On March 14, 2022, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released several pieces of guidance aimed at addressing discrimination against caregivers, including:

  • A technical assistance document entitled “The COVID-19 Pandemic and Caregiver Discrimination Under Federal Employment Discrimination Law”;
  • Updated COVID-19 guidance, entitled “What You Should Know,” which explains what may constitute discrimination against employees and job seekers with family caregiving responsibilities; and
  • A short video explaining caregiver discrimination in both English and Spanish.

The technical assistance, available here, explains that discrimination against people with caregiving responsibilities may be unlawful under federal employment discrimination laws, depending upon the relevant facts and circumstances, and provides related examples.  In a question-and-answer format leaning on real-world scenarios, the EEOC provides guidance on how and when discrimination against applicants or employees with caregiving responsibilities violates the law, as well as explanations regarding required accommodations.

The EEOC’s COVID-19 “What You Should Know” page, available here, also has been updated to include a section titled “Caregivers/Family Responsibilities.”  This information explains how unlawful caregiver discrimination might arise and addresses considerations related to sex discrimination and other pandemic-related caregiver discrimination issues.

This new guidance from the EEOC underscores the need for employers to continue to be vigilant in how they address pandemic-related requests for caregiver accommodations, even as other COVID-19 precautions relax.  Ballard Spahr counsels employers to ensure that their positions with respect to hiring and workplace accommodations are consistent and in compliance with the EEOC’s guidance as well as federal, state and local laws.