Phillips & Associates

Family Responsibility Discrimination During the Interview or Hiring Process

New York City Lawyers Advocating for the Rights of Workers

We all know that we need to earn money to support ourselves and pay the bills, but sometimes this obligation can conflict with the responsibilities that we have to our families. Whether it is an ailing parent or a sick child, sometimes we have to put our duty to our family over our job. Although many employers understand this reality, there are some that do not consider family as coming first. They may discriminate against women, assuming they may have family obligations that pull them away from the workplace on occasion. At Phillips & Associates, our employment discrimination attorneys can represent New York City job applicants who have been passed over for a position because of the employer’s discrimination against the applicant’s family responsibilities.

Holding a Company Accountable for Family Responsibility Discrimination

In general, it is unlawful for an employer to treat a female job applicant differently based on an assumption that she is the primary caretaker of her family and that this responsibility may prevent her from giving full attention to her job responsibilities and duties. Although the stereotype tends to affect women more than men, the law also provides protection to men who are being discriminated against based on a belief that family responsibilities will conflict with their job duties. Whether it involves a man or a woman, this type of discrimination has also been referred to as caregiver discrimination.

Employers who discriminate against applicants based on family responsibilities typically due so for fear that the employee may request time off or take an extended leave under the FMLA, or that the worker will be too distracted to perform his or her job duties. Questions during an interview or on a job application may ask about your family dynamics, family health history, whether you have children, or any other factors that would provide more information about the responsibilities you have to your family.

Although federal law does not provide any legal recourse for job applicants who find themselves victimized by family responsibility discrimination, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides legal protections for individuals who are in a relationship with a disabled person. Also, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides a certain period of unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks per year for a worker who needs to take care of an injured or sick family member. Additionally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidance on family responsibility discrimination urges employers to create policies combating this trend and take proactive steps to ensure that it does not happen during the hiring process or in the workplace.

Fight Back Against Family Responsibility Discrimination

Under New York State and local laws, certain areas have provided laws that offer protection to family caregivers, including Westchester County and the cities of Passaic and Newark in New Jersey. Although the State of New York and New York City have considered enacting similar protections, none have been enacted yet.

Enlist a New York City Attorney to Fight Employment Discrimination

Job applicants who have been mistreated because of stereotypes surrounding family responsibilities, or information the employer obtained regarding their family dynamics, may be entitled to compensation. The New York City lawyers at Phillips & Associates are skilled in discrimination and wrongful termination claims. We can fight for the rights of workers throughout the five boroughs of the city, including the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens as well as in Westchester County and Long Island. Call us at (212) 248-7431 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.

45 Broadway, #620,
New York NY, 10006
Tel: 212-248-7431
Fax: 212-901-2107
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I was a client with this law firm. I can't stress enough how awesome and professional the people are here. Silvia & Erica made me feel so comfortable and welcome. I never had to guess anything. Anytime I call, emailed, or even texted. They were always there. If not they would get back to me as soon as possible. My case was not an easy situation for me but I tell you these guys made it seem like it was. I'm so glad that I use Phillip & Phillip. I thank you guys from the bottom of my heart. I am so grateful to have met such awesome, honest, and caring people. Thank you again. Djuana
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