'Caregiver' isn't a protected category, but caregiver bias could be unlawful.

In federal anti-discrimination laws, you won't find "caregiver" among the list of protected classes (race, sex, age, disability). But in certain circumstances, it can be unlawful to take adverse actions against employees and applicants because they care for children or elderly family.

This issue was highlighted during the pandemic as many workers took time off work to care for loved ones as people got sick and schools/daycare centers closed. Last month, the EEOC updated its COVID guidance to point out when caregiver discrimination could violate federal laws.

The bottom line: You can't treat caregiver employees or applicants differently based on a protected class (i.e., treating moms differently than dads). Plus, you can't make employment decisions based on the stereotype that an applicant or employee might have to take time off to assume a caregiving role.

The EEOC highlighted a few examples that could trigger liability:

* Refusing to hire or promote a woman based on assumptions that, because she is female, she would have...

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