State Law Guides

  • 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.
  • State Law Guide -- Domestic and Sexual Violence Workplace Policies by
  • Unemployment Insurance protections for Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Victims.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.