For example, mandatory overtime could have a disparate
impact on women because they are more likely to have caregiving responsibilities that limit the amount of time they can
work. Ditto for strict policies that limit fexible schedules.
Requiring employees to stand during their shift might
disproportionately afect women who are pregnant or re-covering from childbirth, as could limiting the number of
breaks workers can take.
Of course, not all those who are accused of disparate impact have done anything wrong. Facing a charge, you can
defend yourself by showing that the claim is bogus or proving
that the policy or practice that leads to the disparate impact
claim is required for the job or business.
TAKING CARE OF CAREGIVERS
A small but growing number of companies are recognizing
and responding to their workers’ needs by ofering new benefts for caregivers. It’s not so much fear of litigation that’s
behind these programs but an interest in boosting morale
Deloitte uses an expanded defnition of family to allow
workers to take up to 16 weeks’ paid leave to provide support
to parents, children and spouses, as well as to siblings and
domestic partners. Employees can use the time all at once
or in increments.
The company’s caregiver benefts are equally available to
men and women and geared to accommodate them at every
stage of life, says Jennifer Fisher, Deloitte’s national manager
of wellness. Workers can use the time before they exhaust
other paid leave, so they still have days in the bank if they
get sick themselves or want to take a vacation.
“We know that caregiving takes all diferent forms,” Fisher
says. “Our culture is to be inclusive and supportive of people
in time of need.”
Washington, D.C.-based mortgage giant Fannie Mae has
ofered numerous benefts for decades to new parents, in-
cluding fully paid maternity, paternity and adoption leave,
according to Michelle Stone, the company’s work/life bene-
fts manager. But as its workforce aged and employees began
voicing concerns about their parents’ health, Stone’s team
hired a full-time professional elder care consultant to pro-
vide guidance and support. The team also started ofering
partial reimbursement to workers who needed emergency
backup support for either children or adult dependents.
AARP and Minneapolis-based insurer Allianz Life also
began ofering paid leave to caregivers in 2016. “When life
happens, we ask what can we do,” says Jenny Guldseth, vice
president for performance, compensation and benefts at
Allianz. “We want to know how can we support our people.”
Ava Sloane’s mother passed away two years ago. She says
she’s so grateful for the time Deloitte gave her to be with her
mom toward the end of her life. What better support could
any organization provide?
Rita Zeidner is a freelance writer in Falls Church, Va.
Claims of elder care discrimination make up more than
one of every 10 cases Calvert studied. They are likely to be
one of the fastest-growing types of family responsibilities
discrimination cases as the U.S. population ages, according
to the Center for WorkLife Law.
Allegations by male caregivers are also on the rise. In a
high-profle lawsuit fled last year, the EEOC accused cosmetics manufacturer Estée Lauder of illegally discriminating against male employees by ofering new fathers only
two weeks’ paid leave for child bonding while ofering new
mothers six weeks. The parties settled the dispute earlier
this year without disclosing the terms.
TWO COMMON LEGAL THEORIES
There are two common types of caregiver discrimination
claims: disparate treatment and disparate impact.
Disparate treatment. These cases stem from employers
having a policy or practice under which employees are not
treated the same because of a legally protected trait, such
as gender or pregnancy. In many instances, the diferential
treatment is based on stereotypical assumptions about what
the worker can or cannot do.
For example, if you avoid hiring women with young children because they tend to need time of for their kids, but
don’t have the same concern about male employees, you
may be violating Title VII, which prohibits employers from
making gender-based assumptions.
Similarly, a supervisor who denies a pregnant em-
ployee a promotion could be running afoul of Title
VII’s bar on basing an adverse employment decision
on stereotypical assumptions about pregnancy.
Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter whether a
manager is acting with a hostile intention or a
genuine belief that he or she has the employ-
ee’s best interests in mind. While women are
entitled to specifc leave for pregnancy and
childbirth that men are not, a manager
who grants a mother time of to care for
an infant but denies a father’s similar
request is likely breaking the law.
Disparate impact. Given the legal risks of an adverse treatment
claim, it might seem safest to
treat all workers exactly the
same. But this can also land
you in hot water. Policies and
practices that don’t intentionally single out members of a protected class
but nonetheless affect
those individuals more
than other groups are
the basis of so-called
CARE HOME HEALTH
CARE MEDICATION MANAGEMENT