Domestic Violence and the Workplace Policy
SUNY Policy Statement
Domestic violence permeates the lives and compromises the safety of thousands of New York State employees each day, with tragic, destructive, and often fatal results. Domestic violence occurs within a wide spectrum of relationships, including married and formerly married couples, couples with children in common, couples who live together or have lived together, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender couples, and couples who are dating or who have dated in the past.
Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of coercive tactics which can include physical, psychological, sexual, economic and emotional abuse perpetrated by one person against an adult intimate partner, with the goal of establishing and maintaining power and control over the victim. In addition to exacting a tremendous toll from the individuals it directly affects, domestic violence often spills over into the workplace, compromising the safety of both victims and co-workers and resulting in lost productivity, increased health care costs, increased absenteeism, and increased employee turnover. SUNY, to the fullest extent possible without violating any existing rules, regulations, statutory requirements, contractual obligations or collective bargaining agreements, will take all appropriate actions to promote safety in the workplace and respond effectively to the needs of victims of domestic violence.
SUNY takes reports of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking seriously. If you are a member of a SUNY community and have experienced any of the above, this Sexual Assault & Violence Response (SUNY SAVR) Resources Website provides you with information you can use to seek resources and support, and to report the crime to law enforcement and the campus. For information, resources, and an anonymous reporting mechanism, please visit SUNY's Sexual Assault and Violence Response (SAVR) website.
NYS Prohibits Employment Discrimination on the basis of domestic violence victim status.
While the NYS Human Rights Law has long prohibited discrimination against victims of domestic violence, the following are unlawful practices with respect to victims of domestic violence:
- refusing to hire or terminating someone because they are a victim of domestic violence;
- discriminating against a victim of domestic violence with respect to compensation or other terms, conditions, or privileges of employment; and
- circulating or utilizing a job posting, employment application, or other publication expressing any limitation, specification, or discrimination in hiring or employment based on domestic violence victim status.
The definition of “victim of domestic violence” under the NYS Human Rights Law, aligns with the definition under the state’s Domestic Violence Prevention Act.
Reasonable Accommodations for Domestic Violence Victim Employees
New York State employers are required to grant employees who are victims of domestic violence reasonable time off as an accommodation in order to:
- seek medical attention for injuries caused by domestic violence;
- obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, program, or rape crisis center;
- obtain psychological counseling related to domestic violence;
- participate in safety planning or to take other actions to increase safety from future incidents of domestic violence; and/or
- obtain legal services, assist in the prosecution of the offense, or appear in court in relation to the incident of domestic violence.
It is noted that employers covered by the New York City Human Rights Law are already obligated to provide reasonable accommodations to employees who are the victim of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking.
As is the case with other reasonable accommodation obligations under the NYSHRL (such as for an employee’s disability), employers will be required to provide any requested leave unless the employee’s absence would constitute an undue hardship to the employer.
An employer may require an employee to charge leave under the law to any leave pay ordinarily granted, where available, unless otherwise approved for in a collective bargaining agreement or existing employee handbook or policy, and any such absence that cannot be charged may be treated as leave without pay. Employees are entitled to continuation of existing health insurance coverage during any such absence.
Employees requiring leave must provide their employer with advance notice where feasible. If advance notice cannot be provided, the employer may require certification of the need for leave in the form of a police report, court order, or documentation from a medical professional, advocate, or counselor. To the extent consistent with applicable law, employers are required to maintain confidentiality of any information regarding an employee’s status as a victim of domestic violence.
The Domestic Violence Agency Liason (DVAL) at SUNY Delhi is:
- Diane Hanna, Director of Human Resources
103 Bush Hall