Question of the Month

September 2018

Question
Does your state require paid sick leave for an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, or in a household with members who are victims of domestic violence?
Answer from Alabama

Alabama does not.

For more information please contact Michael Thompson at mthompson@lehrmiddlebrooks.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from California

Yes in California. Also, businesses are allowed to acquire their own restraining orders against an employee's batterer.

For more information please contact Michael Foster at mfoster@fosteremploymentlaw.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Florida

In Florida, yes - 3 days of paid leave, although several municipalities have requirements mandating additional paid leave

For more information please contact Wayne Helsby at WHelsby@anblaw.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Georgia

Georgia does not.

For more information please contact Doug Duerr at duerr@elarbeethompson.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Hawaii

No.  Hawaii requires unpaid leave (of different duration depending on the size of the employer) for an employee who is the victim, or whose minor child is the victim, of domestic or sexual violence, but not paid leave.  Currently (late-March 2018), there is no specific authority for an employer to obtain a TRO; some judges will issue one if the facts are deemed to warrant it, while others will not.  There is a bill pending in the Hawaii Legislature which, if passed, will give employers specific authority to obtain a TRO.

For more information please contact Sarah Wang at SWang@marrjones.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Kentucky

Kentucky does not.

For more information please contact Oliver Rutherford at obr@smithandsmithattorneys.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Maryland

Yes, leave is available under the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act. Businesses do not have the ability to acquire their own restraining orders.

For more information please contact Fiona Ong at fwo@shawe.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, yes for employers with at least 11 employees.  Employers with fewer than 11 employees must still provide leave, but it may be unpaid.  Massachusetts requires employers to provide earned sick leave to employees, which must be earned at the rate of at least one hour for each 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year.  Employees are entitled to use this leave to address issues related to domestic violence.

For more information please contact Marylou Fabbo at mfabbo@skoler-abbott.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Minnesota

In Minnesota an employer has to allow the victim of abuse time off of work to obtain legal relief relating to domestic abuse, but it does not have to be paid time off unless the employer provides paid sick leave to employees.  See Minn. Stat. §§ 611A.036 and 518B.01. In addition, an employer cannot fire, threaten, or discriminate against an individual for taking reasonable time off to obtain (or attempt to) an order for protection or harassment restraining order.  Id.  Employers must also allow “a victim’s spouse or immediate family members, reasonable time off from work to attend criminal proceedings related to the victim’s case.”  Minn. Stat. § 611A.036, subd. 2. If the employer provides paid sick time, the employer must also allow its employees to use that time off to receive assistance related to sexual assault, domestic abuse or stalking.  Minn. Stat. §181.9412 The employee can also use the sick leave benefits to provide assistance to a family member who is the victim of sexual assault, domestic abuse or stalking In addition, recent Sick and Safe Time Leave ordinances passed in St. Paul and Minneapolis allow for an individual to use paid sick leave (for themselves or a family member) to obtain medical care, counseling services, or when seeking legal recourse relating to domestic violence.  

It does not appear that a business has standing to pursue a restraining order against an employee’s batterer in Minnesota.  See Minn. Stat. § 609.748 (“a person who is a victim of harassment may seek a restraining order …”).

For more information please contact Tom Revnew at TRevnew@seatonlaw.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Nevada

As of January 1, 2018, Nevada employers are required to provide up to 160 hours of leave in a 12-month period to employees who have are victims of, or whose family or household members have become the victims of, domestic violence. Such leave, however, may be “paid or unpaid by the employer.” See Senate Bill 361, § 1.  This leave may be taken either consecutively or intermittently.

Nevada law permits an employer to apply for a temporary order of protection against harassment in the workplace, which may involve domestic violence issues that invade the work environment.  See NRS 33.200 et seq.  Harassment in the workplace includes threats to cause, or an act that causes:  (a) bodily injury to a person; (b) damage to the property of a person; or (c) substantial harm to the physical or mental health or safety of a person.  NRS 33.240.  If an employer has knowledge that a specific person is the target of harassment in the workplace and the employer intends to seek a temporary order of protection, the employer shall make a good faith effort to notify the person who is the target of the harassment of the employer’s intention to seek the order.  NRS 33.260. 

