by Robert Ferrier
As of July 1, 2017, California employers must provide new hires with notice of victim’s rights. All California employers with 25 or more employees must give new employees (and current employees who request it) written notice explaining the rights of victims of domestic violence. The California Labor Commissioner’s Office has provided a sample form for employers to use. (http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/Victims_of_Domestic_Violence_Leave_Notice.pdf)
Regardless of form, this mandatory, written notice must include notice of the following rights:
- Time off: An employee that is a victim of sexual abuse, domestic violence, or stalking, has the right to time off to protect their own or their family’s health, and to attend court to get a restraining order. Both unpaid leave and paid time off of any classification may be used to attend to these issues.
- Right to be free from discrimination or retaliation: An employee has the right to be free from discrimination or retaliation. An employer may not fire, or discriminate in any manner against employees who exercise their above rights to time off.
- Right to accommodation: Employers must provide an accommodation process that is timely and confidential. Reasonable accommodations include safety measures, changes to work phone numbers or stations, new or better locks, and assistance in documenting incidences of domestic violence, sexual abuse, or stalking.
- Right to complain: Employees must also be notified of their right to file a complaint with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement if the employer retaliates or discriminates against the employee as a result of the employee exercising their rights under this law.
As always, the best practice is to be ahead of the curve. Make sure that your new hire packets contain the legally required and appropriate hiring and notice documents. Ensure that your employee handbooks are updated to include the above information in leave policies, and to explain the sort of documentation you will require. Train your managers and key personnel on how to appropriately and confidentially address the issues that may occur. Revamp and re-evaluate your process for reasonably accommodating victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and/or stalking.
DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.