I previously posted news about HB 317, which was introduced in the House of Delaware’s General Assembly on April 19, 2016.
The synopsis provides: “This bill prohibits discrimination in employment based upon an individual’s caregiving responsibilities. Workers should be judged on the merits of their performance at work, not their responsibilities at home. Five states and over 90 localities prohibit discrimination based on family responsibilities to some degree. This bill ensures Delaware workers with responsibilities for child care, elder care, or both, receive equal employment opportunities and are protected from discrimination in the workplace.”
Since April 19, the bill was amended and passed by the House.
The new synopsis provides: “This amendment simplifies and narrows the definition of “family responsibilities. It expands the scope of protection offered by the bill by explicitly prohibiting discrimination by limiting, segregating, or classifying its membership based on family responsibilities. This clause mirrors the language in the employment discrimination statutes dealing with other protected classes. Finally, the amendment clarifies that the duty not to discriminate based on family responsibilities does not place any burden on an employer to make special accommodations for employees with family responsibilities, so long as all personnel policies are applied equally.”
On June 15, 2016, the bill (with amendment) was assigned to the Senate of Delaware’s General Assembly.
If this is signed into law:
1. A new definition of “family responsibilities” would be inserted. It means “the obligations of an employee to care for any family member who would qualify as a covered family member under the Family and Medical Leave Act.”
2. New adverse employment actions (against employers having 4 or more employees rather than 50 or more employees like under FMLA) would exist if such employer:
(a) fails or refuses to hire or discharges any individual or otherwise discriminates against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of the individual’s family responsibilities, except with respect to the employer’s attendance and absenteeism standards that are not protected by other applicable law and inasmuch as the employee’s performance at work meets satisfactory standards.
(b) limits, segregates or classifies employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affects the individual’s status as an employee because of such individual’s family responsibilities, except with respect to the employer’s attendance and absenteeism standards that are not protected by other applicable law and inasmuch as the employee’s performance at work meets satisfactory standards.
The law would state that it does not “create any obligation for an employer to make special accommodations for an employee with family responsibilities, so long as all policies related to leave, scheduling, absenteeism, work performance, and benefits are applied in a non-discriminatory manner.”
Let the debate begin about how big of a deal this could be . . . and what exactly it means.