New Law Protects Victims from Wrongful Termination

Certain crime victims now enjoy additional workplace protections thanks to Governor Brown and the California Legislature this month.  The recently enacted Crime Victims Protection Law, provides that an employer may not penalize victims of certain crimes for time they take off from work in order to attend any court hearings where the victim’s rights are an issue.  That, coupled with the Victim’s Bill of Rights, insures that victims will be allowed to attend nearly every hearing on their cases.

“Victim” is defined broadly under the new law to include “any person who suffers direct or threatened physical, psychological, or financial harm as a result of the commission or attempted commission of a crime or delinquent act.” A “victim” also includes the person’s “spouse, parent, child, sibling, or guardian.”

Victims of the following offenses are included:

  • vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated;
  • felony child abuse likely to produce great bodily harm or a death;
  • assault resulting in the death of a child under eight years of age;
  • felony domestic violence;
  • felony physical abuse of an elder or dependent adult;
  • felony stalking;
  • solicitation for murder;
  • a serious felony;
  • hit-and-run causing death or injury;
  • felony driving under the influence causing injury; and
  • sexual assault.

Missing from the list of offenses is misdemeanor domestic violence, and this is primarily because such victims are already offered protection under California Labor Code 230(c).  This provision forbids discharging or retaliating against an employee who is a victim of domestic violence or a victim of sexual assault. This provision includes more than just going to court but getting help i such as from a domestic violence program or participating in safety counseling (LC 230.1).

Victims of the above listed offenses are required to give their employers advance notice, where possible, of the potential absence.  If they cannot provide notice in advance they are allowed to provide one of the following:

  • a police report listing them as the victim,
  • a valid court order protecting them from the defendant,
  • or a certification from a health care provider that they are absent due to seeking care, either physical or psychological, for the alleged abuse.

Victims may use vacation, sick leave, paid time off or any other compensatory time off for leave that would otherwise be permitted by law.

Employers are prohibited from terminating, discriminating, retaliating or otherwise penalizing employees who take advantage of the protections the new law affords.

Should they violate the law, employers may be required to pay lost wages, offer reinstatement and re-institute benefits.  Complaints regarding violations of the law are prosecuted through the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement and must be filed within one year from the date of the last discrimination.

Employers who fail to rehire, promote or otherwise restore an employee to their same or a like position, or who fail to pay appropriate damages will be guilty of a class one misdemeanor.

If you feel that you have been the victim of discrimination, or have been wrongfully terminated or denied a promotion or any other work related benefit because of a violation of the law discussed above, or if you have been wrongfully terminated for any other type of discrimination, contact Stephen Danz immediately to schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential case.

With 15 attorneys and offices in Los Angeles, Irvine, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, Fresno and San Bernardino, we welcome the opportunity to discuss your concerns in absolute confidence. Our firm litigates cases with exceptional merit and will conduct an immediate and full investigation of the facts of your case. Should we mutually agree to work together, we will prepare an aggressive litigation plan. Like you, we bring integrity, passion and expertise to our job. Contact us now for a free consultation.

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Stephen Danz

Stephen Danz has over 30 years of practical legal experience, tryin…