Protections for Employees Who are Victims of Domestic Violence
New Florida legislation providing leave for domestic violence victims could create liability for employers not in compliance. Effective July 1, 2007, Fla. Stat. § 741.313 provides leave for employees who are victims of domestic violence and prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee for exercising this right. This statute only applies to businesses with 50 or more employees. Violations of this legislation could leave employers liable to their employees for lost wages and benefits up to the date of the trial.
Employees are required to use all annual leave available before using the leave provided under the statute, unless this requirement is waived by the employer. It is up to the discretion of the employer whether or not this leave will be paid. Employers may request advance notice of the leave except in cases of imminent danger.
Guidelines to insulate your business from liability:
- Revise your employee handbook to reflect this change in legislation.
- Create policies to govern advance notice and documentation needed prior to taking leave.
- Leave is only available to employees who have been employed for at least three months.
- Leave is limited to three days within a 12-month period.
- The employee is eligible for leave if the employee or a family household member is the victim of domestic violence.
- Employees are restricted in the use of the leave. Leave can only be sought to:
- seek an injunction for protection against domestic violence;
- obtain medical care or mental health counseling;
- obtain services from a victim-services organization
- make the employee’s home secure or find new housing
- seek legal assistance to address issues arising from the act of domestic violence and attend court-related proceedings arising from the act of domestic violence
- All information relating to the employee’s leave must remain confidential.
The Schwarzberg & Associates Employment Law and Compliance Team has extensive experience in developing effective policies, procedures and proactive responsive measures to deal with a myriad of workplace issues. Please do not hesitate to contact one of our members; Steve Schwarzberg or Lisa Kohring at (561) 659-3300 to obtain more information about our firm and its various employment law compliance and defense services.