Michael W. Casey, III, a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice and Managing Shareholder of EBG’s Miami office, and Cathie A. Shattuck, Of Counsel in the Labor and Employment practice in the Washington, D.C. office, were quoted in a January 22, 2008, issue of the Daily Business Review about the growing trend of family-responsibility discrimination lawsuits that impact employees with care-giving responsibilities for children, spouses, and parents. The article, “Family Issues Limiting Employees in Workplace,” noted that the EEOC warned in a recent enforcement memo that while different treatment of employees is not necessarily discriminatory, just about any family-care situation can become discrimination.
“What they are doing is taking the concepts of sex discrimination and grafting it onto a caregiver situation,” said Casey. “I think they are overreaching a bit.” He added that since the EEOC report stated it was not actually against the law to treat employees with care-giving responsibilities differently, employers had to puzzle out how to avoid discrimination.
Shattuck, a former EEOC trial attorney, said that while she had not seen any cases that prompted this kind of advice-giving, “it’s an attempt to expand their [EEOC] authority.”