Intimate Partner Violence and Economic Security: An Analysis of State Employment Statutes for Victims of Intimate Partner Violence
In the past decade, few studies in the U.S. have focused on the consequences of partner violence on the victims’ employment and the places where they work. Even fewer have examined state employment protection policies for victims of intimate partner violence (IPV). A first step in determining how and whether employment protection policies are effective in shielding victims of partner violence from the economic consequences associated with this social problem is to identify which states have implemented employment protection legislation. A systematic content analysis of state employment protection policies for victims of IPV was conducted to identify the states that have statutes that protect IPV victims’ employment, and to determine the parameters of these employment laws. Preliminary results suggest that states have passed a variety of employment protection laws, but the types of statutes vary significantly across the 50 states. Employment protection policies fall into three broad categories: work leave policies, protection services policies, and education policies. Work leave policies focus on the circumstances under which a victim can take time off. Protection services guard the victims against employment discrimination, penalize the non compliant employers, provide unemployment insurance benefits, and offer workplace restraining order. Finally, education policies make it obligatory for employers to provide domestic violence employee awareness and assistance policies. Certain provisions and qualification parameters must be met for the victims to be eligible for work leave or protection services. For instance, to be eligible to take a leave of absence from work approximately 8% of states require that the victim give advance notice to the employer unless not feasible because of imminent danger. Findings from this study have important implications for employed victims, victims’ advocates, workplaces and state policy makers.
Keywords: Intimate Partner Violence and Workplace, Intimate Partner Violence and Economic Security, U.S. Employment Protection Policies for Partner Violence Victims
Dr. Jennifer Swanberg
Associate Professor, College of Social Work, University of Kentucky
Doctoral Candidate, College Of Social Work, University of Kentucky