More than one in six American employees provides care or assistance for an elderly or disabled family member or friend. Caregiving responsibilities cut across socioeconomic and demographic groups, although women and low-income individuals still assume a disproportionate share of such responsibilities. One in seven Americans is currently age 65 or older, but that number is projected to increase to one in five Americans by 2040. As the population ages, the number of employees with caregiving responsibilities is only likely to grow.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recognizes that employees with caregiving responsibilities face discrimination in the workplace related to these responsibilities. For example, an employee may be prevented from taking leave to which she is entitled or punished when she exercises her right to such leave; an employee may be penalized for his association with a disabled employee; or an employee may be stereotyped as lazy or uncommitted to her job merely due to her caregiving responsibilities.