State Law Guides

State Law Guides

State Employment Guides

These guides track state laws and bills that can help victims of domestic or sexual violence maintain the economic security they need to address the violence in their lives.

Contact us if you have questions about how to bring a claim under one of these laws.

  • Last Updated: September 22, 2015
    Several states have enacted laws that provide domestic violence victims (and in some states, victims of sexual assault and stalking) time off from work to address the violence in their lives and/or that protect victims from employment discrimination related to the violence. The details of each state's laws vary significantly. Some states that have not passed domestic violence leave laws have paid sick leave laws or crime victim protection laws that prohibit an employer from firing crime victims who take time off from work to appear in criminal court.
  • Last Updated: September 22, 2015
    Several states have proposed or enacted laws allowing employers to apply for restraining orders to prevent violence, harassment, or stalking of their employees. The laws vary in significant way, such as in terms of whether the employer may seek a restraining order or injunction on behalf of itself rather than on behalf of the employee, and whether an employee who is the target of violence must be consulted prior to the employer's seeking a restraining order.
  • Last Updated: September 22, 2015
    Several states have enacted laws that provide domestic violence victims (and in some states, victims of sexual assault and/or stalking) time off from work to address the violence in their lives and/or that protects victims from employment discrimination related to the violence.
  • Last Updated: September 22, 2015

  • Last Updated: April 20, 2015
    Unemployment Insurance protections for Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Victims.
  • Last Updated: January 20, 2015
    Some victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking need to leave their jobs because of the violence in their lives. Others are discharged from their jobs because of the violence. In most states, individuals are ineligible for unemployment benefits if they leave work voluntarily without “good cause” or if they are discharged for “misconduct.” As of the date of this publication, thirty-five jurisdictions have passed laws that explicitly provide unemployment insurance to domestic violence victims in certain circumstances.
  • Last Updated: June 1, 2011
    The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Pub. L. No. 111-5 (Division B, Title II, Sec. 2003), contains a provision that grants states extra funding if they extend eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits to workers who leave their jobs for “compelling family reasons,” including domestic violence. Several states have consequently amended their laws or introduced bills to do so. Check the website of your state’s legislature for more information.
  • Last Updated: September 1, 2010
    Several jurisdictions now require all state agencies to adopt workplace policies on domestic violence; some these specifically reference sexual assault and/or stalking as well. Others have passed laws, issued executive orders, or established government task forces to create model workplace policies for voluntary adoption by public and private employers. This guide tracks legislation or government initiatives requiring or encouraging public and/or private employers to adopt domestic and sexual violence policies.
  • Last Updated: January 1, 2010
    Many victims of domestic or sexual violence and stalking report losing their housing due, at least in part, to the violence in their lives. Several jurisdictions have enacted laws specifically protecting such victims from housing discrimination; permitting victims to terminate leases; and/or permitting victims to have their locks changed. The 2005 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act included important protections for victims living in federally-funded public housing, using federally-funded housing vouchers (“Section 8” vouchers), or living in project-based Section 8 housing. Additionally, a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking who is evicted or otherwise discriminated against in housing may have rights under federal, state, or local fair housing laws.

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