VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SEXUAL OFFENSES & STALKING DISCRIMINATION
GELC works to implement and expand protections under New York State and City laws for individuals who are protected from discrimination based their status as a victim of domestic violence, a victim of sex offenses or stalking. Domestic violence and sexual assault have repercussions far outside a woman’s home or personal life. Victims of violence are forced to leave jobs for safety and take time off work to seek appropriate medical care and legal assistance. Many abusive partners limit their victim’s economic freedom, controlling checking accounts and garnishing paychecks. In addition to physical and emotional injury, sexual and domestic violence leaves victims economically vulnerable as well.
New York State Human Rights Law
Under NY's employment discrimination law, you cannot be discriminated against by an employer due to your status as a victim of domestic violence. You may file a complaint against an employer if you feel that s/he has fired you, refused to hire you, or treated you differently than other employees based on your status as a victim of domestic violence.
If you are not sure whether or not you have been discriminated against, you can call or visit the NYS Division of Human Rights office nearest you to speak with a staff member about your situation. You can find information on filing a complaint based on discrimination here and the addresses and phone numbers for the various regional offices here.
New York City Human Rights Law
The New York City Human Rights Law provides more detailed and broader protections, which are codified in section 8-107.1 of the New York City Administrative Code. The NYCHRL makes it an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to refuse to hire, fire, or discriminate in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of the actual or perceived status of an individual as a victim of domestic violence, or as a victim of sex offenses or stalking.
The law is not limited to violence arising in a marital relationship, and broadly defines “victim of domestic violence” as a person who has been subjected to acts or threats of violence by a current or former spouse, a person with whom the victim shares a child, a person who is living with or has lived with the victim, or a person who is or has been in a romatic or intimate relationship with the victim.
The NYCHRL also requires employers to make a reasonable accommodation for a person who is a victim of domestic violence, or a victim of sex offenses or stalking to be able to continue performing their job provided that the status of a victim is known or should have been known by the employer.
If you believe you have suffered discrimination at work because of your status as a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking, feel free to contact us today to discuss your rights.
Conduct that may implicate the State and City Human Rights Laws’ protections of domestic violence victims may include:
Terminating you because your employer suspects you may be the victim of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking.
Terminating you because your employer believes your abuser may confront you at work.
Terminating you because you obtained an order of protection against your abuser.
Prohibiting you from taking time off for going to court, moving, or seeking assistance due to domestic violence, while permitting other employees to take time off for personal needs and family emergencies.
RESOURCES & LINKS
In 2009, New York State amended its Human Rights Law to protect domestic violence victims from employment discrimination. The amendment seeks to prevent employment discrimination against victims of domestic violence for taking time off from work to go to court, consult with a district attorney, counselor, and/or doctor, and recuperate from injuries. Employers in the State of New York should prepare their workplaces to ensure compliance with the New York State’s Human Rights Law and to minimize potential exposure to liability.