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New York pioneers job safety for domestic violence victims

Once again East and West Coasts lead efforts to spearhead change in preventing job discrimination for victims of domestic abuse. California joined the group last Friday when the governor of the state followed leads from Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island, to put firm protection under the law protecting victims of domestic abuse, stalking and sexual assault.

According to the law, it is illegal for employers to dismiss or discriminate against a worker if he or she is a victim of abuse. Additional directives of the law provide for reasonable accommodations on the job to keep the employees out of harm's way. These may include physical placement in the office, formulating a safety plan or changing a phone number.

New York's Westchester County has spearheaded the efforts to protect victims of domestic abuse by insisting on stringent accommodations on the job so victims can feel protected. Outside of the seven states which have such laws on the books, victims must continue to suffer without legal recourse. In spite of a federal law introduced earlier this year, the process to move forward on a national scale to provide legal protection has stalled. Although the parameters of the laws vary from state to state, allowances include taking leave without retaliation to recover from injuries, attend court or seek counseling.

Employment and housing represent areas of continued concern for victims of domestic abuse. Many victims of abuse continue to stay with the under the same roof with their abuser due to economic reasons. About 75% of abused women claim they have been harassed at work but cannot leave.

If you reside in New York and have been a victim of workplace discrimination due to domestic abuse, you have rights that protect you under the law. No one should live in fear of retribution by an abusive person or be in fear of losing their job for these abusive acts of another.

thinkprocess.org, "California Now Seventh State To Bar Employment Discrimination Against Domestic Violence Victims" Bryce Covert, Oct. 15, 2013

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