In California and New York, if you are a victim of domestic violence and stalking, then your employer cannot discriminate against you. You are afforded certain rights so that you can both take care of your situation and be protected from the perpetrator. Here is more information about your rights as a domestic violence victim at work.
Who Does This Law Protect?
California law protects anyone who is a victim of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual violence from discrimination in the workplace. This law covers anyone regardless of gender, race, or religion. Generally, you won’t have to prove that you are a victim of these crimes to get the law’s protection. If you want to ensure protection at work, then you must tell your employer about your situation.
What Rights Do Victims Have at Work?
Once you tell your employer about what is going on, then you have certain rights to accommodation. Below are three rights that you have at work when you are a domestic violence victim.
The Right to Time Off
If you work for a company with more than 25 employees, then you have the right to take time off to attend to legal issues and counseling. You must tell your employer in advance. If you cannot give advanced notice to your employer, then you should show proof, such as a police report, that your time off is related to your situation.
The Right to Reasonable Accommodation
Your employer must make reasonable changes to your work to accommodate your situation. Reasonable accommodations mean that the changes should not have an adverse effect on the overall business.
The Right Not to Be Retaliated Against
Your employer cannot retaliate against you because you are a domestic violence victim. This means that you cannot be fired, demoted, or treated differently because you asked for accommodations. Your employer must also keep your situation confidential from your coworkers.
How Must Employers Help Victims?
Examples of accommodations that your employer may make, or that you can ask for, are listed below.
If possible, your employer could relocate you to another work location, such as another branch or office location. This type of accommodation could even include a move to a different city or state.
Change Contact Information
You may ask your employer to change your email address or phone number to prevent harassing and threatening behavior from the perpetrator. This may not be very effective if you work for a public place and must answer a general business phone.
Arrange for Different Hours
Your employer could allow you to work a different schedule, or flex your time so that you don’t always arrive or leave at the same time or from the same place every workday. However, this may not be always possible because of the type of job you do.
Help Document Incidents
Your employer should help you document any issues related to your situation such as harassment or stalking. Keep documentation of the days and hours you work and take off because of your situation in case any questions arise later.
Take Out a Temporary Restraining Order
Your employer can take out a temporary restraining order on your behalf. This gives both of you more legal leeway should the undesired person show up onsite. Temporary restraining orders are even possible if you work for a government-run building or office that is open to the general public.
Your employer cannot terminate you if you are a victim of domestic violence or if someone stalks you. You also cannot be refused a job because you have a domestic violence situation. If you feel that you were discriminated against or fired because of your domestic violence or stalking situation, then see an attorney. Shegerian & Associates can help you deal with wrongful termination because of a domestic violence or stalking situation. Contact us for a consultation.