CALIFORNIA'S DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAW NOTICE REQUIREMENTS GO INTO EFFECT IMMEDIATELY
California's Domestic Violence Law provides protections for employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Employers with 25 or more employees cannot discharge, or in any way discriminate or retaliate against these employees for taking time off from work for related reasons. For example, employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking must be permitted to take time off from work to seek medical attention, receive psychological counseling, obtain victim services, or participate in safety planning and cannot be retaliated against for doing so. The law also makes clear that employers must provide reasonable accommodations to employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and/or stalking, which can include a leave of absence.
Last year, California passed a law requiring employers to provide certain information about the law to newly hired employees and to existing employees upon request. However, employers were not obligated to provide this notice until the California Labor Commissioner's office developed a form that employers could use for this purpose.
The Labor Commissioner has now developed this form, available here. With the publication of this form by the Labor Commissioner, compliance with the notice requirement has now gone into effect. However, the notice need not be posted in the workplace. Rather, the form states that "Employers Must Provide this Information to New Workers When Hired and to Other Workers Who Ask for it."
Accordingly, Employers should immediately add this notice to their packet of new-hire forms provided to new employees and have it available to provide to existing employees upon request. If an employer elects not to use the form developed by the Labor Commissioner, written notice must still be provided, and the notice provided by the employer must be substantially similar in content and clarity to the form developed by the Labor Commissioner.
Lastly, employers would also do well to include reference to employees' rights to take time off pursuant to California's Domestic Violence Law in the employee handbook, and to make sure that management employees tasked with administering and enforcing leave laws are aware of these rights.
If you have any questions about the matters discussed in this issue of Compliance Matters, please call your firm contact at (818) 508-3700 or visit us online at www.brgslaw.com.
Sincerely, Richard S. Rosenberg Katherine A. Hren Stephanie A. Kantor Ballard Rosenberg Golper & Savitt, LLP