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New San Francisco Ordinance Grants Protected Status to Caregivers and Allows Them to Request Flexible Work Arrangements: Will its Provisions Spread to Other Jurisdictions?

November 15, 2013

By THOMAS E. GEIDT

A landmark ordinance in San Francisco has created a new protected class of employees: "caregivers." The ordinance not only prohibits discrimination against caregivers, but affirmatively requires employers to engage in interactive discussions with employees who request new flexible work arrangements to assist in caring for children, elderly parents, or family members who have health problems. Although this ordinance directly affects only employers who have employees in San Francisco, we believe all employers should take note of it, as we foresee a trend toward more flexibility in work arrangements, and we anticipate that, as with several prior San Francisco ordinances, the provisions in this "family friendly" ordinance may eventually be adopted elsewhere.

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