The Feds’ new focus: Making sure that employers don’t stifle the careers of employees who have responsibilities for the care of children and other family members. With that in mind, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued two employer guides.
The guides — Employer Best Practices for Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities and Unlawful Disparate Treatment of Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities – can help employers and their supervisors avoid problems.
Among the information in the guides are the definitions of “caregiver” and “family” that will at very least help employers understand which employees fall into what has become a new protected category of workers.
Also, the guides warn against a host of prohibited behaviors, including assuming:
- female workers’ caretaking responsibilities will interfere with their ability to succeed in a fast-paced environment
- female workers who work part-time or take advantage of flexible work arrangements are less committed to their jobs than full-time employees
- male workers do not, or should not, have significant caregiving responsibilities
- female workers prefer, or should prefer, to spend time with their families rather than time at work
- female workers who are caregivers are less capable than other workers, and
- pregnant workers are less reliable than other workers.