How to Avoid 'Parent Trap' Issues
While those who are parents aren’t a protected class, employers seeking to be family-friendly can ironically stumble into legal pitfalls if they aren’t careful.
When disciplining a worker who is a caregiver for children or other family members, it’s important to focus on the rule and the offense, just as the employer should do with other workers, rather than the individual’s family situation, an employment lawyer writes in Corporate Counsel. Thus, if a parent is habitually late because of child care responsibilities, for instance, the disciplinary matter should address the tardiness without discussing child care.
Lawsuits by parents often claim employment discrimination based on gender stereotyping or disparate treatment. Not asking interviewees about their personal lives and avoiding assumptions about employees, such as whether a parent would want a promotion, also helps to avoid such discrimination claims, writes Jennifer Blum Feldman, a partner of Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen.
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