Domestic Violence Victim Discrimination
Famighetti & Weinick PLLC are domestic violence discrimination lawyers representing victims on Long Island and in New York City.
According to the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, there were nearly 3,000 hospital inpatient discharges identified as domestic violence-related events statewide spanning the last quarter of 2016 through the third quarter of 2017. These numbers represent a 16 percent increase when compared to the previous timeframe for 2015-2016. Perhaps even more disheartening is the fact that there is significant evidence showing that the majority of domestic violence cases go unreported entirely.
Given these grim statistics, and the mental, physical, and emotional toll domestic violence takes on its victims, it stands to reason that victims of domestic violence would benefit from employment laws protecting them from discriminatory or unfair treatment due to the employee's status as a domestic violence victim. In fact, according to the American Bar Association, there is extensive research demonstrating that victims of domestic violence, sexual offenses, and stalking, are adversely affected in the workplace.
Currently, federal law does not provide victims of domestic violence, sex offenses, and stalking with any specific protections from employment discrimination (although several bills have been introduced since the mid-1990s that would allow domestic violence victims to collect unemployment insurance). However, under both New York State and New York City laws, domestic violance victims are protected from employment discrimination, and are afforded the right to reasonable accommodations in an employment context.
Under the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), it is an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to discriminate against individuals who have been victims of domestic violence. Unlawful discrimination can include firing the individual, refusing to hire the victim, or otherwise making negative employment decisions which affect the victim's terms of employment. Domestic violence victims are defined as any individual who is a victim of an act which would be unlawful under the Family Court Act. Suffice it to say, the definition generally includes victims of various degrees of assault, harassment, menacing, forcible touching, sexual abuse, and stalking at the hands of a family member.
What might employment discrimination against a domestic violence victim look like? If, for example, an employer discovers that an employee has an order of protection against a spouse because the spouse attacked the employee, the employer may not terminate that employee solely for that reason. In addition, an employer must work with and reasonably accommodate a domestic violence victim employee by allowing for time off to attend court dates, meet with counselors or attorneys, and other related matters.
If you are a domestic violence victim and live in New York City, the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) provides even broader protections than the NYSHRL. The NYCHRL prohibits discrimination in employment against employees who actually or are perceived to be victims of domestic violence, stalking, or a sex offense.
Unlike the NYSHRL, the NYCHRL laws on discrimination against domestic violence victims are not limited to familial relationships, and instead broadly defines a domestic violence victim. As is the case with NYSHRL, the NYCHRL requires employers to make efforts to reasonably accommodate victims of domestic violence.
The domestic violence discrimination lawyers at Famighetti & Weinick PLLC can represent victims in all types of Domestic Violence discrimination cases. If you believe your employer has discriminated against you due to your status as a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking, please do not hesitate to contact one of our employment attorneys today.