Pittsburgh Issues Important Guidance for Employers Related to Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence
Following the passage of a bill that expanded the City’s anti-discrimination law to include employee “status as a victim of domestic violence,” Pittsburgh recently published additional guidance for employers.
The guidance explains that employers must reasonably accommodate employees who are domestic violence victims, unless they can prove that doing so would cause undue hardship on the financial or administrative operation of the employer. Examples of reasonable accommodations listed in the guidance include: (a) modifying the layout of a workspace; (b) adjusting work schedules; (c) allowing for leave for survivors of domestic violence; (d) enhancing policies to ensure security; (e) transfer or reassignment; (f) change of a telephone number or email; (g) installation of a lock/security devices or equipment; and (h) developing code words to allow employees to safely signal a need for help such as security or police.
The guidance also makes clear that employers have a duty to engage in the interactive process with employees who are domestic violence victims. Employers must document all efforts to initiate, engage in, and conclude the interactive process. The guidance also reminds employers that survivors of domestic violence may not have access to “readily apparent proof of violence” and therefore specifically notes that it can be harmful for the employer to demand “proof.” Retaliation is prohibited against employees who request reasonable accommodations related to domestic violence.
The Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations is the city agency tasked with investigating complaints under the Bill.