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Workplace rights for domestic violence victims

Victims of domestic violence in New Jersey now have the right to request time off from work. A new law in the state will allow the victims to take up to twenty days off work to deal with issues arising from domestic violence issues. The employee must have worked for the employer for at least one year and for at least 1,000 hours during the previous 12 months.

The employee requesting the unpaid leave must comply with the employer's request for letters from the courts, doctor's notes, police reports and similar information in order to show that the request is valid. Employers are required by the New Jersey Department of Labor to post information about the new law.

The new legislation, called the NJ Safe Act, is the latest of several laws to be passed by other states that are now attempting to provide job security to victims of domestic violence. Federal laws do not currently exist regarding this situation, but Congress is currently considering similar legislation. Employers are at risk for fines and lawsuits if they do not comply with the new law. Employees have a responsibility to notify the employer about their request for leave as far ahead as possible.

An employee who has been a victim of domestic violence and whose employment may be at risk as a result may wish to speak with an attorney that is experienced in family law matters. Such an attorney may be able to determine whether applicable state law may be able to provide protection to the employee. That attorney may also be able to advise whether the issuance of a restraining or other form of protective order is available.

Source: Forbes, "Domestic Violence And Sexual Assault, NJ Becomes The Latest To Provide Leave For Victimized Employees", Gene Connors, September 26, 2013

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