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Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence

ORS 659A.280 to 659A.290

These statutes provide certain employment protections for victims of domestic violence.
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What protection do these laws provide?

All employers are required to provide reasonable safety accommodations to eligible employees.

 

Employers with 6 or more employees are also required to allow an eligible employee to take reasonable leave from employment for any of the following purposes:

 
      (1) To seek legal or law enforcement assistance or remedies to ensure the health and safety of the employee or the employee’s minor child or dependent, including preparing for and participating in protective order proceedings or other civil or criminal legal proceedings related to domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault or stalking.
 
      (2) To seek medical treatment for or to recover from injuries caused by domestic violence or sexual assault to or harassment or stalking of the eligible employee or the employee’s minor child or dependent.
 
      (3) To obtain, or to assist a minor child or dependent in obtaining, counseling from a licensed mental health professional related to an experience of domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault or stalking.
 
      (4) To obtain services from a victim services provider for the eligible employee or the employee’s minor child or dependent.
 
      (5) To relocate or take steps to secure an existing home to ensure the health and safety of the eligible employee or the employee’s minor child or dependent.
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Which employees are protected under these laws?

Any employee who is a victim of or at risk of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking is covered by the law, regardless of how long he or she has worked for the employer and regardless of how many hours per week the employee works.
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What if my employer asks me for certification that I am a victim of domestic violence?

An employer has the right to ask the victim for certification that the employee is a victim. Unless otherwise required by law, any documents provided as certification of the victim’s status must be kept confidential and may not be released without your express permission.
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What types of documentation are allowed?

Certification can be a document from law enforcement or the courts, such as a police report or restraining order, a letter or other document from an attorney, counselor, domestic violence or sexual assault victim service provider, health care professional, or clergy member. Any of these forms of documentation is sufficient.
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What are examples of "reasonable safety accommodations"?

Examples of a safety accommodation might include a transfer, reassignment, modified schedule, unpaid leave from employment, changed work telephone number, changed work station, installed lock, change in office policy, or any other adjustment to a job structure, workplace facility, or work requirement in response to actual or threatened domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.


An employer must grant a request for a reasonable safety accommodation unless it would impose an "undue hardship" on the employer.

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What is "reasonable leave"?

It depends.  The leave must be for one of the qualifying reasons described above, but the employer may limit the amount of leave an eligible employee takes if the employee’s leave creates an undue hardship on the employer’s business.

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What would be an "undue hardship" for an employer?

"Undue hardship" means a significant difficulty and expense to an employer's business and includes consideration of the size of the employer's business. Other factors to consider in determining whether granting a safety accommodation will cause an undue hardship on an employer's business include, but are not limited to: 

(a) The safety accommodation requested and the relative cost to an employer's business;
 
(b) The overall financial resources of the employer's facility or facilities, the number of persons employed at the facility and the effect on expenses and resources or other impacts on the operation of the facility if the safety accommodation were granted;
 
(c) The overall financial resources of the employer, the overall size of the business of the employer with respect to the number of its employees and the number, type and location of the employer's facilities;
 
(d) The type of operations conducted by the employer, including the composition, structure and functions of the employer's workforce.
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