In a resounding victory for victims of domestic violence, New York State has recently amended Executive Law, which prohibits certain types of discrimination, to include protection for victims of domestic violence from being discriminated against in employment matters. The law, which is long overdue, extends legal protections to the victims of domestic and sexual abuse, and helps ensure that this vulnerable class of individuals is not further punished for the intolerable actions of others.
Previously, it was legal for employers to discriminate against an employee who had been abused or harassed without penalty. For instance, employers could fire individuals suffering from domestic abuse, claiming that it caused a nuisance in the workplace, or had caused many absences from work and unpredictable behavior in the employees. Employers had also been concerned with angry and abusive spouses showing up at places of employment, causing disturbances.
The change in law should be greatly applauded as it extends benefits to these victims, and helps them hold on to their employment in the face of troubling circumstance. These individuals should be helped and protected, not punished further by losing their jobs.