WorkLife Law Blog

WorkLife Law aims to end Family Responsibilities Discrimination, which is employment discrimination against workers who have family caregiving obligations. It includes discrimination against parents of young children, pregnant women, and workers who have aging or sick parents, spouses, or partners.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


EEOC Issues Best Practices for Employers to Prevent FRD

The EEOC today issued a document suggesting ways for employers to avoid FRD claims (Employer Best Practices for Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities, Apr. 22, 2009).

The document was issued at a Commission meeting that featured statements by Dianna Johnston, EEOC OLC Assistant Legal Counsel, Dr. Heather Boushey, Senior Economist, Center for American Progress, Karen Minatelli, Director of Work and Family Programs, National Partnership for Women and Families, Jeffrey Norris, President, Equal Employment Advisory Council, and Cynthia Calvert, Deputy Director, WorkLife Law. The panelists, whose statements are available online, praised the best practices document and noted that the need for the best practices guidance was particularly strong in light of the current recession.

The best practices document supplements the EEOC's 2007 Caregiver Discrimination Guidance and provides suggestions for actions employers can take to reduce discrimination against employees who have family caregiving responsibilities. The suggested best practices include:
  • Training managers about laws that protect caregivers;
  • Developing and enforcing a policy that states the employer will not discriminate against employees based on their caregiving obligations;
  • Ensuring managers copmly with the company's work/life policies;
  • Responding effectively to complaints of caregiver discrimination;
  • Protecting employees who complain of discrimination from retaliation;
  • Reviewing existing personnel policies to ensure they do not disadvantage caregivers;
  • Making overtime as family-friendly as possible;
  • Reassigning job duties that employees are unable to perform because of pregnancy or other caregiving responsibilities;
  • Providing reasonable personal or sick leave to allow caregiving;
  • Developing the potential of all employees, including caregivers; and
  • Providing support and resources to assist employees with caregiving.
The new document includes the actions WorkLife Law has suggested that employers take to prevent FRD claims. To assist employers, WorkLife Law has created a model policy that states that the employer will not discriminate against family caregivers, and has customizable trainings for managers, supervisors, HR professionals, and legal counsel. In addition, WorkLife Law provides periodic employer alerts on topics related to family responsibilities discrimination, and is available to answer employer questions.

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