California Labor Code §230.1 requires an employer with 25 or more employees to provide victims of domestic violence or sexual assault unpaid time off for up to 12 weeks to obtain help from a court; to seek medical attention; to obtain services from an appropriate shelter, program or crisis center; to obtain psychological counseling; or to participate in safety planning, such as permanent or temporary relocation.
Labor Codes §230 and §230.1 currently prohibit an employer from discharging or discriminating or retaliating against an employee who is a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault for taking time off from work in connection with court proceedings or to seek medical attention and other specified services as a result of these crimes against them.
S.B. 400 further extends the time-off protections to include employees who are victims of stalking. The law prohibits discharge, discrimination and retaliation against employees because of their status as victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking if the employees/victims provide notice to their employers or the employers have actual knowledge of this status.
Employers are also required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking and who request an accommodation for their safety while on the employer’s premises.
Reasonable accommodations may include the implementation of safety measures, such as:
- Job transfer.
- Job reassignment.
- Modified schedule.
- Changed work telephone.
- Changed workstation.
- Lock installation.
- Assistance in documenting domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking that occurs in the workplace.
- Implementation of safety procedures.
- Adjustment to job structure, the workplace facility or work requirements in response to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
- Referral to a victim assistance organization.
As with disability accommodations, employers are required to engage in a timely, good-faith interactive process with the employee to determine effective reasonable accommodations.
An employer may request that an employee provide a written certification that the employee is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, and that the requested accommodation is for the safety of the victim while at work. The employer may request recertification every six months. Any documentation provided to an employer identifying an employee as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking must be kept confidential and must not be disclosed by the employer except as required by law or as necessary for the safety of employees in the workplace. The employer must give the employee notice before any disclosure of the information is made.
The employee may request a new accommodation based on changed circumstances, and, in such a case, the employer must repeat the interactive process with the employee.
Employees are required to notify their employers when an accommodation is no longer needed.
Employers are prohibited from retaliating against an employee who has requested a reasonable accommodation, whether the request was granted or not. S.B. 400 authorizes reinstatement, back pay and injunctive relief for violations of the law.