New York Employer Revamps Workplace Policies Regarding Victims of Domestic Violence

Buffalo, NY Wife works in sales at a Store in a large retail chain.

Wife and Husband are divorced. There is a history of domestic abuse.

Husband makes a threat against Wife’s life.

Upon Wife’s arrival at work the following day, Wife alerts Store security as to the threat.

Store Security rapidly develops a plan in case Husband comes to the Store.

Nonetheless, shortly thereafter, Wife is told to depart the Store and remain away until she secures a domestic violence restraining order of protection against Husband.

New York law prohibits discrimination in the workplace, including retaliation or harassment against domestic abuse victims.

Wife is in touch with the New York Attorney General’s office, and they initiate an investigation which culminates in action against the Store chain.

Store welcomes Wife back to work.

As part of its settlement with the state, Store agrees to provide education to all New York employees regarding the New York law prohibiting workplace discrimination against employees who are victims of domestic abuse.

Also as part of its settlement, Store amends its company policy barring victims of abuse from working in the absence of domestic violence restraining orders of protection.

Studies show that domestic violence victims all too often end up out of a job as a result of being a victim of abuse.

Studies further show that exclusion from their workplace creates economic and psychological stress, and may increase physical danger to victims of abuse.

Still, there may be circumstances where excluding a victim of domestic violence from the workplace may be lawful and appropriate.