During the fall 2020 Legislative Session, several new employment laws were enacted, including Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s AB 2992 (D-San Diego), which prohibits employers from “discharging, or discriminating or retaliating against, an employee who is a victim of crime or abuse for taking time off from work to obtain or attempt to obtain relief.”
Business leaders were largely agreeable to the AB 2992 measure, which was signed by Governor Newsom and goes into effect on January 1, 2021. The bill allows survivors of violent crimes and family members of homicide victims to take unpaid leave after the crime without losing their jobs. Previous language only allowed these provisions to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking.
The AB 2992 legislation includes the provision that employees are granted the leave “regardless of whether any person is arrested for, prosecuted for, or convicted of, committing the crime.”
Acceptable documentation includes a police report indicating the employee was a victim, a court order, documentation from a licensed medical professional, victim advocate or counselor, or any other documents that “reasonably verifies” that the crime or abuse occurred.
Employers with 25 or more workers have additional obligations under the AB 2992 law, entitling crime victims to take job-protected leave to:
(1) seek medical attention for injuries caused by the crime or abuse;
(2) obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, program, rape crisis center or victim services organization or agency as a result of the crime or abuse;
(3) obtain psychological counseling or mental health services related to the crime or abuse; or
(4) participate in safety planning or take other actions to increase safety from future crime or abuse.
Upon the employees return to work, employers are expected to provide “reasonable accommodations,” which may include “a transfer, reassignment, modified schedule, changed work telephone, changed work station, installed lock, assistance in documenting domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or other crime that occurs in the workplace, an implemented safety procedure, or another adjustment to a job structure, workplace facility, or work requirement in response to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or other crime, or referral to a victim assistance organization.”
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