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Legal Information: California

Workplace Protections

Updated: 
April 4, 2019

Do I need to provide my employer with any written proof (documentation) if I request a reasonable accommodation?

Your employer can request certain documentation from you when you request a reasonable accommodation. Your employer may request that you provide a written statement signed by you or someone acting on your behalf that certifies that the accommodation you are requesting is allowed under this law.1 Your employer can also request that you provide certification showing that you are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.2 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; or
  • documentation from a licensed medical professional, domestic violence counselor, counselor 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, sexual assault, or stalking.3

Your employer can also ask you to recertify your status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking every 6 months after the date of your last certification.4 Your employer must keep any verbal or written statement, police or court record, or other documentation that you give him/her to certify your status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking confidential. Your employer must give you notice before disclosing your documentation for any valid reason.5

1 Cal.Labor Code § 230(A)
2 Cal.Labor Code § 230(B)
3 Cal.Labor Code § 230(d)(2)
4 Cal.Labor Code § 230(C)
5 Cal.Labor Code § 230(D)

How much notice do I need to give my employer if I need to take time off from work to deal with domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking?

You must tell your employer ahead of time if you need time off from work to deal with domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking 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.”1 However, it is wise to tell your employer as early as possible.

If there is an emergency because of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking 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, sexual assault, or stalking.2 For examples of what types of proof you can give, see Do I need to give my employer any documentation (proof in writing) if I take time off from work?

Note: It might be a good idea to ask your employer in writing for the time off to deal with domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking 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.

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

Do I need to give my employer any written proof (documentation) if I take time off?

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, sexual assault, or stalking. If the employer asks 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, sexual assault, or stalking.

In this situation, you will have to provide documentation (proof in writing), to show why you took off from work. 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; or
  • documentation from a licensed medical professional, domestic violence counselor, counselor 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, sexual assault, or stalking.1

1 See Cal.Labor Code §§ 230(d)(2); 230.1(b)(2)(A)