This book is primarily about the protections that care givers have under federal law. Unfortunately, i many states, like Virginia, these laws are the only practical protections you have. But some states and local jurisdictions have parallel and even additional protections. This book does not specifically address state law claims, so be sure to do your research and, ideally, talk to an employment law attorney about protections you may have in your state. If you are researching your local area, try looking for the term “office of human rights.” For instance,Virginia has offices of human rights in some counties, like Arlington. If you were to search for “Arlington County Office of Human Rights,” you would find information about protections provided by Arlington.
It is particularly important that you research state and local laws if you are facing discrimination and work for an employer with fewer than fifteen employees, which means your boss is not covered by most federal anti discrimination laws, except the Fair Labor Standards Act, which applies in most aspects to employers regardless of size.When you are looking at local laws, pay particular attention to any remedies provided by the law. By that, I mean what happens if your employer is found in violation. Canyouwinbackpay?Reinstatement This is important. Virginia, for instance, has a human rights law, but there are very few penalties for employers found in violation. The same is true for counties with separate human rights laws on the books. It sounds good on paper,and I guess reporting a violation not covered under federal law to, for instance, the Fair fax Office of Human Rights, beats doing nothing. But it is not likely to provide you significant relief.
The Center for Work Life Law (http://worklifelaw.org) has so meter rific resources on this, including a complete list of state laws and local ordinances that provide protections to caregivers. I suggest that you look at the Center’s free report Caregivers As a Protected Class?: The Growth of State and Local Laws Prohibiting Family Responsibilities Discrimination (http://worklifelaw.org/pubs/LocalFRDLawsReport.pdf).
Here is a partial list of states and cities that provide additional protections to caregivers:
- District of Columbia
And the list is growing. As I write this, legislation is pending in New Jersey to provide protections to pregnant workers. Also,keep your eye on federal legislation. Currently, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is pending in Congress. It would allow pregnant women protection if they require accommodations at work, even if they are not covered by the ADA. Sadly, it has little chance of passing in this Congress, but there is always hope for the future.
Contractual Protection and Collective Bargaining Agreements
This book also does not cover protections you may have under an employment contractor a union bargaining agreement. It is quiter are for an employee to have an employment contract that provides for leave and care giver rights. But they do exist, particularly for high-level employees. If you have such a contract, digit out and have an attorney review it. Also, some workers are protected by union collective bar gaining rights that provide for leave from work. If you belong to a union, ask your union representative about any such rights.
If you are injured on the job, you may been titled to receive payment under your state’s workers’ compensation law. Workers’ compensation laws can be complicated, and it pays to find an attorney to help you with this. Many attorneys who handle personal injury cases also handle worker’s compensation cases. Most do not require up-front payment. It is important to explore this option because you may not be protected by, for instance, an assault that occurs at work if that violation is also covered by your state’s workers’ compensation law.