How To Know If Your Company Has An FRD Problem

Apr 1, 2024

Sometimes it is easy to know if family responsibilities discrimination lurks in your workplace:  the company has been sued for pregnancy discrimination or FMLA retaliation or interference with lactation accommodations.  Most times, though, it isn’t easy.

Short of a lawsuit, what are the tip-offs that your workplace has a problem? The following are real-world examples:

  • Your company has a history of terminating pregnant employees.
  • A disproportionate number of employees who were laid off were caregivers.
  • Employees quit after they become mothers, or don’t return from parental leave.
  • New fathers take little or no parental leave.
  • Few or no mothers work in senior management.
  • Employees who work flexible schedules, especially reduced hours, find their careers have hit a dead end.
  • People who take family leave lose responsibility, direct reports, or sales territory.
  • Employees who are pregnant are not accommodated, such as receiving help with lifting or remote work.
  • Comments are made about pregnancy, motherhood, or caregiving such as:
    • “Gee, I wish I were breastfeeding so I could take a break;”
    • “How’s it going, Preggo?”  
    • “Men don’t use their families as excuses;”  
    • “There’s no way your father needs that much care;”
    • “Women will never get ahead in this company as long as they keep having babies;” and
    • “I don’t know why you need a 12 week leave for having a baby.”)
  • Attendance or punctuality is scrutinized for caregivers but not for others.
  • Performance evaluations discuss pregnancy or family responsibilities, or criticize employees for taking family leave.
  • Employees who take parental or other family leave do not have performance targets adjusted to account for their absence.
  • Pregnant employees get transferred to a less visible or less important job because they are pregnant or will take leave.
  • In one department, all pregnant employees quit or are terminated.
  • Single employees without children are promoted on a faster track than caregivers.
  • Mothers are passed over for promotion because they have young children.
  • Fathers are discouraged from or criticized for taking days off to care for sick children.
  • Employees who use intermittent leave to care for elderly parents are counseled about attendance and pulling their own weight.
  • Employees with family responsibilities are penalized for mistakes or infractions more severely than other employees.
  • Supervisors build cases to justify terminating caregivers.
  • Caregivers quit because of scheduling issues.
  • Women, but not men, are asked in interviews about availability to work evenings and weekends or about childcare arrangements.

If some of these examples sound familiar, let’s talk about investigations and solutions.

© Cynthia Thomas Calvert.

Categories: Blog | FRD

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