Family Responsibility Protected Classification

Family responsibility discrimination laws ensure that employed individuals are not unfairly treated or disadvantaged in the workplace due to their caregiving duties outside of work. Since the 2020 Scorecard, four additional states (Alaska, Maine, Minnesota, and New York) have passed policies that prohibit employers from discriminating against family caregivers, bringing the total to seven. Alaska and Connecticut have statewide laws, but the provisions do not specifically define “parenthood” and “familial responsibilities,” respectively; therefore it is not clear whether the protections extend to all family relationships. Despite progress in this indicator, most states remain without state-wide laws protecting caregivers from discrimination in the workplace. 

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This policy indicator credits statewide laws that protect family caregivers from employment discrimination, which are defined as: a statewide law expressly including family responsibilities, including care provided to aging parents or ill or disabled spouses of family members, as a protected classification in the context that prohibits discrimination against employees who have family responsibilities.

Scoring: States with a statewide anti-discrimination law that protects family caregivers receive 1 point, and states without statewide law receive 0 points.

Current year 2023 data are from Center for WorkLife Law (WLL) at the University of California San Francisco, legal analysis.  Reference year 2020 data are from WLL at the University of California San Francisco (formely Hastings College of the Law), Work Life Law: State Law/Legislation Tracking from AARP Public Policy Institute. 
WLL, WorkLife Law:  State Law/Legislation Tracking (San Francisco, CA: Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California San Francisco, 2022) 

WLL provided update with data gathered in 2023 (Email correspondence, May 2023)


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