Think you are doing your pregnant employee a favor by taking her off a big account to give her some time “for herself”? Think again! You may just be opening yourself up for a lawsuit.
Most employers have never heard of Family Responsibilities Discrimination (“FRD”). FRD is an umbrella term for workplace discrimination based on stereotypes about how employees with family caregiving responsibilities will or should act. For example, an employer may assume that a new mother will not be as committed to her career or as reliable as she was before she had a baby. Or an employer might believe that a mother “should” be home with her children and may refuse to give her assignments that require travel or late hours. The discrimination arises because the employer’s actions are based on stereotypical beliefs, rather than on the individual employee’s performance or own desires. And family caregiving is not just limited to childcare. In fact, an increasing proportion of caregiving is devoted to the elderly and disabled. As with childcare, women are disproportionately responsible for caring for their relatives, including parents, spouses, and other relatives.