SAW/RTW Showcase: Support for Victims of Violence

DMEC Staff@Work

Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking: Develop a Workplace Response

Domestic ViolenceBy Erin Winters, JD

Pacific Employment Law

Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking lose tens of thousands of work hours and jobs annually. Employers that utilize a response plan to support employees are able to address dangerous situations quickly and stay in compliance with the myriad of state and local laws protecting victim rights.

Abuse Is Prevalent

Domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking affect the personal and professional lives of millions in the United States. The abusive behavior can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological. Victims report a decline in job performance and miss work to seek medical attention, obtain a restraining order, or find a safe place to stay. Others cannot get to their job when an abuser disables their car, sabotages childcare arrangements, or leaves them without cash for public transportation.

Identify the Legal Patchwork

Congress has not passed laws addressing victims’ employment rights; however, a 2012 guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) confirms that Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) apply. Examples provided in the agency’s guidance (note that men also may be victims) illustrate problematic scenarios for employers:

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