New York Employment Law Blog

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The “Child Care Gap” And Employment Discrimination

If you believe you have been affected by employment or gender discrimination, you should consult your attorney to learn about your options.  Despite having great credentials, you may be struggling to find a job and to provide for your children.  Mothers attempting to return to the workforce often find difficulty in securing employment. 

This happened to one New York woman who took a ten-year break in order to provide for her children.  After many failed interview attempts, the mother of three began to lose hope.  She reported that an employer stated that they “typically don’t hire people with such a gap.”  The mother also described that jobs that she performed from home appeared to be inadequate.  For example, she mentioned that she sold products through eBay to supplement her income, but there seemed to be a bias towards stay-at-home jobs.   

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act was enacted to help and protect women from discrimination; however, it may have the opposite effect.  Some Professors hypothesize that this is because the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides a very general explanation for employers to follow.  Hence, this ambiguity has “the effect of freezing out discussion about family life during interviews.” 

Many employers avoid asking questions about the family subject at all, in fear of being blamed for discriminatory conduct if they reject a candidate.  As a result, many women still feel the effects of prejudice when they disclose their family responsibilities at an interview, or provide this information to explain a gap in employment. 

There is a prevalent misunderstanding amongst employers in the hiring process.  Many managers are under the perception that mothers are incapable of committing to both family and their jobs simultaneously.  Furthermore, discrimination is not always blatant and is often disguised as a rejection letter.  Sometimes, an employer will not interview a woman if there is a large gap in employment on a resume--a “red flag.”  Thus, if women make it to the in-person interview stage, many are left to wonder whether it is sensible to reveal that they are mothers, or instead, divert the subject all together.



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