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How workplace discrimination laws protect caregivers

Florida workers may be unaware that their employment rights extend to protection from discrimination if they are caregivers for a loved one. This is known as associational disability discrimination. Under the American with Disabilities Act, there are three kinds of this type of discrimination that are prohibited.

The first type is expense discrimination, which holds that a person cannot be discriminated against based on costs to the employer's health care plan. Disability by association prohibits an employer from discriminating against a worker in the belief that the worker might develop the same condition that their relative suffers from. The principle of distraction prevents discrimination based on a worker's lack of attention on the job because of concern about a disabled loved one.

In New Mexico, an employer fired a temporary employee rather than making her permanent because the woman had a disabled 3-year-old. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission agreed that associational disability discrimination had occurred. The company agreed to pay $165,000 to settle the lawsuit. Associational disability discrimination lawsuits are not common, but this kind of discrimination is considered just as serious as any other type.

Some workers might be unaware of many of their employee rights ranging from the types of discrimination they are protected from to whether they are protected from retaliation if they are whistleblowers or injured on the job. People who believe they might be facing discrimination at work might first want to try to resolve it through a supervisor or human resources. However, even if they do not initially plan a lawsuit, consulting an attorney may help them understand their rights before they pursue a solution at work. In some cases, an employer may also be unaware of the full range of employee rights.

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