Beginning January 1, 2014, California employers will be prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against an employee because he or she is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Existing law protects an employee who takes time off to attend to issues that arise as a result of domestic violence or sexual assault, such as complying with a court order to testify as a witness.
Under the new law, an employee must provide notice to the employer, or the employer must have actual notice of the employee’s status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Employers shall provide reasonable accommodations for the employee’s safety at work, and engage in a timely, good faith, and interactive process to determine effective reasonable accommodations.
Examples of reasonable accommodations include transfer, reassignment, modified schedule, changed work telephone, changed work station, installing locks, assistance in documenting domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking that occurs in the workplace, implementing safety procedures, and other adjustments to a job structure, facility, or work requirement.
Employers, however, are not required to provide accommodations what would constitute an undue hardship. In these cases, that would include any acts that would violate the employer’s duty to furnish and maintain a place of employment that is safe and healthful for all employees.
All documentation identifying an employee as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking must be kept confidential by the employer, except as required by federal or state law or as necessary to protect the employee’s safety in the workplace.