CALIFORNIA TAKES A BIG STEP FORWARD TO SAFEGUARD THE ECONOMIC SECURITY OF VICTIMS OF INTIMATE PARTNER ABUSE

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

In a major victory for all California victims of intimate partner abuse, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill Monday outlawing employment discrimination against victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The new law prohibits employers from discharging, refusing to rehire, or treating differently any employee on the grounds of that employee’s status as a victim. In addition, the new law requires employers to make reasonable efforts to accommodate victims’ safety needs, including transferring the victim to a work location unknown to her abuser, changing the victim’s office phone number, or modifying the victim’s work schedule.

Numerous studies have shown that intimate partner abuse frequently spills into the workplace, with the fear of termination discouraging many victims from seeking the help they need to end violence. Yet to date, few states have passed laws that protect victims from employment discrimination or require employers to offer victims reasonable accommodation. Legal Momentum hopes that other states will follow California’s lead and implement protections to ensure that victims are no longer forced to suffer in silence for fear of losing their jobs.