Employees providing caregiver duties to a spouse, child or parent may experience different treatment at work. As reported by the AARP, discrimination occurs when employers give preferential treatment to workers who do not provide caregiver duties.
Mistreatment, for example, may include promoting a single employee who does not have a spouse or children. Offhand comments about an individual taking time off to care for an ill parent could also reflect age discrimination.
Caregivers may face challenges and a lack of employer support
According to the AARP’s research on family caregivers, at least 60% of employees with personal care duties face work-related challenges. While studying employees over the age of 50, researchers found that 75% retired early because of a lack of support for their responsibilities outside of their job.
Flexible scheduling, for example, would have allowed caregivers to remain in their positions. Female caretakers dropped out of the workforce three times more often than males. Researchers also found that four out of ten caretakers came from multicultural backgrounds.
Retaliation may require legal action for relief
Employers who penalize caregivers, such as by reducing their hours or minimizing their schedules, may violate federal labor laws. As noted by U.S. News, under the Family and Medical Leave Act, workers may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off to provide care for their families.
The law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees exercising their FMLA rights. Employers must reinstate employees after a leave of absence. If an employee returns to work and experiences an adverse reaction, it may require taking legal action against an employer.
Subtle signs of age discrimination may arise when older employees have personal responsibilities. Workers have the right to take time off to provide care for their families. An employer’s retaliation for taking a leave of absence may result in a lawsuit offering financial relief.