Springfield, Massachusetts Domestic Violence Leave Attorneys

KEY ISSUES ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LEAVE
Family Violence can seriously affect your personal and professional lives. Massachusetts law prevents employers from terminating employees because you are a victim of family or domestic violence. The law also requires employers to permit leave for certain events relating to the domestic violence. If you believe your employer violated the law, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you experienced family violence?
  • Have you missed work related to these events?
  • Has your employer reprimanded you or threatened termination for missing work?
  • Has your employer fired you, disciplined or threatened your employment after learning you are a victim of family violence?


If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you may have a cause of action against your employer.

Does the Massachusetts Domestic Violence Act Allow Me To Take Employment Leave?

Yes. Employees of companies that employ at least fifty (50) employees may be entitled to take up to fifteen (15) days of leave from work during any twelve (12) month period if the employee or a family member is the victim of “abusive behavior” (i.e. domestic violence, sexual assault, or criminal stalking).  Employees may use this leave to address the domestic violence and matters related to domestic violence such as obtaining medical attention, obtaining counseling, going to court for issues related to domestic violence, and locating safe housing.

How Do I Notify My Employer of My Need For Leave?

Your employer may require you to provide advance notice of your need for leave unless you cannot provide advance notice due to the threat of imminent danger.  If you are unable to provide advance notice to your employer of your need for domestic violence leave due to “threat of imminent danger” the law provides that you may provide notice within three (3) business days after you take domestic violence leave.  A representative may provide this notice on your behalf if you are unable to provide notice on your own behalf. Representatives may include a family member, your therapist, social worker, medical provider, shelter employee, or clergy member.    

What Information Do I Need To Provide My Employer To Support My Need For Leave?

Your employer may not take adverse action against you (such as issuing discipline, demoting you, cutting your regular hours, reducing your pay, or terminating you) as long as you provide the employer with documentation supporting your need for leave within thirty (30) days of your absence.  Proper documentation can include court notices, medical records attesting to domestic violence or threat of domestic violence, police reports, sworn statements from health care providers, shelter workers, legal advocates, clergy members, or other professionals who have assisted you in addressing the domestic violence.  Likewise, the employee may provide a sworn statement attesting to the domestic violence and need for leave to address domestic violence.

Is The Leave From Work Paid or Unpaid?  

Your employer can decide whether your domestic violence related leave is “paid” or “unpaid.”  You may be required to exhaust any available paid time off including vacation, personal and sick time, while on leave.

What Does The Act Do To Protect My Job If I Take Leave?  

Employers cannot interfere with your right to take leave for domestic violence and may not retaliate against you for exercising your rights to domestic violence leave.  This means an employer cannot terminate you or discriminate against you because of your need for leave or because you took leave. Your employer must reinstate you to your original job or an equivalent position following your return from leave.

What Remedies Do I Have If My Employer Interferes With My Rights To Leave Or Retaliates Against Me For Taking Leave?   

If your employer interferes with your right to leave, or retaliates against you for taking leave, you may be able to sue your employer in a civil action for injunctive relief, lost wages and benefits, and other damages.  Under Massachusetts law, any employer who prevails in such a claim against their employer is entitled to mandatory triple damages and attorney’s fees.    

Contact Our Springfield, Massachusetts Domestic Violence Leave Attorneys

If your employer has retaliated against you for requesting a 15-day leave of absence from your work following a domestic violence incident, contact our Springfield employee rights attorneys today. Our attorneys can guide you through the legal process to ensure that your rights are upheld. With offices located in Springfield and Northampton, Hayber McKenna & Dinsmore helps employees across Western Massachusetts. Call (413) 785-1400 to schedule a consultation today.

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