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Workplace Rights Allow Victims of Domestic Violence To Fight Back

For many victims of domestic violence, their rights are not just abused at home. In fact, the people who need the most help are often the same individuals being discriminated against by their friends, family and even employers. If you are the victim of domestic violence it is imperative you understand your rights and how these rights protect you from discrimination in the workplace. The New York State Division of Human Rights provides valuable information for victims of domestic violence. The following is an overview of these rights.

You have the right to take time off for medical care- Each person in need of medical or mental health care has the right to take time off to seek such care. Victims of domestic violence are not permitted to be treated differently and are protected by the “disability and reasonable accommodation provisions of the Human Rights Law”. The federal Family Medical Leave Act may also allow for time off.

You have the right to take time off for legal reasons- If you need to take time off of work to report to court, meet with an attorney or file legal paperwork, you have the right to do so under N.Y. Penal Law §215.14. Any employer who treats a victim of domestic violence in any way different than they would another employee taking time off for legal reason is violating your rights.

You have the right to be treated fairly and not discriminated against as a victim- Employers may not discriminate against a victim of domestic violence in the hiring, job advancement or request for time off to which other employees are entitled. If you have a protection from abuse order, your employer must ensure your rights are not violated at work. Any individual causing problems at your job, who is the subject of an order of protection, should be treated as “any other person who engages in misconduct in the workplace”. This means you cannot lose your job if your abuser is targeting you at work. In fact any contact at work or elsewhere should result in a police report.

Understand your rights as a victim of domestic violence and learn where to seek help if those rights have been violated.