From time to time, both federal and New Jersey anti-discrimination laws frequently undergo changes – some minor but some major – so, if you believe you’ve been harmed by discrimination or harassment at your job, be sure you have a knowledgeable New Jersey employment attorney on your side who’s up to date on all the changes to the law, and the impacts those can have. For example, Title VII, the federal law that bans many forms of workplace discrimination, originally only protected people from discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion or national origin. Over the decades, Congress added protections against age, pregnancy and disability discrimination. Now, U.S. Senator Cory Booker has proposed a new expansion, which would make discrimination against family caregivers (sometimes also known as family responsibilities discrimination) a violation of federal law.
Sen. Booker’s proposal, which is entitled the “Protecting Family Caregivers from Discrimination Act,” would make family caregiver status a protected class much like race, sex, religion, national origin, disability and age. Employers, under the proposed act, would be barred from firing, demoting, refusing to hire or otherwise taking adverse employment action against a person based on her/his status as a caregiver for family members, according to the senator’s web page. The bill would also, similar to the anti-discrimination and harassment protections afforded to those other groups, prohibit retaliation against a worker who seeks to enforce her/his rights under the expanded law.
Sen. Booker’s proposal is not the first of its kind. In 2016, New York City enacted a law that banned family caregiver discrimination in the city’s workplaces.