When survivors are unable to access or maintain stable employment, their safety is compromised. Survivors shouldn’t have to choose between accessing the services and healing they want and keeping their jobs. This is why we are highlighting these two pieces of legislation this month.

Did you know that not all workplaces provide reasonable accommodations for survivors?

  • The #metoo movement shed light on the overwhelming reality of workplace sexual assault and harassment.
  • In a 2020 study called Coming Forward, the National Women’s Law Center found that seven in 10 people (72%) who report sexual harassment faced some form of retaliation, including termination, lawsuits for defamation and denied promotions. More than 1 in 3 people reported that the harassment had taken physical forms including rape or sexual assault. Nearly 2 in 5 (37%) said there were no consequences for their harasser.
  • When survivors try and seek accommodations at their place of work to stay safe by seeking time off, flexing their schedules, or seeking reassignment to a different department, the results are very varied. While some survivors are met with care and support, others are essentially pushed out of their places of work with little recourse.
  • Survivors deserve to know they can seek support and reasonable accommodations related to their survivorship without the fear of losing their jobs.

That’s why we support An Act Relative to Employment Protections for Victims of Abusive Behavior (HD3740/SD2371). This bill would require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee or prospective employee who is experiencing or has experienced abusive behavior, or whose family member is or has experienced abusive behavior. Having reasonable accommodations enables survivors to access safety and maintain stability during a tumultuous time.

Did you know that Massachusetts employment laws only protect some survivors of sexual or domestic violence or stalking? 

  • MGL c.149, § 52E allows employees of companies with 50 or more employees to take up to 15 days of leave in any 12 month period to deal with the aftermath of sexual or domestic violence or stacking that happened to them or to a family member.
  • This is a great step to support the economic security of survivors, but sadly, this provision currently only applies to those working at companies with 50 or more employees.
  • It also doesn’t apply to contract workers (like those who work for Uber, DoorDash and other service industries).
  • All survivors deserve time to address their medical, legal, or emotional needs in the aftermath of sexual or domestic violence.

That’s why we’re supporting An Act Ensuring Domestic Violence Victims’ Protections for all Employees in the Commonwealths (HD76/SD359). Having time off from work to access support and services is necessary to promote economic security for all survivors of SDV. This bill would extend employment domestic violence protections to contract workers in Massachusetts.