Need to Care for a Sick Relative? What You Need to Know About Your Rights
on the Job
The Americans with Disabilities Act has some coverage for caretakers
You may care deeply about your job but for most people, family comes first.
When a loved one becomes ill or is diagnosed with a serious medical condition,
making sure that person is properly cared for becomes the highest priority.
Unfortunately, some employers may attempt to make life difficult for people
who have responsibilities to care for loved ones. However, it’s
important to know that the law offers protection for many people in this scenario.
Let’s take a look a closer look at the how the Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA) association provision protects people who may have caretaking
What the law says
According to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency
charged with enforcing federal discrimination laws, the
association provision of the ADA prohibits employment discrimination against a person – whether or
not he or she has a disability – because of his or her known relationship
or association with a person with a known disability.
With the expansion of the ADA several years ago, many illnesses may now
be considered to be disabilities. However, coverage under the ADA is considered
on a case-by-case basis, so there is no set list of covered or non-covered
In terms of employees with caretaking responsibilities, the association
provision bars employers from making adverse employment decisions based
on someone’s relationship with a disabled individual. The disabled
person does not have to be a family member in order to trigger protection.
One interesting aspect of the law is that it can be triggered based on
the employer’s assumptions, even if those assumptions are unfounded.
For example, an employer may assume that an employee won’t be able
to give her full attention to her job after her child is diagnosed with
autism, so the woman is demoted.
Discrimination may take many forms
Discrimination may include:
- failing to hire someone because of assumed responsibilities to care for
a disabled person
- denying promotions or opportunities for advancement
- taking adverse actions, such as changing the worker’s schedule or
work location to one that is less desirable, unfairly increasing the person’s
workload, or subjecting the person to additional scrutiny
- demoting, terminating or otherwise reprimanding someone because of his
or her caretaking duties
- denying healthcare coverage to the employee or the employee’s dependents
- denying other benefits that the employee would otherwise be eligible for
- subjecting the employee to harassment because of his or her association
with a disabled person
Contact us for a consultation now
If you believe that you’ve been unlawfully discriminated against
because of your caretaking responsibilities, it’s a good idea to
speak to an attorney who has experience handling ADA issues.
Call or email us today to discuss your unique situation.