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Education and Employment

New EEOC guidance addresses COVID-related caregiver discrimination

Young woman in casualwear helping woman in wheelchair with presentation while standing in front of whiteboard in office

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released new guidance regarding caregiver discrimination and the COVID-19 pandemic On March 14, 2022, in light of many workplaces returning to in-person work.

According to the guidance, although federal law does not prohibit discrimination based solely on caregiver status, caregiver discrimination becomes unlawful when it is based on one or more protected characteristics such as:

  • Sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity);
  • Race or color;
  • Religion;
  • National origin;
  • Age (40 or older);
  • Disability; or
  • Genetic information (such as family medical history).

Caregiver discrimination is also unlawful when it is based on an individual’s association with a person with a disability or on the race, ethnicity or other protected characteristic of the individual for whom care is being provided.

In this technical assistance document, the EEOC applies established policy positions to discuss when discrimination against applicants and employees related to pandemic caregiving responsibilities may violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) (or Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act), or other EEOC-enforced laws.

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