Earlier this month, California passed a law which will prohibit employers from discriminating against employees who were victims of domestic violence. A domestic violence victim named Carie Charlesworth championed this legislation after her employer fired her because her abusive ex-husband showed up at her workplace. Charlesworth worked at a school and, rather than support her, the school chose to fire her in order to address the problem. The District of Columbia is also considering a law similar to the one passed in California.
“Victims will no longer fear losing their livelihoods and being re-victimized in the workplace because of the actions of their abusers. They will no longer fear retribution if they talk about these issues with an employer. And we will no longer send the mistaken message to employees that silence about these issues in the workplace is the same as safety,” said Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara.
Maine does not prohibit employment discrimination against domestic violence victims. There is a law in Maine, however, which requires employers to provide victims of domestic violence with time off from work with or without pay to prepare for and attend court proceedings; receive medical treatment; or obtain necessary services to remedy a crisis caused by domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Employers must provide an employee with this leave if the employee or the employee’s daughter, son, parent, or spouse is a victim of violence, assault, sexual assault, stalking, or any act that would support a protection from abuse order.
If your employer has refused to provide you with this type of leave from work, you should contact an experienced employment lawyer to learn how you can best protect your rights.