There are few events in life that require more rest and rebuilding than an instance of abuse or violence. Victims of dangerous behavior or discrimination, at home or in employment, have a right to an accepting workplace where laws are observed for the safety of its workers.
Earlier this year, the California Department of Industrial Relations added a requirement that all new employees in the state receive a copy of their rights if they are victims of violence, abuse or threatening behavior. This document outlines what workers can expect from their employer in and out of the workplace.
Workers have the right to take time off for activities related to protection and treatment, including medical care and appearances in court, even after personal time off or sick time has been exhausted. Workers without paid time off are not excluded, and employers cannot generally require proof of use for this time.
If changes must be made to the workplace to accommodate workers’ safety or treatment concerns, employers are expected to work with employees at an individual level. This may include changing assignments or shifts, changing locks or desk locations and any other way to enhance personal safety. An employer may require a signed statement or other evidence of need, but reasons must be kept confidential from other employees.
Employers are forbidden from retaliating or discriminating against employees for requesting changes or taking time off in connection to abuse or dangers in or out of the workplace. Workers may file a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner or consult a legal advocate if they believe their rights are not being properly honored.
Source: Office of the California Labor Commissioner, “Rights of Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking,” accessed Aug. 09, 2017