Williams-Sonoma Inc., which has a store in Manhattan Beach, has co-sponsored a bill just signed by the state Senate that would protect domestic violence victims from work discrimination.
On Thursday, the state Legislature approved SB 400, a bill authored by
State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) to provide
employment protections to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault
The Assembly passed the bill Monday, Sept. 9 and Thursday the Senate concurred, both with strong bipartisan support.
Senate Bill 400 now heads to Governor Jerry Brown, who has until Oct. 13, to act on the measure.
The bill would make it illegal for an employer to terminate or
otherwise discriminate against an employee based on his or her known
status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
The bill also entitles victims to reasonable safety accommodations at the workplace.
violence, sexual assault, and stalking have a harmful effect on the
ability of victims to maintain employment, jeopardizing a victim’s
safety and stable source of income.
According to a recent study
conducted by Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center’s Project
SURVIVE, nearly 40 percent of survivors were fired or feared termination
because of domestic violence.
“The most common reason that
victims choose to stay in, or return to, violent relationships is
economic insecurity,” said Kathy Moore, Interim Executive Director for
the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence.
California law allows survivors to take job-protected time off work to
obtain court relief or other assistance related to abuse, it does not
expressly bar employers from firing employees just for being victims.
Nor does it specifically require employers to provide safety accommodations to those experiencing abuse.
LAS-ELC hears from many survivors who are struggling to maintain
their employment while keeping themselves and their families safe.
A recent caller was fired from her job of 14 years after disclosing to her boss that she was a victim of domestic violence.
caller’s manager fired her because she had explained that she was
legally changing her name as part of her effort to escape her abuser.
LAS-ELC Staff Attorney Rachael Langston said, “Without the means
to support themselves and their children, survivors often feel they
have no choice but to remain in a violent relationship.”
states – Illinois, New York, Connecticut, Hawaii, Oregon, and Rhode
Island, as well as Puerto Rico – already have laws that protect victims
from discrimination and several of these laws also provide for
SB 400 is cosponsored by Legal
Aid Society-Employment Law Center, the California Partnership to End
Domestic Violence, and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault,
and is supported by a broad coalition of organizations, including
women’s, labor and civil rights groups, law enforcement, and employers
such as Williams-Sonoma, Inc.