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Caregiver Resources

Monday, June 16, 2008
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Don't Make Assumptions:

"As the EEOC Guidance makes clear, well-intentioned employers can run afoul of Title VII by making assumptions about what working parents want or need, or by attempting to remedy historical discrimination against working women with flexibility and leave not offered to male employees. 

"On the other hand, employers cannot ask prospective employees or promotion candidates questions about caregiver responsibilities.  At least with physical limitations, employers may require post-offer pre-employment evaluations. 

"How, then, to know if someone's personal caregiver circumstances may potentially interfere with performance? 

"The short answer is, you probably can't.  There are many reasons people do not meet expectations or requirements.  Employers need simply to judge performance and train employment decision makers in their organizations on how to make good decisions without letting stereotypes about caregivers -- male and female -- influence their decisions."

-- From Caregiver Discrimination -- New EEOC Guidance Requires Vigilance, Training by Employers by Katy Rand at the law firm of Pierce Atwood.

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Lessons Learned:

"In terms of lessons to be learned, there are many. For management attorneys, beware of managers with loose lips. Because most managers do not realize that stereotyping of mothers can constitute gender discrimination, they make comments that become the key piece of evidence in the plaintiff's case.

"Second, review all relevant employment policies and actions for possible FRD liability. FRD claims arise in a variety of situations and trigger a number of causes of action under a range of federal and state employment statutes.

"The answer -- an FRD prevention program similar to the antiharassment programs implemented by most employers in response to the Supreme Court's decisions in Faragher and Ellerth."

-- From Family Responsibilities Discrimination: Don't Get Caught Off Guard by Joan C. Williams and Consuela A. Pinto, The Labor Lawyer, a publication of the American Bar Association.

Other Resources:

The Center for WorkLife Law from Hastings College of Law at the University of California: A nonprofit research and advocacy organization. WorkLife Law works with employees, employers, attorneys, legislators, journalists and researchers to identify and prevent Family Responsibilities Discrimination.

Institute for Women's Policy Research: A public-policy research organization dedicated to informing and stimulating the debate on public policy issues of critical importance to women and their families. IWPR focuses on issues of poverty and welfare, employment and earnings, work and family issues, health and safety, and women's civic and political participation.

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National Conference of State Legislatures: A bipartisan organization that serves state legislators by providing research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues. As one of its programs, the NCSL lists names, descriptions and contact information for each state legislative women's issues caucus across the country

National Partnership for Women & Families: A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that uses public education and advocacy to promote fairness in the workplace, quality healthcare and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family.

Sloan Work & Family Research Network at Boston College: A nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization whose studies of the changing workforce, the changing workplace, the changing family and the changing community result in action. An interview Sloan conducted with Joan Williams of Hastings College of Law is here.

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