Legal Information: California

California Workplace Protections

Updated: 
June 21, 2021

Who is protected under this law?

Under California state law, you may be protected under this law if you are a victim of:

  • domestic violence;
  • sexual assault;
  • stalking;
  • any crime that caused physical injury;
  • any crime that caused mental injury with a threat of physical injury; or
  • any crime that caused an immediate family member to die. 1

For the purposes of this law, an “immediate family member” is:

  • a child, regardless of age, biological relationship, adoption or foster status, etc.;
  • a parent, regardless of biological relationship, adoption or foster status, or legal guardianship, etc.;
  • a spouse or domestic partner;
  • a sibling, whether biological, foster, adopted, step-sibling, or half-sibling; or
  • anyone else whose relationship with you is the equivalent of the family relationships previously listed. 2

1 Cal.Labor Code § 230(c)
2 Cal.Labor Code §§ 230(j)(3); 230.1(g)(3)

How does this law protect me?

Under California state law, your employer must allow you to use your vacation days, personal leave days, or compensatory time so that you can take actions to protect the health or safety of you or your children from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. For example, you may need to take time off it to get a restraining order.1 Your employer is not allowed to fire you, harass you, discriminate or punish you (retaliate against you), for taking this time off.2 This law applies to companies of any size with any number of employees.

If your employer has 25 or more employees, there are additional things that you are allowed to take time off for other than getting a restraining order, such as:

  • seeking medical attention for injuries caused by a crime or abuse;
  • going to domestic violence shelters or programs, or going to a rape crisis center for services due to a crime or abuse;
  • getting psychological counseling related to crime or abuse; or
  • participating in safety planning or taking other actions to increase safety from a crime or abuse.3

Additionally, if you ask for reasonable accommodations, your employer must provide you with them to help ensure your safety while at work.4 Your employer is only required to provide you with reasonable accommodations if you let him/her know that you are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.5 If you need a new accommodation at any point, you can make that request from your employer.6 If you no longer need an accommodation, you must let your employer know that.7

1 Cal.Labor Code § 230(c)
2 Cal.Labor Code § 230(c)
3 Cal.Labor Code § 230.1(a)
4 Cal.Labor Code § 230(f)(1)
5 Cal.Labor Code § 230(f)(3)
6 Cal.Labor Code § 230(f)(7)(E)
7 Cal.Labor Code § 230(f)(7)(F)

What are reasonable accommodations? How will an employer decide whether to grant one?

A reasonable accommodation is a change at your workplace that will help to keep you safe while you are at work. Some examples of reasonable accommodations include:

  • a transfer;
  • a reassignment;
  • a change in work schedule;
  • a change of work telephone;
  • a different work station;
  • installing a lock;
  • help with documenting domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or another crime that happens at work;
  • putting a safety procedure into effect;
  • another adjustment to a job structure, workplace facility, or work requirement in response to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or another crime; or
  • referral to a victim assistance organization.1

If you request a reasonable accommodation, your employer is required to participate in an interactive process with you within a reasonable timeframe to decide what reasonable accommodations would provide for your safety.2 Your employer must also consider any emergency circumstances or danger that you are facing when making a decision about reasonable accommodations, but your employer is not required to provide you with an accommodation that would place a significant difficulty or expense (undue hardship) on their business operations.3

1 Cal.Labor Code § 230(f)(2)
2 Cal.Labor Code § 230(f)(4)
3 Cal.Labor Code § 230(f)(5), (f)(6)

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