Monday, December 22, 2014

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Clasp ‘Stalking’ Under SB 400

In general, as defined and stated under the California Penal Code and civil stalking statute, stalking is well-defined as embracing a pattern of unpleasant action or misconduct with the primary intention of causing alarm or even harassment to the victim. Undeniably, it has been indeed a major problem being suffered by human race for decades. Stalking comes in many forms and could happen anywhere including the workplace.

In a study released on January 13, 2008, the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics stressed about 130,000 stalking victims testified that they were fired or asked to leave their job due to it. According to the overall gathered data, anxiety for safety and inconveniences caused when getting a restraining order or even testifying in court are some of the reasons why 1 in 8 employed stalking victims lost time for their work.

Consequently, employment protection welcomes stalking as it has been finally approved to jam with domestic violence and sexual assault prohibitions stated under the Labor Code, specifically, Sections 230 and 230.1, signed by California Governor Jerry Brown, last October 11, 2013. This went into effect starting January 1, 2014.

While prior version of the California Labor Code shields employees away from distresses which are limited to domestic violence and sexual assault alone, the amended law now considers stalking as additional aspect under employment protections expected to be favorably adored by all employees and to serve their welfare much better. It settles bars in between an employee and any discrimination or retaliation actions of a particular employer opposing his or her employee. In fact, similar protections were amended to the victims of stalking together with the preys of domestic violence and sexual assault.  It also declares that discrimination against any of these victims because of their status and creating obligation privileges similar to those made especially for disabled employees is considered, by any grounds, unlawful.

Moreover, reasonable accommodation provision demands employers to be accountable for implementing and refining accommodations that guarantees reliable security for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, in the workplace. These accommodations may include schedule modification, casual changing of work telephone number or even work station, assistance in petitions regarding the three aspects, and other security actions.

On the other hand, in accordance to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, California Civil Code § 12926, accommodations which may trigger an undue hardship to potentially affect the business operations of a particular employer will not be permitted.

Furthermore, in spite of any time limitations written in Section 98.7, a complainant [employee] may file a claim regarding committed violation in reference to the law within a year from its occurrence.