The Wave of Family Responsibility Discrimination (FRD) Claims Continues to Rise

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The wave of Family Responsibility Discrimination (FRD) claims continues to rise. FRD is a descriptive title for lawsuits that allege discrimination against workers who have caregiving responsibilities for children or older family members. While there is no single FRD statute, it refers to the complex web of potential claims under Title VII, FMLA, ADA and other protective statutes.

On May 9, 2013, senior sale representative, Kelli Smith, filed a $10 million class action against her employer, Merck & Co. for alleged discriminatory practices against women who are pregnant and/or have children, alleging that these women are prevented from rising in the company, do not receive the same pay treatment, and are retaliated against for taking maternity leave. In keeping with the EEOC’s strategic enforcement plan of allowing innovative litigation theories to shape standards rather than providing preventative advice, the suit seeks a determination of the proper standards for proving that facially neutral policies have a disparate impact on women who are pregnant and/or have children.

The rising tide of FRD claims and the laws under which they fall is discussed in more detail in the upcoming edition of Claims Management magazine.


About the Authors

Karen Kalzer

Ms. Kalzer practices employment and education law with an emphasis on defending complex litigation for communities of faith, non-profits, schools and private employers.

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