Your Rights At Work If You Are The Victim Of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Or A Serious Crime
Being a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or a serious crime can be devastating and life-changing. That’s why California law prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against employees who need time off from work to seek help or participate in legal proceedings. The law also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations necessary to ensure victims’ safety while at work.
California Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking
California’s Labor Code includes a series of important provisions that provide protections from discrimination and retaliation for victims of crime, including domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Cal. Labor Code §§ 230 et seq.
Employers are prohibited from terminating, discriminating against, or retaliating against an employee who is the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking for taking time off from work to seek court intervention, including:
- A temporary restraining order
- A Restraining order
- Any other court order to help ensure the health, safety or welfare of the victim or the victim’s child
The law also protects victims who need to take unscheduled time off and prohibits employers from taking action against an employee for doing so, if the employee provides a certification that he or she is the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. The certification can take a number of forms, including:
- A police report
- A court order separating the employee from the perpetrator of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking
- A letter from a doctor or other medical professional
In addition to protecting employees from retaliation and discrimination, Section 230 requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. Reasonable accommodations can include safety measures such as:
- Transfer to another location
- Reassignment to another position
- Modified work schedule
- Changing the employee’s work telephone number
- Changing the employee’s work station
- Installing a lock
- Assisting the employee to document domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking that occurs at work
- Implementing a safety procedure
The employer is also required to respond to an employee’s request for accommodation by engaging in a good faith interactive process to determine what accommodations are needed and whether and how they can be provided.
Additional Protections for Employees of Companies with 25 or More Employees
Employees of employers who have 25 or more employees have additional protections. In addition to the protections against discrimination and retaliation, Section 230.1 prohibits larger employers from terminating, discriminating against or retaliating against a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking for taking time off for any of the following reasons:
- To get medical care for injuries caused by domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
- To obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, program or rape crisis center.
- To obtain psychological counseling.
- To participate in safety planning and take other actions to increase safety from future domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Protections for Victims of Serious Crimes
California law also protects employees who are the victim of or who have a close family member who is the victim of a serious or violent crime from discrimination or retaliation for taking time off to attend court hearings. Labor Code §§ 230.2, 230.5. These provisions apply to certain serious crimes such as, vehicular manslaughter, felony child abuse, assault resulting in death of a child, felony domestic violence, felony physical abuse of an elder, felony stalking and felony hit-and-run. Other serious or violent crimes may qualify as well.
Remedies for Violations of Laws Protecting Victims
An employee who is fired, threatened with termination, demoted or otherwise discriminated or retaliated against for taking time off under these laws is entitled to reinstatement to his or her job, lost wages and benefits, as well as reasonable attorney fees.
Contact our Orange County Office Today
The Orange County based Law Offices of Corbett H. Williams represents employees in discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, wage & hour, whistleblower and other employment matters. If you think you have a claim, contact us today at 949-679-9909 or use the contact form below and we will respond promptly.