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AB 2992 – Expands Labor Code Sections 230 and 230.1 Protections For Any Employee Who Is A Victim Of A Crime, Or Whose Immediate Family Member Died As A Direct Result Of Crime
Currently, Labor Code Section 230 prohibits employers from discharging or in any manner discriminating or retaliating against an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, to allow employees to take time off to obtain legal relief to help ensure their health, safety, and welfare, or that of their child. For employers with 25 or more employees, Labor Code Section 230.1 also currently extends these leave protections for several additional specified purposes directly relating to an incident of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, including seeking medical attention, psychological counseling, or certain social services. In addition, California’s Paid Sick Leave Law (Labor Code, §§ 245, et. seq.) also allows for the use of paid sick leave for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking for the reasons noted in Labor Code Sections 230 and 230.1.
AB 2992 now extends eligibility for these protections under Labor Code Sections 230 and 230.1 to a broader category of employees who are a “victim,” defined as:
A victim of stalking, domestic violence, or sexual assault;
A victim of a crime that caused physical injury, or that caused mental injury and a threat of physical injury;
A person whose immediate family member is deceased as the direct result of a crime.
The bill also makes corresponding changes to the types of counseling and social services that are eligible for leave protection. The bill does not, however, provide a clear definition of when a family member’s death is the “direct result of a crime.”
In an interesting twist, AB 2992 did not amend the provisions of the Paid Sick Leave Law to use the expanded definition of “victim” for paid sick leave purposes. Accordingly, only victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking are entitled to use statutory paid sick leave for the purposes set forth in Labor Code Sections 230 and 230.1. However, Labor Code Section 230.2 does allow a victim or an immediate family member of a victim of a serious or violent felony to use sick leave to attend judicial proceedings related to that crime. For other crime victims, employers can likely require that leave taken for these purposes is unpaid if the employee does not have other paid leave available.
Employers should review and revise their policies and procedures to incorporate this expanded definition of “victim” for purposes of Labor Code Section 230 and 230.1 and ensure that supervisors and managers are aware of these expanded protections for employees.
(AB 2992 amends Sections 230 and 230.1 of the Labor Code.)