New York Caregiver Discrimination Attorneys
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When you are responsible for taking care of a child or disabled loved one, you already have a lot on your plate. Many caregivers still need to work in order to manage expenses, but they often face resistance from employers wary of their dual responsibilities.
In 2016, the New York City Commission on Human Rights instituted new rules protecting caregivers’ rights in the workplace. It is unlawful for most New York City employers to treat employees differently as a result of their caregiver status.
If you believe that you have suffered adverse action due to your caregiver status, our New York caregiver discrimination lawyers at Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP can help. We have extensive knowledge of human rights and employment law and are empathetic to the unique challenges working caregivers experience. Our team can give you the support that you need in protecting and enforcing your workplace rights.
Who Is a Caregiver in New York?
Anyone who provides “direct and ongoing” care to a qualifying loved one may be considered a caregiver under New York City law. The New York City Commission on Human Rights defines two categories of caregivers that have the same protections from workplace discrimination.
You may be considered a caregiver in New York City if:
- You are the parent of a minor child (including foster or adopted children) and provide direct and ongoing care for that child
- You provide direct and ongoing care to a chronically ill or disabled spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, or grandchild
Who Is Protected by New York City’s Caregiver Discrimination Law?
If you work for an employer operating in New York City with at least 4 total employees, you are protected as a caregiver under the law. Full-time employees, part-time employees, and interns both paid and unpaid all qualify for protection. Many independent contractors also qualify.
How To Recognize Caregiver Discrimination
Under the law, employers are not allowed to treat a caregiver differently than they would a non-caregiver. This applies to both current employees and potential job candidates throughout the hiring process.
Under caregiver anti-discrimination rules, New York City employers are not permitted to:
- Refuse to hire or reasonably consider the candidacy of a potential employee based on their caregiver status
- Advertise a job that openly states a refusal to consider caregivers
- Refuse to promote an employee based on their caregiver status
- Terminate an employee due to their caregiver status
- Demote or reduce the hours of an employee due to their caregiver status
- Reduce benefits of an employee due to their caregiver status
- Offer flexible accommodations or benefits to some employees but not caregivers
It should be noted that, in most circumstances, employers are not necessarily required to provide accommodations, such as working from home or flexible hours, for caregiver responsibilities. However, they must extend the same benefits to all employees. If an employer is willing to give flexible scheduling to one option, for example, they must also provide that same benefit to you if requested.
It can sometimes be difficult to ascertain whether an adverse action is the direct result of someone’s caregiver status. Caregiver employees should be vigilant in looking for signs of potential caregiver discrimination.
Caregiver discrimination warning signs include:
- Questions about your children and your role in raising them
- Questions about your ill or disabled spouse and how you balance your caregiving responsibilities
- Unsubstantiated comments about your seeming “tired” or “unfocused” due to your caregiving responsibilities
- Questions about whether you intend to marry or remarry if you are a single parent
- Questions about whether you intend to hire a full-time nurse or caregiver
- Unsubstantiated comments or expressions of concern about your reliability
Our New York caregiver discrimination attorneys at Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP can help you enforce your rights if you believe you are in danger of adverse action. If you have been fired, demoted, or seen your hours reduced as a result of your caregiver responsibilities, we can explore legal action that can work to reinstate you and recover damages. We can also assist in cases where you believe you were passed over for a promotion or job as a result of your caregiver status.
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