A bill currently in discussion in the California State Legislature proposes to protect victims of stalking from employment discrimination related to the abuse. Bill Number SB400 was proposed by State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara, in partnership with a number of anti-discrimination organizations. The bill would see California join five other states in passing legislation to protect the economic security of survivors of abuse.
What is the current law?
Existing anti-discrimination law in the California Labor Code provides protection for victims of domestic violence or sexual assault against discrimination from their employer for taking time off from work in order to obtain a restraining order. If an employer discriminates against such an employee for taking time off, the employee is entitled to be reinstated and reimbursed for lost wages and work benefits.
What safeguards would the bill introduce?
Under the proposed law, several new safeguards of the economic security of victims of abuse would be created:
The protections regarding taking time off that are already enshrined in the law would be extended to victims of stalking
The bill adds a prohibition of discriminating against an employee because of their status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, if their status is known to the employer
Employers would be required to provide reasonable accommodations for the victim to protect the safety of the victim while at work, such as reassignment, a modified schedule or a new work station
Employees that suffer victim status discrimination or if their employer does not provide reasonable accommodation would be entitled to file suit to enforce their rights