Domestic violence, sexual violence, and stalking each constitute a traumatic violation of a person. These criminal violations are life altering and often require victims to take significant time to address through numerous forms of intervention, such as law enforcement involvement, seeking protective orders, relocating, medical assistance, and extensive therapeutic or psychiatric help. Victims need support and deserve respect. What they don't need is to be subjected to further harm by their own employers.
California Law Prohibits Discrimination Against Victims
California has some of the country's strongest employee protections in the Country, and this extends to victim protections. Existing California law prohibits an employer from firing, threatening to fire, demoting, suspending, retaliating against, or "in any manner" discriminating against an employee who has been "a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking for taking time off from work for specified purposes related to addressing the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking." The "specified purposes" envisioned in Labor Code 230 include (but is not limited to) seeking "a temporary restraining order, restraining order, or other injunctive relief, to help ensure the health, safety, or welfare of the victim or his or her child."
Further, Labor Code 230.1 explicitly expands the protected time off to include the following:
(1) To seek medical attention for injuries caused by domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
(2) To obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, program, or rape crisis center as a result of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
(3) To obtain psychological counseling related to an experience of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
(4) To participate in safety planning and take other actions to increase safety from future domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, including temporary or permanent relocation.
The law provides that an employee who experiences any such employment action is "entitled to reinstatement and reimbursement for lost wages and work benefits caused by the acts of the employer, as well as appropriate equitable relief, and is allowed to file a complaint with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement within the Department of Industrial Relations."
Employers Must Notify Victims of their Rights
Assembly Bill 2337, which became effective July 1st, adds to the rights of victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. Under the amended statute, employers are now required to provide employees with written notice of their rights under Sections 230 and 230.1 at the time they are hired, or upon request. Employers may use this form, created by the Labor Commissioner's Office to comply with the new law.
IF you are the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, you have been through enough. You do not deserve to be re-victimized by your employer through discrimination or retaliation. The attorneys at Moss Bollinger have been standing up to employers for years, and can bring the full impact of the law on your behalf. Your employer has an attorney, let us even the odds a little. We charge no fees up front and work on a contingency basis. Call Moss Bollinger today at 800-249-1175 for a free consultation or reach us online.