Wednesday, May 23 , 2018, 6:22 am | Overcast 57º

 
 
 
 

Jackson Introduces Bill to Protect Domestic Violence Survivors from Job Loss, Discrimination

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, has introduced a bill to protect domestic violence survivors from losing their jobs or being discriminated against at work.

Senate Bill 400 would prevent employers from firing or discriminating against an employee who has been a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. SB 400 would also require employers to make reasonable efforts to protect these crime victims from their abuser or stalker, such as changing their work telephone number, relocating their desk, or implementing a workplace safety plan.

“Without a steady paycheck, domestic violence survivors can find themselves trapped in abusive relationships, without a way out,” Jackson said. “This bill will ensure the stability of their jobs and their safety at work at the time they need it the most.”

A 2011 study by the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center’s Project SURVIVE found that nearly 40 percent of survivors in California reported either being fired or fearing termination due to domestic violence.

While California law allows survivors to take time off work to attend court hearings or get other assistance related to their abuse, it does not prohibit employers from firing employees for being victims or require employers to provide safety accommodations.

A recent client of the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, one of the sponsors of the bill, was fired after 14 years of service when she disclosed to her boss that she was a victim of domestic violence.

“I was cooperative with the police investigation, talked with victim advocates, and testified in court to obtain a workplace restraining order to protect the clients, staff and myself from harm,” the client said. “But I was treated like a criminal, never allowed to return to my office or have contact with many dear friends and colleagues, and never allowed to say goodbye to the clients that I worked with. My whole world turned upside down. I felt betrayed by my employer when I needed support at the most vulnerable time in my life.”

Five states — Illinois, New York, Connecticut, Hawaii and Oregon — have laws that protect victims from these forms of discrimination. Several states also require workplace safety accommodations for victims.

Jackson, who is vice-chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, represents the 19th Senate district, which includes Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.

— Lisa Gardiner is the communications director for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.

 

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >