A woman who was fired for taking leave of her job to deal with the aftermath of domestic violence will get her job back in the first case under Washington's Domestic Violence Leave Act (RCW 49.76).
Jane Doe (anonymous to ensure her safety) filed the suit on September 10, 2010, alleging that she was fired from Genie Industries for taking time off work to meet with police and get her children to school safely after her ex-husband violated a protection order.
Doe and Genie Industries, Inc. settled after Genie Industries agreed to reinstate Ms. Doe at the company and make financial reparations. Genie Industries also promised to begin training their managerial staff on the provisions of the Domestic Violence Leave Act and to help other employee victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking find support.
Janet Chung, an attorney for the women's rights legal organization Legal Voice who represents Ms. Doe, called it victory for domestic violence victims.
"We encourage victims of domestic violence to leave dangerous situations and protect themselves and their children. And what is the result? They lose their jobs," Chung said in a statement. "That's not only wrong, it's illegal."
The state's Domestic Violence Leave Act was passed October 3, 2008 after an incident involving another Legal Voice client who was fired for taking leave in the aftermath of domestic violence.
The act allows victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking to take a "reasonable" amount of time off work -- paid or unpaid -- to obtain help from law enforcement or receive medical treatment. Family members, including children, spouse, parents, parents-in-law, grandparents or a person the employee is dating may also take reasonable leave under the act.
Eric M. Guti