California Expands Protections for Employees Who Are Victims of A Crime or Abuse
On September 28, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2992, which imposes further limitations on employers from discharging, discriminating, or retaliating against an employee who is a victim of crime or abuse. Before the passage of this legislation, under Labor Code section 230, employers were prohibited from discharging an employee for taking time off to serve on a jury or appear in court pursuant to a subpoena or court order. Labor Code section 230.1 required employers of 25 or more employees to allow an employee who was a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, and/or stalking to take time off to seek medical attention or related services.
AB 2992 expands the protections under Labor Code 230 and 230.1 to a victim of a crime, or public offenses as outlined in Section 13951 of the Government Code, which caused a physical or mental injury, or a threat of physical injury, regardless of whether any person is arrested for, prosecuted for, or convicted of, committing the crime.
The bill also revises the categories of time off work under these circumstances, to include taking time off to work to seek medical attention for injuries caused by crime or abuse, to obtain services from prescribed entities as a result of crime or abuse, to obtain psychological counseling or mental health services related to an experience of crime or abuse, or to participate in safety planning and take other actions to increase safety from future crimes or abuse.
Under the amended legislation, an employee shall give advance notice unless it is not feasible. If an unscheduled absence is taken, the employee within a reasonable time must provide one of the following as certification for the absence:
- A police report,
- A court order protecting or separating the employee from the perpetrator
- Documentation from a licensed medical professional or similar,
- Any other form of documentation that reasonably verifies the crime or abuse occurred.