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New domestic violence law to affect all employers come January 1.

A new law affecting all employers, regardless of size, will take effect January 1, 2018. If one of your employees, or his/her family member(s), is the victim of domestic violence, you will be required to allow him/her up to 160 hours (20 full-time days) off from work within a 12-month period. You are also required to affect the operations of your business if so requested by such an employee.

SB 361 requires all employers to provide certain protections for employees who are the victims of domestic violence – or whose family or household members are victims of domestic violence. The protections are afforded to any employee who has been an employee (regardless of part-time or full-time status) for at least 90 days.

For purposes of the new law, “domestic violence” includes assault, battery, threat of force, stalking and destruction of private property.

As an employer, you are required to allow such an employee 160 hours of leave within the 12-month period following an incident of domestic violence. The time is to be used for medical treatment; counseling; court proceedings or the development of a safety plan. Additionally, an employer cannot deny an employee the right to take this time off or force the employee to find a replacement for the time off.

Additionally, unless the employer proves a hardship, the company must provide a reasonable accommodation for the employee, including but not limited to:

  • A transfer or reassignment;
  • A modified schedule;
  • A new telephone number for work;
  • Or any other reasonable accommodation.

The employer must also keep and maintain records of the hours taken by such an employee for two years and make those records available to the Labor Commissioner.

Generally, laws that protect employees have a minimum threshold of employees (usually 15) before the employer has to comply. This law affects all employers. As such, you must be aware of this new law and have a plan for implementation by January 1, 2018. As always, Gordon Law is here to help you to operate your business within the confines of the law – even as it changes.

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