(Brooklyn, New York) — Legislation sponsored by Senator Roxanne J. Persaud that protects victims of domestic violence from discrimination in the workplace was signed into law yesterday by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Later in the day on Tuesday, Aug. 20, Governor Cuomo signed Bill S1040, which establishes victims of domestic violence as a protected class in the employment provisions of the Human Rights Law. Being a victim of domestic violence comes with numerous struggles; and an often-overlooked issue is the impact a survivor faces in the workplace. It can be difficult for victims to obtain and maintain employment due to the stresses caused by domestic violence, the abuser’s interference with the victim’s ability to perform in the workplace and/or the need to access services that are necessary for safety. This legislation seeks to ameliorate these challenges.
“Victims of domestic violence are forced to deal with far-reaching, lasting ramifications that can understandably interfere with their work schedules,” Governor Cuomo said. “By signing this measure into law we are strengthening our nation-leading domestic violence protection laws and ensuring survivors never have to fear losing their job as they deal with the aftermath of these unthinkable traumas.”
The newly signed law allows New York State to ensure that victims will not be prevented from obtaining or maintaining employment because of their status as victims of domestic violence. It also will allow employees a reasonable accommodation in taking time off to, for example, seek medical attention or counseling, or appear in court on matters related to incidents of domestic violence, including child protective proceedings, unless time off would constitute an undue hardship for the employer.
“Following the signing of the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act, New York is once again on the right side in protecting victims of domestic violence with the signing of this legislation into law,” Senator Persaud said. “This legislation will expand assistance to allow those victims who are employed to take the necessary time off to heal from trauma that no one should ever have to go through; and it protects them from unnecessary discrimination in the workplace. It is my hope that nobody will have to use these new measures but that New York continues to lead the nation in supporting victims of domestic violence and their families.”