Family Responsibilities Discrimination in the Workplace

Discrimination in the workplace based on the real or perceived responsibility of an employee to care for their family is called Family Responsibilities Discrimination (FRD). Examples of such discrimination include if an employee is denied a promotion, paid less, harassed, or has other action taken against them based on these responsibilities. The responsibilities could include caring for a spouse, parent, or children or any differently abled or ill family members. It can affect almost any employee in any job and may also include discrimination against people based on marital status. Here is some key information on FRD and who it affects.

Examples of FRD

  • Firing pregnant women because of pregnancy or because they may take maternity leave.
  • Refusing to promote pregnant women, women with young children, or giving promotions to people without children over parents.
  • Being accommodating with parent’s work schedules while giving nonparents flexibility.
  • Fabricating reasons to dismiss employees because of their responsibilities.
  • Promoting single men over others.
  • Giving penalties to workers who have legally taken time off to care for family.

Discrimination Against Women

Although it can happen to anyone, women with children are the most likely to be affected by FRD. They are less likely to be hired, promoted and are offered around $10,000 less in compensation than males for the same position.

However, men may face discrimination as well. If a man faces responsibilities for care, then they may have leave requests for child care or medical care for a family member denied. They may also be denied promotion if their employer is aware of their ill or differently-abled family member.

The Effects of FRD on Businesses

One consequence of a business that takes illegal FRD actions can be a high employee turnover rate. Another is the likelihood of litigation being brought against them for their discriminatory practices.

Businesses should have a system in place to prevent FRD. Hiring, promotion, attendance, benefits, and leave policies should all be reviewed by the employer to make sure they are legal and positive for employees. The human resources team should be trained to handle FRD complaints and know the signs of FRD policies. All FRD complaints should be taken seriously and handled with care.

Attorney Assistance

If you believe you have been discriminated against by your employer because of your family obligations, hire a family lawyer Tampa, FL trusts to represent you if you want to pursue legal action. Thankfully, most lawyers provide a free consultation, so a lawyer can discuss your unique case with you and advise you on the best path for you.


Thank you to our friends and contributors at The McKinney Law Group for their insight into the workplace and family law.