaint with the appropriate federal or state agency, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a state fair employment practices agency.
- Representation in court: An employment discrimination lawyer can represent the employee in court if the case goes to trial.
- Negotiating a settlement: An employment discrimination lawyer can negotiate with the employer on behalf of the employee to reach a settlement that may include monetary damages, reinstatement, and/or changes in the employer’s policies and practices.
- Advising on the process: An employment discrimination lawyer can advise the employee on the legal process and the potential outcomes and help them understand their rights and the steps they need to take.
- Providing guidance on the state laws: Employment discrimination laws vary from state to state; an attorney can provide guidance on the specific state laws that apply to the case and how they may differ from federal laws.
Overall, an employment discrimination lawyer can provide legal representation and guidance throughout the process, which can increase the chances of a successful outcome for the employee.