Any kind of violence is reprehensible, and there are few kinds more insidious and difficult to recover from than domestic violence. When a family or romantic relationship turns into threats and harm, life itself can feel like a prison.
Although the law focuses on punishing the perpetrator of violence and preventing further harm to a victim, another casualty of domestic violence can be a victim’s career. This is why California has recently changed the law on how employers need to inform and support their employees if they are in danger.
New employees must now receive written confirmation that they are able to take to time off from work to protect themselves or their children through court actions or other arrangements with family and friends. Employees of companies with 25 or more workers may also seek medical care or other requirements during time off.
These rights extend to employees who have no available vacation, sick time or leave time at the time of need. Proof of need is generally not required in these instances, so be aware if an employer is asking prying questions or making unwelcome offers.
Termination based on an employee’s unavailability during recovery from domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking is illegal, and employees should be safe from any form of retaliation or punitive behavior.
If you believe you have been denied these rights after an incident of sexual assault, domestic violence or other qualifying life issue, an attorney may help you reclaim your career and options through mediation, civil action or other legal avenue.
Source: Office of the California Labor Commissioner, “Rights of Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking,” accessed Nov. 29, 2017