Florida’s Domestic Violence Work Leave Law May Help Some Victims
It is assumed that most employers in most workplaces keep an environment that is free from violence, especially when it comes to domestic violence. It is also likely that employers may be very sensitive to employees who are victims of domestic violence at home, even if it has nothing to do with their workplace. But did you know that employers have an obligation to provide some assistance to employees who are victims of domestic violence?
Florida Law Provides Some Protections
Florida’s Domestic Violence Leave Law provides certain protections for employees who are domestic violence victims, even if the domestic violence has nothing to do with their job, their employer or their workplace. However, the law is not as powerful for employees as it should be.
The law allows employees three days off of work if they have been victims of violence at home. The law also requires that the leave be given for employees whose family members (or members of the household, even if they aren’t biological family members) are victims.
Drawbacks and Weaknesses in the Law
That is a positive step-but the law has some weaknesses. First, it is up to the employer whether or not to pay the employee or not. You will have to ask your employer whether the days off are paid or not.
The law also puts requirements on how that time off can be used. It says that the time off is to be used for (1) getting professional help (legal, medical, psychological, housing/re-housing or other professional assistance) (2) obtaining a court order to stop the domestic violence or (3) seek new, safer housing. The law does not say what happens if the victim does not use the time off for these purposes-although in all likelihood, if the leave is given by the employer, it is possible that the employer will not inquire as to what the victim did during the three day leave.
The employee must tell the employer in advance of the leave, if at all possible, although there is an exception if giving the advanced notice will put the employee in any danger.
The employee may also have to provide documentation of the domestic violence, as the law allows an employer to ask for it. Some forms of documentation can include police reports, medical bills, emails, or anything else that would support the employees request for leave.
Realistically, many domestic violence incidents don’t have paper documentation, and it is not clear in the law what happens if there is no such documentation (although it is hoped that any victim of violence at home would at least have a police report, if the incident was reported).
The law also allows your employer to make you use personal or sick days that you have for the domestic violence purpose, before getting leave. This forces the employee to lose valuable (sometimes paid) time off before getting the three days leave under the law.
Contact the Miami employment attorneys at Velasquez & Associates P.A. today for help if you have a problem at work with an employer or employee.