Thanks to the efforts of a tenacious domestic violence victim, workers in California now have more protection against losing their jobs as a result of the domestic violence. In January, a second grade teacher in El Cajon was placed on leave after her ex-husband showed up in the school’s parking lot. The teacher had a restraining order against her ex-husband because he had been physically abusive in the past. She made the school aware of the situation.

In April of this year, the teacher received a notice that because of the situation created by her former husband, her contract would not be renewed for the following school year. The school expressed concern about the safety of the students, faculty and parents if they allowed her to continue working for them. The teacher filed a lawsuit against the school, claiming she was wrongfully terminated.

As a result of her termination, the teacher joined forces with a California state senator who had already introduced a bill that would protect domestic violence victims from losing their jobs or facing workplace discrimination. The bill was signed into law this week and will go into effect on January 1.

Unfortunately, prior to this bill being passed domestic violence victims were often at risk for losing their jobs because of the violence. A study from the Legal Aid Society’s Employment Law Center found that almost 40 percent of domestic violence abuse victims in California reported either being fired or being afraid of being fired because of the abuse.

This law, which protects domestic violence victims from losing their jobs because of the violence, is a welcome relief to the thousands of domestic violence victims across the state of California. In many cases, these women (and sometimes men) are afraid for their health and safety, as well as the safety of their children, and then must also worry about losing their jobs because of a violent spouse or partner.

There are also many other bases upon which employers in California cannot discriminate in employment beside domestic violence. They include age, ancestry, color, religious creed, disability (including HIV and AIDS), marital status, medical condition, genetic information, national origin, race, sex (including pregnancy and childbirth), gender, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. If an employer either discriminates against you in any aspect of employment based upon one of these reasons, or if you are harassed for one of these reasons, you have legal options. You can file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. You may also choose to file a lawsuit, and there are a variety of legal remedies to which you may be entitled.

If you have experienced discrimination in the workplace in the San Francisco area, call Micha Star Liberty of Liberty Law at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that no one should be discriminated against at work based on anything other than the way they perform their job, and if they are, the responsible parties should be held responsible. Call Liberty Law today to learn more about your legal rights and options.

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