Hastings Journal on Gender and the Law


Alaina Harwood


Discrimination against workers that are caregivers to family members has risen dramatically in the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The horde of novel issues that were brought on by the pandemic–such as school closures–have had a severely negative impact on workers with caregiving responsibilities, resulting in many of them losing their jobs during a major recession. Because of COVID-19, workers have experienced various types of discrimination relating to their caregiver status, including harassment and retaliation for requesting accommodations and leave during a global pandemic, as well as humiliation from their employers. This paper discusses the trends in caregiver discrimination lawsuits that were filed during the COVID-19 pandemic and analyzes the common issues plaintiffs experienced at the hands of their employers. While legislation that was passed during the pandemic offered some temporary protections to workers with caregiving responsibilities, this paper also discusses how the lack of permanent and comprehensive protection at the federal level left many workers vulnerable to caregiver discrimination.