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Legal rights for domestic violence victims

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2023 | Employment Law |

Being a victim of domestic violence affects every area of your life, including your employment.

Whether you are still experiencing domestic violence or just escaped an abusive situation, you may need some time off work to process what you have been through and get yourself into a safe environment.

Telling your employer about your situation is something you probably want to avoid. However, as a victim of domestic violence, you have rights under New Jersey law when it comes to your employment.

Therefore, disclosing your situation to your employer can help you assert these rights.

Earned and unpaid sick leave

Under New Jersey law, your employer may have to provide you with up to 40 hours of earned sick leave if you are dealing with domestic or sexual violence. This leave is paid by your employer.

Additionally, you can also request up to 20 days of unpaid leave from your job under the New Jersey SAFE Act. This leave is job protected, meaning that your employer cannot fire or terminate you because of your situation or because you took the time off.

Leave to care for your medical needs

A common reason that domestic violence victims miss work is because they are hospitalized or need medical treatment for injuries caused by the domestic violence.

Even if the injuries do not require hospitalization, victims sometimes stay home from work out of embarrassment, since they do not want their managers, customers or co-workers to see their injuries.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows domestic violence victims up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave if they cannot work because they need to care for a serious medical condition caused by domestic violence. This is also job protected leave.

Helping victims and those who support them

These laws apply both to domestic violence victims and individuals who miss work due to caring for or supporting a domestic violence victim. This means if you have a loved one experiencing domestic violence, you could still take advantage of these protections.

You should not have to worry about losing your job as you are dealing with an abusive situation. Employment attorneys can advise you on your rights and help you make sure your job is protected.