Some people face discrimination at their jobs because of their status as parents. Parents are not expressly protected against workplace discrimination under federal law, but some parents may have claims for discrimination. If you believe that your employer has discriminated against you because you have children, you might want to talk to the employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler to learn about the rights that you might have.
When parental discrimination might be illegal
It is not illegal for an employer to refuse to hire parents or to treat employees who have children differently. However, when employers discriminate against people because of their protected statuses, it is illegal. A person’s sex is a protected status under federal and state law. This means that employers that treat people with children differently because of their sex or because of gender stereotypes may be acting illegally. An example of illegal conduct might include employers that demote women who have babies because the employers believe that mothers ask off from work more often. However, if the employer discriminates against all parents, including both men and women, it is not sex discrimination.
Parental discrimination under state law
There is no law that expressly prohibits workplace discrimination in New Jersey against people based on their statuses as parents. Some other states, including New York, do have laws that prohibit discrimination based on a person’s familial status, however. In states that do have prohibitions against discrimination based on familial status, the employers are not required to offer accommodations to parents such as taking extended leave, working part-time or leaving work early.
Protections for parents under other laws
Parents may be protected under some other laws. They may be able to take leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act or the New Jersey Family Leave Act to take care of a child’s serious health condition. New Jersey also offers paid family leave that is paid for by workers through payroll deductions.
Contact an attorney
If your employer has discriminated against you because of your status as a parent, it may not be illegal. However, if your employer discriminated against you because of a protected trait such as your gender, the conduct may be prohibited. To learn more about whether your rights may have been violated, contact the employment law attorneys at Swartz Swidler to have your potential claim analyzed.