Q: COVID-19 Different requirements for returning to office, depending on whether one has children...
I work for the Feds. At my particular agency, local (Calif) leadership is contemplating rules for staff return to the office at the end of this month (August). We've all (<50) been telecommuting since mid-March. It's loosely being proposed that those with children... be permitted to continue telecommuting... as long as schools remain closed/or the parents opt to keep their kids home from school. It's proposed that those of us without children, be mandated to return to the office. Wouldn't such a policy be unfairly discriminatory? Illegal? In case it's not obvious... our 'practice' is to *not* include HR in such decisions/internal office discussions. Our "leadership" hasn't that background/expertise. Possible plot twist: On paper, we're all considered "essential workers," owing to our affiliation with our broader agency. So, I fear that we are basically at the mercy of unchecked, inexperienced local leadership.
A: Would it be discriminatory? Yes. Any time someone is treated differently than others, it is discrimination. Is it unlawful? No. Having children at home is not a protected class under any protective statutes.
What the employer is contemplating is lawful.
Good luck to you.
1 user found this answer helpful
A: I believe that your fear is well founded, and I agree with all that Mr. Pederson said below. But! It could be a thinly veiled attempt to discriminate based on marital status, which is a protected category. I suggest you file an internal EEO complaint of discrimination based on marital status. This will get kicked upstairs to HR and they will know what that "local" leadership is doing. There does not seem to be a legitimate Business necessity to discriminate on the basis you have described.
Justia disclaimers below, incorporated herein.
1 user found this answer helpful
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.