This Valentine’s Day, Break Up with Marital Status

By Douglas Lipsky

Law360 (February 13, 2024, 6:13 PM EST) — As Valentine’s Day puts a spotlight on romance, experts say employers should be on the lookout for marital status discrimination, an often overlooked type of mistreatment that can translate to unfair treatment and intersectional bias claims.

Nearly half of U.S. states bar discrimination based on marital status to some extent. Though it’s not a protected category under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employment lawyers say marital status bias is generally intersectional, affecting mostly young women and based on age-old assumptions and stereotypes about household gender roles.

Doug Lipsky, a co-founding partner of New York City-based Lipsky Lowe LLP who represents workers, said that while it’s not a claim he sees often, this type of discrimination is “pervasive in the employment relationship but tends to go unrecognized. Both New York City and state have outlawed employment bias based on marital status under their human rights laws.

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About the Author
Douglas Lipsky is a co-founding partner of Lipsky Lowe LLP. He has extensive experience in all areas of employment law, including discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, breach of contract, unpaid overtime, and unpaid tips. He also represents clients in complex wage and hour claims, including collective actions under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and class actions under the laws of many different states. If you have questions about this article, contact Douglas today.