For more information please contact Scott Abbott at sabbott@kzalaw.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from New York

New York State law does not require employers to provide paid sick leave for victims of domestic violence. However, New York law protects victims of domestic violence from employment discrimination, and an employer who provides paid leave (e.g., vacation, sick, or personal time off) but restricts employees from using their paid time off for purposes related to their status as a victim of domestic violence may violate New York law. See  N.Y. Exec. Law § 290 et seq. In addition, the State’s Paid Family Leave statute may allow an employee to take paid leave for a family member who is the victim of domestic violence if that family member has a “serious health condition” as defined under the statute.  New York State does not allow businesses to acquire their own restraining order against an employee’s batterer. Local law may provide separate leave or accommodation entitlements. For example, effective May 5, 2018, New York City’s paid sick leave law will expand and require that employers permit covered employees who are victims of domestic violence or who have family members who are victims of domestic violence to use their accrued paid or unpaid sick leave for “safe” time, which includes a number of activities intended to ensure the physical, psychological, and economic health and safety of victims of domestic violence, their family members, or their coworkers (for example, treatment, counselling, relocation, obtaining legal advice, and participating in legal proceedings, among others). See Int. 1313-A; N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 20-911 et seq. The New York City Human Rights Law may also require employers to provide unpaid leaves of absence as a form of reasonable accommodation for such individuals, absent undue hardship. See N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-107.1

For more information please contact Nick Bauer at NBauer@cfk-law.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from North Carolina

In North Carolina, not exactly. G.S. 50B-5.5 provides that employers may not discriminate against an employee who is absent from work due to their seeking a domestic violence restraining order, but the employee is expected to comply with the employer’s usual leave policies, including providing advance notice, unless emergency circumstances prevent such advance notice.

For more information please contact Bryan Adams at bryan.adams@vradlaw.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Oregon

In Oregon, an eligible employee who is a victim of domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault or stalking may use paid sick leave accrued under Oregon’s mandatory paid sick leave law for any of the purposes set out in Oregon’s domestic violence leave law (ORS 659A.272).  The same protections apply if the employee’s minor child or dependent is a victim of domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault or stalking.  

Oregon law does not expressly allow a victim’s employer to seek a restraining order against an employee’s batterer.

For more information please contact Chris Duckworth at cduckworth@bullardlaw.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania itself has not enacted any laws requiring paid leave for victims of domestic violence.  However, Philadelphia has adopted a municipal ordinance requiring employers to grant unpaid leave to employees who are the victims of domestic or sexual violence, or who have a family or household member who is a victim (and whose interests are not adverse to those of the employee).  Employers with less than fifty (50) employees must provide up to four workweeks of leave during any twelve-month period, and employers with fifty (50) or more employees must provide up to eight workweeks of leave during any twelve-month period.

The Pennsylvania Protection from Abuse Act does not include corporate entities in its description of who can seek relief under that Act.  However, a plaintiff seeking a Protection from Abuse Order can petition the applicable court to restrain the defendant from entering the plaintiff’s place of employment or business.  If warranted, employers can also bring criminal actions for trespass and/or harassment.

For more information please contact John Ellis at jellis@ufberglaw.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Texas

Texas does not.

For more information please contact John Freeman at jfreeman@keyharrington.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Virginia

No.  Virginia requires that employees who are the vicitims of certain crimes (including domestic violence) be permitted to take leave to attend the criminal proceedings, but the statute makes plain that the leave does not need to be paid.  The anti-discrimination portion of the law would require employers to permit the victim-employee to take paid leave on the same terms and conditions as would be available for other personal leaves.  See Va. Code §40.1-28.7:2.  Virginia’s law on protective orders appear to require that the petitioner be the individual threatened with violence, not an employer on his or her behalf.  See Va. Code §19.2-152.7:1, et seq

For more information please contact Susan Carnell at scarnell@lorengercarnell.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Washington

No.  Washington’s Paid Sick Leave law, RCW 49.46.200-210, requires employers to provide employees with one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.  This paid leave can be used in connection with domestic violence situations. RCW 49.46.210, 49.76.20-30. If an employee does not have any accrued paid sick leave, however, employers are not required to provide paid leave for this purpose. In appropriate situations, a business can contact its local law enforcement agency to notify the alleged batterer that he/she may not legally enter the business’s premises.

For more information please contact Ken Diamond at ken@winterbauerdiamond.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Wisconsin

No. Wisconsin has no law that requires employers to provide paid leave to employees who are victims of domestic violence, unless they receive a subpoena to testify in a proceeding pertaining to a crime or an action under the Children's Code or the Juvenile Justice Code. For information on leave to testify in criminal proceedings, see Leave Crime Victim Leave.  Wisconsin currently does not allow employers to petition for restraining orders on behalf of employees.

For more information please contact Laurie Petersen at LPetersen@lindner-marsack.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

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