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Know the Laws: California

UPDATED January 2, 2017

Workplace Protections

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California state law provides employment protections for domestic violence victims who need to take time off from work to handle issues related to domestic violence.

What you must provide to your employer

back to topHow much notice do I need to give my employer if I need to take time off from work to deal with domestic violence?

You must tell your employer ahead of time if you need time off from work to deal with domestic violence against you or your children unless it is impossible to do so. California law does not say exactly how many days in advance you need to tell your employer – just that you must give “reasonable advance notice.”*  However, it is wise to tell your employer as early as possible, if you know that you will need a certain day or days off to go to court, to see a doctor, or to take time off to prevent domestic violence or sexual assault.

If there is an emergency because of domestic violence or sexual assault and you cannot give advance notice, your employer cannot fire you or punish you for taking an “unscheduled absence” (sudden time off from work).  However, within a reasonable amount of time after your absence, you have to give your employer proof that that you were absent because of domestic violence or sexual assault.**  For examples of what types of proof you can give, see Do I need to give my employer any documentation (any proof in writing), if I take time off from work for my domestic violence situation?

Note: It might be a good idea to ask your employer in writing for the time off to deal with domestic violence issues and to keep a copy of the letter. This way, if the employer denies you the time off, you have some proof that you asked for it in case you decide to bring legal action against the employer for violating the law.

* Ann.Cal.Labor Code § 230.1(b)(1) & 230(d)(1)
** Ann.Cal.Labor Code §§ 230.1(b)(2) & 230(d)(2)

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back to topDo I need to give my employer any documentation (proof in writing) if I take time off for my domestic violence situation?

The answer depends upon whether or not you told your employer in advance that you were taking off from work.  Here are two examples:

(Example 1) I told my employer ahead of time that I would need off from work next week, to move to a safe place away from the abuser.

You may not have to provide documentation (proof in writing), that you took off from work to deal with domestic violence or sexual assault.  If they ask for documentation, see the list of documents that you can provide below.

(Example 2) I had to take off for two days without telling my employer ahead of time, because of an emergency involving domestic violence or sexual assault.

In this situation, you will have to provide documentation (proof in writing), to show that you took off from work to deal with domestic violence.  If asked for documentation, here are some of the types of documents that you can give your employer:

  • A police report showing that you were a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault.
  • A court order protecting or separating you from the abuser or other evidence from the court or prosecuting attorney that you appeared in court.
  • Documentation from a medical professional, domestic violence advocate or advocate for victims of sexual assault, health care provider, or counselor that you were undergoing treatment for physical or mental injuries or abuse due to domestic violence or sexual assault.*
* See Ann.Cal.Labor Code §§ 230(d)(2); 230.1(B)(2)(A)

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