Employees Who are Domestic Violence Victims Have to be Given Leave
Domestic violence is a terrible thing, and many of us do whatever we can to bring awareness to this scourge. Your business should be aware of the laws that your business must follow when you have employees that are victims of domestic violence.
The Domestic Violence Leave Law
The law is called the Florida Domestic Violence Leave Law. For employees to be covered under the law, they must have been employees for at least 3 months with their current employer, and only businesses with 50 or more employers must comply with the law.
The law requires that an employee be given up to three days off of work during any one year period of time. Any employee who has been a victim of domestic violence must be given the leave, but even employees who have a family or household member who has been a victim of domestic violence must be given leave as well.
The employer has the choice whether to pay the employee during these three days, but it may be good policy to do so.
The law specifies that the leave must be requested to seek medical care, get legal or professional domestic violence help, get help from a victim crisis center, seek housing, or get a court order to protect against future acts of violence.
What the Employee Has to Provide
The employee, who is the victim of abuse (which includes sexual abuse as well), also has some responsibility. Specifically, the employee must tell his or her employer that he or she intends to take leave in advance. There is an exception if giving such notice would result in imminent danger to the safety of the employee.
Employers can ask for documentation of the act of domestic violence—although for practical purposes, there may not be such documentation. Documentation could include a police report, or information from a hospital or doctor. Remember that the law doesn’t require proof that the event actually happened—the victim doesn’t have to prove his or her case to an employer. Any information given or told to the employer when the employee is requesting leave, must be kept confidential.
The law also allows an employer to require that the employee asking for leave, use available personal or sick days before the employer grants leave. For employees who are victims, this may be seen as a harsh treatment, having to surrender needed vacation or sick days, after having suffered at the hands of an abuser.
Additionally, employers cannot retaliate against employees who request the leave. Retaliation can include demotions, bad notes in personnel files, denials of promotions, denials of raises, or other action that can be construed as negative in the workplace.
Whether you are an employee or employer, we can help with your employment law problems and tell you what your rights are. Call the West Palm Beach employment law attorneys at Pike & Lustig, LLP, at 561-291-8298.