Ending family-responsibility discrimination

Families in general, and primary caretakers in particular, are constantly searching for the best way to “have it all.” The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) makes a valid attempt to protect the rights of those families looking for the ideal work-life balance.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives eligible employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave to devote time to a newborn or ailing family member. In New York, new parents are entitled to up to six weeks of paid time off (12 weeks if the time off is combined with existing leave). When companies refuse to comply with this law, it can cost them a lot more than six weeks of salary.

In 2014, a California jury awarded a woman $186 million in damages after finding that her former employer (amongst other discriminatory behaviors) demoted her after learning she was pregnant. And that’s just one case. CBS News reported that the number of lawsuits citing “family-responsibility discrimination” has more than tripled between 2006 and 2015. Furthermore, they reported that employees won over 65% of these cases and were collectively awarded over $500 million in damages. And that’s the just the cases that made it to public trial; the number does not include confidential settlement agreements.

Parents have a right to both work and be able to attend their children’s baseball games and ballet recitals. Adult children need to be able to help care for ailing parents. Laws exist that help protect families looking to exercise their rights. When those rights are violated, it is important for employees to know that they have a voice. An employment and labor law attorney can help give employees that voice.

Source: cbsnews.com, Homefront pressures have workplace lawsuits soaring, Anna Robaton, May 23, 2016

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