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California Senator's bill seeks job protections for crime victims

A new bill, Senate Bill 288, introduced into the California State Senate by Santa Monica State Senator Ted Lieu, would offer employment protection to people who need to miss work to attend court proceedings related to crimes committed against themselves or members of their immediate family. Senate Bill 288 seeks to explicitly give workplace protection to any Californian who decides to exercise their right, which is granted in the California constitution, to attend all sessions of court where their interests may be impacted.

The California Labor Code already offers employment protection to people selected to serve as jurors or who are subpoenaed as witnesses, and Senate Bill 288 is designed to extend this same protection from workplace discrimination to crime victims as well. Senator Lieu, who also leads the Senate's Labor and Industrial Relations Committee, hopes that this bill will serve to prevent employers from attempting to penalize employees whose work schedules are affected for long periods by the need to attend often lengthy trials.

Senate Bill 288 is designed to protect victims of major crimes like murder, rape, stalking, kidnapping and domestic violence and eliminate the possibility that they could lose their job or be penalized in other ways simply because they missed work to attend the trial of the accused perpetrator. Victims who suffer psychologically and financially would also be eligible for protection under the bill.

Although Senate Bill 288 passed through the State Senate with a unanimous 34-0 vote, it still has to be considered by the Assembly. Workplace discrimination is often subtle and difficult to prove, and retaining the services of a qualified attorney who specializes in employment law could make a big difference when you are trying to determine if your rights have been violated.

Source: Santa Monica Mirror, "New Measure Aims To Protect Crime Victims From Work Discrimination", May 13, 2013

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