August 5, 2010

New Law in 2010 Addresses Domestic Abuse and the Workplace

As a family law firm in Portland Oregon, it is not surprising that during the initial consultation with some clients  we hear about abuse taking place within the relationship.

One of the main concerns, especially for women is not only their safety and that of their children but financially. Too often we detect the fear of being able to sustain their job during one of the most stressful times in their life.

We like to think we cannot only offer them the legal advice they need, but also helpful information. As a family law firm, we are aware of the impact abuse has not only on their own health and wellbeing but also on their families and co-workers.

The statistics regarding domestic violence in Oregon and nationally in the U.S are staggering. According to the Bureau of Labor and Industries, every nine seconds a man beats a woman. In Oregon, crisis hotlines receive more than 50,000 emergency calls and 37,000 non-emergency calls from survivors of domestic abuse.

One in three women experience violence by an intimate or ex-intimate partner. Contrary to what some believe, battered women are more likely to be employed than not.

We believe that it is important to continue to be informed on how domestic abuse impacts our clients and that of the work place. All Oregon employers, especially within the legal realm, have no choice but to confront this issue.

Oregon Senate Bill 928 in 2009, as of January, 1, 2010, stated that all Oregon employers with one or more employees were to accommodate reasonable safety to the victims within the work place.

  • Transfer to a position or location of safety.
  • Modified schedules
  • Allow unpaid leave of absence.
  • Allow changes to workstation and telephone number.
  • Allow installation of locks or other devices
  • To implement safety procedures.

Aside from the above Bill 929 in 2009, in May of 2007 Oregon adopted the Domestic Violence Victims Leave Law. This law also considered rape, or stalking. Under this law employees may take reasonable leave for any of the following purposes:

  • To seek legal or law enforcement assistance or remedies to ensure the health and safety of the employee or the employee’s minor child dependent;
  • to seek medical treatment for or to recover from injuries caused by domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking;
  • To obtain, or to assist a minor child or dependent in obtaining counseling from a licensed mental health professional or services from a victim services provider; and
  • To relocate or take steps to secure an existing home to ensure the employee’s own or the children’s health and safety.

The above information is provided in the statues.

This information we hope will be of help when dealing with the stress financially and emotionally when considering what legal rights a person in this situation.