Domestic violence is a pervasive problem in our society, affecting individuals of all ages, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, one in four women and one in nine men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, sexual violence, and/or stalking. Domestic violence does not just occur in the home; it can also have a profound impact on an individual’s work life. In New York, there are laws and policies in place to protect employees who are victims of domestic violence from employment discrimination and to provide them with workplace accommodations.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. It can involve physical violence, sexual violence, emotional abuse, economic abuse, and/or psychological abuse. Domestic violence is a crime and a violation of human rights. It can have serious and long-lasting effects on the victim’s physical and mental health, as well as their ability to work and maintain employment.
Domestic Violence and Employment in New York
In New York, employees who are victims of domestic violence are protected under the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). These laws prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of an individual’s status as a victim of domestic violence, including but not limited to, refusal to hire, termination, and harassment.
Employers are also required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees who are victims of domestic violence. This may include allowing an employee to take time off from work for medical treatment, counseling, or legal proceedings related to domestic violence. Employers may also be required to provide alternative work arrangements, such as a transfer to a different location or a change in work schedule if it is necessary to protect the employee’s safety.
Additionally, New York employers are required to provide written notice of an employee’s rights and protections under the law relating to domestic violence. This notice must be provided to all new employees upon hire, and to all existing employees upon request.
What Should Employers Do?
Employers should have a clear understanding of their obligations under the law regarding domestic violence and the workplace. They should develop and implement policies and procedures that support and protect employees who are victims of domestic violence. This may include providing training to supervisors and managers on how to identify and respond to instances of domestic violence in the workplace, as well as creating a safe and supportive work environment.
Employers should also take steps to ensure the confidentiality of employees who are victims of domestic violence. They should establish protocols for keeping employee information confidential and for responding to requests for information from law enforcement or other third parties.
What Should Employees Do?
Employees who are victims of domestic violence should be aware of their rights and protections under the law. They should notify their employer if they are experiencing domestic violence and need accommodations or time off from work. They should also keep their employer informed of any changes in their situation or needs.
Employees who are experiencing domestic violence should also seek support from community organizations and domestic violence service providers. These organizations can provide a range of services, including counseling, legal advocacy, and shelter.
It is important for everyone to recognize the signs of domestic violence and to know what to do if they suspect someone is experiencing it. Some signs of domestic violence may include physical injuries, isolation from friends and family, sudden changes in behavior or mood, and control by a partner. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, there are resources available for help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) provides 24/7 support and can help connect individuals with local resources.
Domestic violence is a serious issue that can have far-reaching impacts on an individual’s life, including their employment. However, in New York, there are laws and policies in place to protect employees who are victims of domestic violence from discrimination and to provide them with workplace accommodations. Employers and employees both have a responsibility to understand and comply with these laws and to create a safe and supportive work environment for all employees. By working together, we can help to end domestic violence and ensure that those affected are able to get the help and support they need to heal and recover.
As a law firm, we understand the impact that domestic violence can have on an individual’s life, including their employment. We are committed to helping victims of domestic violence navigate the legal system and providing them with the necessary support and resources to ensure their safety and well-being.
At Jean M. Mahserjian, Esq., P.C., we have experience in helping victims of domestic violence secure workplace accommodations and protections, as well as advocating for their legal rights in cases of discrimination or harassment. We work closely with our clients to develop a plan that addresses their specific needs and ensures that they are able to maintain their employment while dealing with the effects of domestic violence.
We believe that it is important to create a safe and supportive work environment for all employees, including those who have experienced domestic violence. We are dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence get the help and support they need to heal and recover, and to ensure that their rights are protected under the law.
If you are in need of assistance with a domestic violence and workplace matter in New York, we are here to help. Contact Jean M. Mahserjian, Esq., P.C. to schedule a consultation and learn more about your legal options.