Governor Signs Jackson Bill to Prevent Firing of Domestic Violence Victims
Governor Jerry Brown has a signed a bill by State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) that protects domestic violence victims from losing their jobs or being discriminated against at work.
Senate Bill 400 prevents employers from firing or discriminating against an employee who has been a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. SB 400 would also require employers to make reasonable efforts to protect these victims from their abuser or stalker, such as changing their work telephone number, relocating their desk, or implementing a workplace safety plan. The bill takes effect on January 1, 2014.
“I commend the Governor for signing this bill, which protects victims from job loss and discrimination at a time when they most need support and a steady paycheck,” said Jackson. “Victims will no longer fear losing their livelihoods and being re-victimized in the workplace because of the actions of their abusers. They will no longer fear retribution if they talk about these issues with an employer. And we will no longer send the mistaken message to employees that silence about these issues in the workplace is the same as safety.”
Jackson added, “I strongly believe that an unknown threat to a workplace is much more dangerous than a known threat. With information, employees and employers can work together to make a victim safer, their co-workers safer, and the entire workplace safer.”
As the bill made its way through the Legislature, Carie Charlesworth, a former San Diego area teacher who made national news headlines when she was let go from her teaching job after her abusive ex-husband visited her school campus, became a proponent of the bill, traveling to Sacramento and testifying in support of it.
“It’s incredibly gratifying to know that because SB 400 has been signed into law, thousands of domestic violence victims won’t have to experience what I did – the devastation and financial uncertainty of losing a job and their professional identity just because they are victims of domestic violence,” said Charlesworth. “I am thankful to Senator Jackson for all the time and effort she put into this legislation. And I am grateful to her for allowing me to make a difference and be a vocal proponent of this bill. I am also thankful that the Governor signed this important legislation. Domestic violence is an important issue that needs to be addressed. By signing SB 400, the Governor is helping victims better their lives without the fear of losing their financial security. ”