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Protecting Domestic Violence Victims of Discrimination in the Workplace

Domestic violence happens in the home, but it affects every aspect of a victim’s life. This is especially true when it comes to work.

Someone who is being abused by someone in their home might find it difficult to function in the workplace. Even if they manage the emotional aspects of their abuse, there are logistical issues that might arise. For instance, some victims are forced to find new living arrangements or attend counseling sessions. Problems can also arise if a victim chooses to take action against his or her abuser and the subsequent legal obligations interfere with work.

Regardless why a situation affects employment, employees have rights in the workplace when they are victims of domestic violence.

Anti-Discrimination Laws Offer Protection for Domestic Violence Victims

One of the most challenging issues domestic violence victims might face is dealing with the attitudes of their co-workers. Unfortunately, even in this day and age, victims are still stigmatized and might feel re-victimized by the discrimination they face in the workplace.

The problem was serious enough that some states took action to prevent workplace discrimination based on domestic violence. Many states have enacted laws that require employees to permit domestic violence victims to use paid sick leave when needed. The laws also protect those who need time off to care for victims of domestic violence.

Other laws are in place are designed to protect victims in ways that go beyond attending to their medical needs. These include giving employees protected leave, prohibiting discrimination against victims who file for protective orders, requiring reasonable accommodations for victims, and providing time off to arrange safe living accommodations, and to attend counseling and legal proceedings.

Some states even have laws in place that specifically say employers cannot fire employees for being victims of domestic violence

New York has laws that prohibit discrimination against domestic violence victims, and there are laws in the city and in Westchester County that require employees to give reasonable accommodations for victims. This is in addition to the laws that prevent any type of discrimination, including any discriminatory action against crime victims.

Federal Laws Protecting Domestic Violence Victims

On the federal level, there might also be protection available under Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act. To read more about how these federal laws affect domestic violence victims, check out this page from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s website.

If a domestic violence incident caused serious illness or injury, an employee might also be eligible for FMLA.

Domestic violence victims already deal with a great deal of stress and other negative emotions, and shouldn’t be forced to face discrimination or difficulties in the workplace. If you have been a victim of domestic violence and you are concerned about treatment by your employer, we can help.

For more information or to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation, contact the Employment Lawyers at Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C..

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