NY City Law Prohibits Employers from Discriminating against DV Victims
Friday, July 27, 2007 3:32 PM

 Four days after Adriana Becerril missed her first day of work due to medical leave following a domestic violence assault, she received word that she had been fired.  In response, Becerril is suing her former employer under a New York City Human Rights Law which requires employers to reasonably accommodate victims of domestic violence.

Over one million women are victims of domestic violence each year in the United States, and about half say they have lost jobs due in part to abuse.  Employment can be vital for victims, providing them with safe space and a source of independent income which can enable victims to leave their abusers.  The New York City law is meant to allow victims to discuss their situation with employers and receive time off in emergency situations.  Currently, eleven states have similar laws prohibiting employers from discriminating against domestic violence victims. 

However, Becerril is only the second person to sue under the New York City law, possibly due to a combination of the stigma associated with domestic violence and a lack of information about the law.  The first case, Reynolds v. Fraser, 781 N.Y.S.2d 885, occurred in 2004.  Reynolds was fired because she violated her employer’s policy requiring employees to stay home while on sick leave because she had left her abusive husband.  The judge held that her employer had violated the law because it failed to make reasonable accommodations, and ordered her reinstated to the job with back pay.

Compiled from: "Battered New Yorker Sues Employer for Firing Her," Alison Bowen, Women's eNews, 26 July 2007.