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ISSN: 2315-7844
Review of Public Administration and Management
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Is Family Responsibilities Discrimination the New Sex Discrimination? Lessons from School Teachers’ Perceptions

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Abstract

This exploratory mixed-methods study uses grounded theory to examine the organizational and individual dimensions of Family Responsibilities Discrimination (FRD) and perceptions of FRD as a phenomenon and emerging law. By employing a primarily qualitative embedded research design, semi-structured interviews and exit surveys were conducted in three New Jersey public schools to study a sample of teachers and similarly situated professional staff to investigate these topics. This study is the first of its kind to examine FRD, as opposed to gender discrimination, in relation to public sector employees, specifically public school professionals. The results of the analysis of the data, consisting of qualitative themes extracted from the interviews and descriptive statistics from the exit surveys, show that current organizational factors not only fail to mitigate effects of FRD on the work/family balancing act but sometimes contribute to them, and that there is a lack of awareness of the legal concept of FRD, despite knowledge of the existence of discrimination against people with family responsibilities. Based on these preliminary results, recommendations for future research and action in the field are suggested.

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