What is FRD or Caregiver Discrimination?
Families Responsibilities Discrimination (FRD), also called “caregiver discrimination,” refers to discrimination against:
- Pregnant women
- Breastfeeding women
- Parents of young children
- Employees caring for aging parents
- Employees caring for ill spouses or sick children or other dependents
That employers have been subject to discrimination claims and lawsuits is nothing new. However, FRD or caregiver discrimination is a relatively new protected class compared with other protected classes. Therefore, NY employers should be aware of what it entails.
New York City Human Rights Law and Family Responsibilities Discrimination (FRD)
Effective as of May 4, 2016, it became a violation in New York City to treat employees or job applicants with caregiving responsibilities differently than other employees. The New York City Commission on Human Rights protects caregivers. If your company has four or more employers, you must comply with the New York City Human Rights Law.
Specifically, employers cannot discriminate against employees or job applicants who:
- Are parents with a child under 18 (includes adopted or foster care children) when they provide direct and ongoing care for the child
- Provide direct and ongoing care to a parent, sibling, spouse, child, grandparent or grandchild with a disability or care to a disabled person who lives with them and relies on them for medical care and daily living needs.
Examples of FRD Discrimination
You could be sued for caregiver discrimination, if you as an employer decide not to hire an applicant or promote an employee for any of the following reasons. If the person:
- Is a single parent
- Has children at home
- Has a sick spouse
- Has adopted children or children in foster care
Furthermore, making statements like the following could be used against you in a discrimination claim:
- Caregivers of children or relatives with disabilities are unreliable employees
- Mothers should stay home with their children
Whenever employers provide benefits to employees, such as flexible scheduling, they must also provide them to employees who are caregivers. However, they do not have to offer special accommodations to employees who have caregiving responsibilities.