As an American worker, you have all sorts of rights afforded to you. So many in fact that it is understandable if you don't know them all. For the most part, it is your employer's responsibility to keep you informed of the rights you have that fit your situation. However, in cases of domestic violence, an employer may feel uneasy approaching an employee to discuss leave. That is why it is important for victims of domestic violence to know the rights they have when it comes to a leave of absence from work.
Not all states have laws regarding work leave for domestic violence victims. However, California is one of several states that does. Here in California, an employer that employs 25 people or more, must allow employees to take leave for certain reasons related to domestic violence. There are requirements that employees must meet for employers to grant this leave but once it is granted, the law prohibits employers from terminating employment because of the leave of absence.
If the leave is planned, the employee must give adequate advance notice. A scheduled leave would work if the employee needs extended medical care, counseling or a chance to relocate. In cases where the leave is taken due to an urgent issue related to domestic violence, the law prohibits employers from terminating employment if the employee provides documentation for the leave. Documentation may include a police report, letter from a medical professional, or a court order of protection.
These laws are in place to help victims of domestic abuse keep their jobs while they get the help they need. If you have suffered from domestic abuse, and were terminated from your job as a result of a necessary leave, speaking to a trusted employment law attorney may help. An advocate with knowledge of employment law may be able to help you become reinstated with your employer.