Determined the right of abuse victim to leave work to obtain protection orders against an abuser.
In a precedent-setting decision, the Massachusetts Superior Court recognized that a domestic violence victim can sue her employer if she is fired because of an absence from work to ensure her safety.
Sophia Apessos was fired from her job as a reporter immediately after she took a day off from work to obtain a protective order against her abusive husband. The Massachusetts Supreior Court denied the defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint. The court accepted our argument that it is a violation of the Commonwealth's public policy to discharge an employee for absenting herself from work to pursue her judicial remedies against an abusive husband and to assist the police in investigating the case. This ruling-which emphasizes that "[a] victim should not have to seek physical safety at the cost of her employment"-affords Ms. Apessos the opportunity to prove her allegations in court and sets a ground-breaking precedent that may inspire similar lawsuits in other jurisdictions. After Ms. Apessos successfully defeated Defendants' motion for summary judgment, the case was resolved. Wilmer Hale generously provided pro bono counsel on the case.