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Number of employees filing winning claims over eldercare growing

California employees need to fully understand their rights under federal and state laws when it comes to various aspects of their employment. For example, employees may be confused about what is and is not allowed to when it comes to taking leave to care for a family member. But they should know that employers are required to provide a certain amount of time off to an employee if there is a sick loved one at home that requires the employee’s attention. If an employer does not provide the required time off, or punishes the employee for exercising their rights to take that time off, even if it is unpaid, this can be the foundation for a legal filing.

Recent studies from a law school in California have found that a greater number of people are filing successful claims because of violations of this employee right. In the years 1998 to 2012, the number of cases involving discriminatory acts at work decreased. However, the number of claims related to family leave rose by 590 percent. Over the last decade, although 67 percent of cases were related to pregnancy discrimination, the number of people who filed claims because they needed to care for elderly relatives grew the most with an increase of 650 percent. Thirty-nine percent of these were filed by men. In addition, there was a 336 percent rise in cases related to paternity leave when compared to the previous decade.

In about 70 percent of these cases, the plaintiff has been successful. In fact, the study shows that these cases are successful twice as frequently as other employment-related claims. Cases based on family responsibilities were a significant cost to employers with more than $477 billion awarded from 2006 to 2015, double what was paid the decade before. This does not include the payments made for cases that were settled out of court.

Considering the way in which the perception of people who need to stay home from work to care for elderly relatives is changing, those who are faced with this responsibility need to know that they have rights when there are employment-related disputes over this issue. Employees who are being denied the right to care for a family member due to threats to their employment, a lost potential for advancement or any other punitive measures, need to know that they have the right to file a claim due to these employment disputes.

Source: Fortune, “More Employees Are Suing Over Family Care — And Winning,” Anne Fisher, May 24, 2016


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