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Legal Information: California

Workplace Protections

Updated: 
June 21, 2021

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, sexual assault, or stalking;
  • 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 licensed medical professional, domestic violence counselor, counselor for victims of sexual assault, victim advocate, health care provider, or counselor that you were undergoing treatment or receiving services for physical or mental injuries or abuse due to the crime or abuse; or
  • any other form of documentation that reasonably verifies that the crime or abuse occurred, including but not limited to, a written statement signed by you or by someone acting on your behalf certifying that the absence is for a permitted purpose under this law.3

Your employer can also ask you to re-certify your status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or ongoing circumstances related to the crime or abuse every six 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 a crime or abuse confidential. Your employer must give you notice before disclosing your documentation for any valid reason.5

1 Cal.Labor Code § 230(f)(7)(A)
2 Cal.Labor Code § 230(f)(7)(B)
3 Cal.Labor Code § 230(d)(2)
4 Cal.Labor Code § 230(f)(7)(C)
5 Cal.Labor Code § 230(f)(7)(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 a crime or abuse 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 a crime or abuse.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 issues related to being the victim of a crime or abuse 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 proof in writing (documentation) that you took off from work to deal with a crime or abuse. 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 a crime or abuse.

In this situation, you will have to provide proof in writing (documentation), 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 the crime or abuse;
  • 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 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; or
  • any other documentation that shows that the crime or abuse occurred, including a written statement (certification) that you have signed.1

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