Florida’s Employment Leave Laws Protect Victims Of Domestic Violence
For victims of domestic violence, living in fear, addressing physical injuries, and protecting family members is a top priority. Fortunately, Florida law provides a process through which a person can obtain a restraining order and seek other relief against an abuser. Of course, even when you have a lawyer’s assistance, the proceedings will take some time and effort on your part. Therefore, it is a relief to know that Florida employment laws allow qualifying employees to take leave for domestic violence cases. When you need to participate in the process to protect yourself, you do not need to worry about time away affecting your job.
However, the statute is very specific in the situations it covers and protections it offers. It is important to understand how the concepts work, especially if your employer does not comply with the law and retaliates against you in some way. A West Palm Beach employment law attorney can provide guidance on taking time off for a domestic violence case, and some background information is useful.
Florida Leave Laws and Domestic Violence Cases: In sum, the statute prohibits employers from taking unlawful action against workers who are seeking protection under state domestic violence laws. An employee must be allowed to request and take up to 3 work days off during a 12-month period, if he or she is the victim of domestic abuse. The purpose of taking leave may be:
- Going to court to seek a restraining order;
- Getting medical care for physical or psychological issues stemming from domestic violence;
- Obtaining services from victims support groups;
- Securing the employee’s home from an abuser OR making arrangements to move; and,
- Meeting with an attorney to consult about legal rights in a domestic violence case.
However, Florida’s domestic violence leave law only applies to employers with at least 50 workers, and the employee must have worked for the company for at least 3 months. The employer has discretion to decide whether the leave will be paid.
Your Rights for Unlawful Retaliation: You are required to notify your employer in advance about taking time off, unless doing so puts you in imminent danger. If you qualify and request leave, your employer cannot take retaliatory action. Unlawful conduct includes terminating you for exercising your rights, but it may also involve cutting your hours, changing your job tasks, or other adverse action.
The statute allows you to pursue a civil lawsuit for monetary damages, such as the wages and benefits you would have been paid had your employer not violated the law. Plus, you can seek equitable relief, including a court order reinstating you to your position.
A Palm Beach County Employment Law Attorney Will Protect Your Rights
This overview of Florida’s statute on employee leave for domestic violence cases is helpful, but you can see how the laws can be complicated in practice. For legal help, trust our team at Sconzo Law Office. You can set up a free consultation at our Palm Beach Gardens location by calling 561-279-6114 or going online.