Family status discrimination refers to the unequal treatment of persons based on their status as a parent, or on the number of children they have. Family status discrimination cases revolve mostly around housing issues.
For instance, a landlord cannot discriminate against a person who is applying for housing just because they have a certain number of children, or because they have a large housing. Family status can be thought of as the combining of marital status with the number of children the person has.
Does Family Status Discrimination Apply to Employment Matters?
Federal laws provide protection against family status discrimination in a housing context. However, there are no federal laws that provide similar protection in an employment setting. While federal laws do provide anti-discrimination protection when it comes to pregnancy, there is no clear federal statute for family status discrimination in an employment context.
However, there are various circumstances in which a person can receive protections based on family status in an employment context. For instance, family status may be subject to anti-discrimination protections due to:
- State laws: Some states, such as Minnesota, provide specific protections for employees who have been discriminated against due to their status as a parent.
- Case laws: Some courts may accept similar previous cases as precedent for a legal claim involving family status.
- Federal employment: Federal statutes DO provide family status discrimination protection for person employed by the federal government.
Lastly, there may be some protections available through Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) processes wherein familial status or parental status is linked with sex or disability discrimination.
What If I’ve Experienced Discrimination Due to My Family Status?
If you have received unequal treatment due to your status as a parent, or due to the number of children you have, you may still be entitled to legal relief. This is especially true if the discrimination also involves some aspect of sex, disability, or religious discrimination as well. As mentioned, there may be state and local laws that apply to your case. As you can tell, this area of law is complex and will generally require the assistance of a lawyer in order to determine an individual’s rights.
Also, depending on your employer, you may be entitled to relief through internal HR processes. Some investigations may result in damages awards for lost wages and other benefits, or a reinstatement to a work position after termination. These types of remedies will depend on each individual case, as well as state law.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Family Status Discrimination Claims?
Family status discrimination is a complex issue since it is not specifically covered in by federal civil rights laws. However, there a person may still be able to file a claim based on various other protections available for this issue.
You may need to hire an employment lawyer near you if you need any type of legal assistance with regards to familial status discrimination. Your lawyer can research state laws to determine what type of recourse may be available to you. Also, if you need to file a lawsuit or attend court hearings, your attorney will be able to represent you as during those processes.