A new California law bans employers from discriminating against  victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.  It also  requires businesses to make what the law calls a reasonable  accommodations” for workers who notify employers of their concerns.


According to


Lawmakers in California have passed legislation that gives victims  extra protection against workplace discrimination. Starting on January  1, 2014, employers in California will be prohibited from discriminating against workers based on their status as victims of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault. The protections apply equally to both men  and women.


Under the terms of the legislation, workers are protected against  wrongful termination, demotion and other adverse employment actions  taken as a result of their victim status. In addition, the law requires  employers to provide reasonable safety accommodations to workers who  need to be protected from their abuser or assailant. These  accommodations could be as simple as moving a desk or changing a phone  number, or as complex as creating a safety plan in case the abuser  threatens the workplace.


The law's sponsors say they pursued the legislation after hearing  from victims who felt that they had to choose between staying silent  and keeping their jobs. In many cases, the income and stability that a  secure job provides can make all the difference for someone trying to  escape an abusive relationship or otherwise recover from a traumatic  life event.


Moreover, lawmakers hope that the added protections will give  victims an incentive to report potential safety threats to their  employers. Often, proactive reporting can help employers mitigate  threats to employee safety before they occur.


In passing this legislation, California became the seventh state to prohibit discrimination against victims of domestic abuse. In addition to these new protections, current state law gives workers in California the ability to take "reasonable" time off in order to seek out  counseling, care or other rehabilitative services.


Capital Public Radio reported recently that Carie Charlesworth lost her job last year as a teacher at a private elementary school in San  Diego after her ex-husband showed up on campus after they had been  having some issues.


"And the school went into lockdown, and I lost my job due to that,  and my children were forced to leave their school, because they  attended that school as well," says Charlesworth.


The new California law wouldn’t apply Charlesworth, becase she taught at a private school. But she says,  it's important that victims of domestic violence can speak to their  employers about what’s going on. [January 20, 2014]