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Sacramento Employment Law Blog

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Caregiver discrimination may be on the rise


The workforce in America has changed drastically over the past few decades. There are more older men and women in the workforce, and there are younger women who work through a pregnancy and then return to their job after a brief leave. However, these different types of employees continue to face discrimination at their jobs when it comes to requesting and ensuring benefits under the Family Medical Leave Act.

One of the main issues that employees are facing today is an employer’s compliance with the FMLA. Many of these workers are being denied FMLA benefits, or unfairly fired, after requesting or taking leave to care for an aging adult or parent. A recent study by the AARP Public Policy Institute and the Center for WorkLife Law suggestions that discrimination against those taking leave to care for older adults is rampant, and it may only get worse.

Under the terms of the FMLA, certain employees are eligible for benefits and employment protection for 12 weeks if they need to care for a spouse, child or parent. Those who give birth to a child or adopt are also included.

However, according to the recent study, those requesting leave to take care of aging adults are being discriminated against. Employers view them as less favorable and dedicated employees, which is unfair. Employees are denied leave or are fired after requesting leave. While these workers have a number of options for filing claims under various federal and state laws, there are too many gaps in coverage that can make this process difficult.

Some advocates are pushing for expanded coverage under the FMLA to include more workers and push for increased oversight of caregiver discrimination.

Workers who have a sick parent or are adding a new child to the family should be able to focus on taking care of their loved ones. They should not have to worry that they will be fired or discriminated against in the workplace. While the FMLA provides protection for eligible employees, it is up to an employer to correctly interpret the terms without bias or discrimination, and notify employees of their rights. When this fails to happen, a worker can be illegally fired, replaced or denied medical leave.

Source:¬†Forbes, “Sex Discrimination, Age Discrimination, Family Responsibilities Discrimination?” Ashlea Ebeling, Sept. 10, 2012

  • Understanding your rights under the terms of the FMLA is important. Those who have encountered discrimination or have been denied leave in California may want to learn more about their legal options by visiting ourSacramento FMLA¬†page.
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