No. The selection decision should not have been based on Alexis’ caregiving responsibilities. By focusing on those responsibilities, the employer engaged in unlawful discrimination. The employer should have evaluated both candidates and made its selection decision based on specific, job-related criteria. Although the federal EEO laws do not prohibit discrimination against caregivers per se, the EEOC has described circumstances where discrimination against caregivers might constitute unlawful disparate treatment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the Americans with Disabilities Act. Caregiver responsibilities encompass not only childcare but eldercare or caring for individuals with disabilities.
The EEOC has issued guidance explaining the circumstances under which discrimination against workers with caregiving responsibilities might constitute discrimination. The agency has also issued supplementary documentation, which provides suggestions for best practices that employers may adopt to reduce the chance of EEO violations against caregivers and to remove barriers to equal employment opportunity.
Source: EEOC Guidance “Employer Best Practices for Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities,” reported in the CCH Employment Practices Guide, New Developments ¶5291.