Workplace Discrimination, the ADA and Caregivers of the Disabled

When it comes to discrimination, most human resources professonals know about discriminating against people based on certain characteristics they have, such as race, religion, age, gender, national origin, or disability.

But there is one type of discrimination that often falls under the radar because the characteristic that is protected is unseen – a person who is caring for someone with a disability. This type of person is protected from discrimination under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and also state and local laws. So it is something for human resource people to watch out for.

So, the person suffering from discrimination does not have to be disabled himself, only caring for someone who has a disability. And the disabled person being cared for does not have to be a relative.

For example, if there is an employee who needs to be involved in therapy sessions for a child with autism, and this employee, who is on a flex-time schedule,  is turned down, without reason, when he requests returning to a part-time status to care for the child, this is considered discrimination.

Another example that could be considered discrimination is when an employee, who has been going home during lunchtime to care for a disabled husband, is subject to a new policy where employees are barred from leaving work for lunch.

Another example of discrimination: a teacher gives birth to a child who is disabled and is given a new position with less authority and responsibility.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the provision dealing with people associated with the disabled is intended to prevent employers from discriminating against people because of stereotypes and assumptions about people who care for those with disabilities.

However, according to the ADA, employers do not have to make special accommodations for a person who does not have a disability, even if the person is caring for someone with a disability.

However, the law does require that employees who care for the disabled are treated just like any other employees, and are not subjected to any harassment or other intimidation to force them to quit.

When you need employees – either temporary or regular –  for your Portland, Anchorage, Seattle, Lake Oswego, Tacoma, or Chicago company, contact a recruiter at the Opti Staffing Group. We look forward to hearing from you.

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