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Family care-giving and potential discrimination by employers

One of the big roles a person can have in relation to their family is the role of caregiver. Examples of important care-giving-connected activities a person can end up engaging in in relation to their family include activities related to:

  • Caring for an elderly loved one.
  • Care of one’s children.
  • Giving special care for a family member with special needs.
  • Pregnancy and giving care to one’s child following pregnancy.

In recent times, taking on major family care-giving activities has become increasingly common among American workers.

These activities can have the potential to raise a variety of different issues for a person, including issues related to their employment.

Family can be among the most important things in a person’s life. So, it can put a worker in all sorts of hardship when their employer forces them to pick between ensuring their family members are getting needed care and their livelihood. So, one would hope that, when a worker has family care-giving responsibilities, their employer would act fairly towards them when employment-related issues come up in connection to these responsibilities and would avoid unjustly discriminating against the worker due to their family responsibilities.

Unfortunately, workers sometimes end up facing problems with their employer in relation to family care-giving responsibilities. According to one recent analysis, between 2006 and 2015, there was an over tripling of the number of employee-brought lawsuits alleging pregnancy-related or family-care-related discrimination.

What legal protections does federal law provide workers who have family care-giving responsibilities? Federal law does not have an overarching law prohibiting family-responsibility-related workplace discrimination generally. However, this does not mean a worker who has been subjected to negative conduct or actions by their employer in relation to family responsibilities automatically has no recourse under federal law. There are various federal laws that can provide workers with employment-related protections when it comes to certain specific things that can come up in connection to family care-giving. Among these laws are:

  • The Affordable Care Act of 2010.
  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (which prohibits workplace pregnancy discrimination).
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Experienced employment lawyers can help Texas workers who have experienced problems with their employer in relation to family responsibilities with looking into whether they have legal options under federal law or other laws.

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Warren & Siurek, L.L.P.
3334 Richmond Avenue, Suite 100
Houston, TX 77098

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