EEOC data shows gender discrimination increasing with male caregivers

Gone are the days when only women took care of the domestic responsibilities of a household. It is the 21-century and more and more men are taking on the family's childcare responsibilities.

However, there have been reports of an increase in gender discrimination in the workplace. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission-the federal agency in charge of enforcing laws against workplace discrimination-gender discrimination as it relates to caregiver leave over the previous 5 years has risen.

FMLA protections for workers

Under the Family Medical Leave Act, or FMLA as it's known, many workers have job protection if they need to take time off to care for a child or designated loved one. Although it doesn't specify within the Act, it applies to both male and female workers.

Employees can take up to 12 weeks of leave away from their jobs to care for a newborn child, adopted child, spouse, or parent. The law also requires employers to guarantee that employee's job back upon his or her return. The employer is prohibited from retaliating or taking disparate action against employees eligible for this leave.

The EEOC report

However, according to the latest EEOC report, employment discrimination as it relates to the FMLA is still occurring-particularly with male employees.

Over the previous 5 years, the Commission received approximately 712 charges of alleged unlawful caregiver discrimination from those in various areas of employment including healthcare, manufacturing, and the food service industry. Some of the charges related to unlawful discharge or discipline, disparate terms and conditions of employment, unlawful harassment.

Fortunately, the Commission was able to resolve 564 charges and obtain $796,000 in monetary benefits for those discriminated against.

Contacting an employment law attorney

It's important for employees to know that the laws surrounding the FMLA are complex and there are many exceptions and particularizes.

For instance, not all employers are required to abide by the Act. Private sectors employers with less than 50 or more workers are exempted from the requirements of the law. Additionally, employees who work for a covered employer must have been employed with that employer for at least 12 months and worked at least 1250 hours.

However, if you believe you have experienced workplace discrimination, discussing your particular situation with a knowledge employment law attorney is recommended. Your lawyer can look at the specifics of your case and offer advice on a course of action.