Yes, Mothers of Disabled Children Can Work Full-Time Says EEOC Suit

The Timken Company of Canton, Ohio, must pay $120,000 and “provide other relief” to settle a gender and discrimination suit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In July 2007, Timken denied a full-time position to part-time employee Carmen Halloran, who worked at the company’s Randleman, N.C. facility. According to the EEOC, the company claimed that Halloran, who is the mother of a child with disabilities, would not be able to work full-time and take care of her child.

Says a news release from the EEOC (with my emphases in boldface):

At the time she applied for the full-time position, Halloran had worked at the Randleman facility as a part-time process associate for four years. The EEOC alleged that the company refused to hire Halloran because one or more managers for the company believed that Halloran, who is the mother of a disabled child, would be unable to work full time and care for her disabled child. The EEOC alleged that although Timken employed men who were the fathers of disabled children, Timken failed to hire Halloran into the full-time position based on an unfounded gender stereotype that the mother of a disabled child would necessarily be the primary caregiver for the child and therefore would not be a reliable employee.

In addition to paying $120,000 in settlement of this action, Timken must take other actions set forth in the two-year consent decree resolving the case, including providing anti-discrimination training to the managers, supervisors, and employees of the company’s Randleman facility. Further, the company must post a notice at its Randleman facility concerning employees’ rights under federal anti-discrimination laws and must provide periodic reports to the EEOC on its hiring practices.

Timken employees about 25,000 employees world-wide and manufactures precision ball bearings and other friction management and power transmission products.

The EEOC’s ruling is significant for women who — including myself — are working mothers of children with disabilities. As a recent University of Pennsylvania study has found, raising an autistic child leads to “substantial underemployment and lost income among mothers” and families in general. Using data from the U.S. government’s Medical Expenditures Panel Survey, the researchers found that the mothers of children with autism spectrum disorders earned about $6,300 less annually than mothers of kids with other health conditions and $11,540 less than mothers whose kids were healthy.

Further, families with autistic children earn an estimated $11,900 less a year (that is, 20% less) than families with children with other chronic health problems and $17,640 less (that is, 27% less) than families with healthy kids.

The details of Carmen Halloran’s suit make you wonder, how many other mothers of disabled children have not been able to work because prospective employers chose not to hire them for the reasons that Timken denied Halloran a full-time job? 


Previous Care2 Coverage

The Economic Reality of Raising an Autistic Child for Mothers and Families


Photo by FaceMePLS


Margaret Garside
Margaret Garside4 years ago

Re: Ginger's comments and the responses.

I think there's a happy medium somewhere. Many European countries mandate leave (sometimes paid) for new mothers. The main difference is, in this country kids are seen as something a couple has for themsleves. Other countries see kids as a national resource, and thus a national responsibility.

Guess who has better schools and lower rates of juvenile delinquency?

Margaret Garside
Margaret Garside4 years ago

Where did this company get the idea that kids with disabilities don't need to eat? Their familes have bills to pay, too.

Christopher M.
Christopher M.4 years ago

As an Aspie, and knowing that the autistic spectrum is genetically transmissible, I'd suggest informing prospective parents with Asperger/autism of the chances of having a child with a disability. Asperger symptoms are all over Dad's side of the family in both deceased and surviving members. The Wired article The Geek Syndrome further elaborates on Silicon Valley professionals having kids in the California special ed system.

It is fortunate that my mom did not work (except part time when I was ten) and that dad could support everyone himself.

Lika S.
Lika S.5 years ago

Main reason is that mothers are still the primary care givers of their children, while fathers are still viewed as the primary bread earners... so of a man has a good full time job, his wife/mother of his child is expected to take care of said child. If a woman works full time, she's viewed as a bad mother for abandoning or ignoring her disabled child or seen as incapable of being a good worker because her heart is with her children.

They don't' realize what a mother is capable of.

Sharon H.
Sharon H.5 years ago

I was not being rude to you. Don't you realize that a lot of people here already think Southerns are dumb? They say so all the time.They also think that "folksy" crap spewed by Sarah Palin makes her sound even dumber. I grew up in Pa. and know that there's stupid people everywhere, but I try not to put all of the "cutsie" stuff in what I"m posting.
As for your stepmother, I'm sure you were no bed of roses to live with either. It takes two, as they say.
It's one thing to be supportive of stay at home parents, but you go overboard by insinuating that if a woman doesn't do it, then she's an unfit parent.. And what happens if the mother dies? Is the father supposed to quit work so that he's home with the kids? Nothing is as black and white as you try to make it.

Victoria M.
Past Member 5 years ago


"many times women here are discriminated against and held"

that should 'held back'

and just because our opinions are different than yours does not mean we do not have the right to have them and it doesnt mean they are wrong either.

Victoria M.
Past Member 5 years ago

ginger..brady bunch/the cleavers.. same shit.

so..perhaps the woman in the article should quit her job, go on welfare, get food stamps and government medical...that's if medicaid and food assistance is still available where she lives.just so she can live below the poverty level and stay home 24/7.

the article doesnt state her home circumstances but there are many possible scenarios..perhaps her husband is dead..cant get a job..there is a unemployment crisis in this country, in case you missed that news..maybe he is bad father. you dont know what this womans life is like or what she has to deal with.

i cannot see how providing for your family any way you can is a bad thing. there are no guarantees that being a stay at home mom is going to produce happier, well-adjusted children.

the simple fact of the matter is that she has a right to make that decision on her own.

in a perfect world maybe..but in this country they do not follow european standards. many times women here are discriminated against and held, over looked because of familial status or gender. that is not right but it is reality.

you seem to have a better life than the normal mom. you are an exception in this case and not a rule.

walk a mile in her shoes before you tell her how to live her life. unless you have been there you cannot know what it is like to live in her world.

and there is a saying that 'it takes a village to raise a child'.

Empress Ginger
Ginger Strivelli5 years ago

In fact Jan, I do think women with pre-school age children should be exempt form working. (Even just with normal kids, much less with disabled kids who need more attention) A couple of European countries do give years of paid leave to mothers, so I'm not the only one who thinks those first few years are important to have a full time mom. No Jan I don't think there should be any test for becoming a mother, but I think the full-time-most-important-job should be taken more seriously by those who do. Sharon, I am admittedly proud of and supportive of full-time moms..I think that is the BEST for a child, any child...just like an intact family is best for any child. NO, it is not always possible, but it should be held up as the goal, and respected to give all kids a stable family home with their mother, their father in one home with no step anythings, with a working father who makes enough (and they forgo wasteful spending to be able to get by on one income) for their mother to stay at home and devote herself to her kids. I am 'full of' that ideal for all kids...alas I know too few kids get that happy stable childhood. (I know I didn't) why that offends you is beyond me...but you are rude and hateful to me, and then charge me with being so, when my only 'crime' is not agreeing with you, that kids can be raised by day cares and be latch key kids so their moms can focus on their careers instead of focusing on motherhood.

Sharon H.
Sharon H.5 years ago

You really are full of yourself, aren't you? You say you're here supporting your fellow women, but I think a lot of women here would say just the opposite. Your smug attitude, bragging and put downs just make you look like a self righteous mean spirited person. The description of an elitist is the characteristic of a person who has an offensive air of superiority, and by your remarks here, I'd say that fits you..

Alexandra Rodda
Alexandra Rodda5 years ago

Thanks for the article.