Domestic violence is, sadly, a dangerous part of life for too many in Connecticut and around the U.S. 

According to the latest statistics, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in America.

One in four women and one in seven men experience some form of severe physical violence at the hands of a family member in their lifetime.  

On a typical day, more than 20,000 phone calls are placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide. 

The problem is real—and Connecticut employers need to know how they can help employees in the event that one or more become victims.

Here are some of the basics:

1. Employees who are victims of family violence must be permitted to take up to 12 days of leave during any calendar year in which the leave is reasonably needed for one or more of the following reasons: (1) to seek medical care or counseling for physical or psychological injury or disability; (2) to obtain services from a victim services organization; (3) to relocate due to the family violence; or (4) to participate in any civil or criminal proceeding related to or resulting from such family violence.

2. The leave may be unpaid unless the employee chooses to use any available paid time off for such leave, or the law otherwise requires payment for any such leave taken. 

3. Employees who seek such leave must provide at least seven days’ notice of the need for such leave if foreseeable, or notice as soon as practicable if the need for such leave is not foreseeable.  

4. The employer may require certification from the employee, and/or an agent of a victim services organization, and/or the Judicial Branch's Office of Victim Services or the Office of the Victim Advocate, and/or a licensed medical professional or other licensed professional from whom the employee has sought assistance with respect to the family violence certifying that the employee is a victim of family violence. Any such certification provided must be maintained in a confidential manner and can only be disclosed as required by law or to protect the employee's safety in the workplace, provided that the employee is given notice prior to any such disclosure. 

5. The employer may not discriminate or take adverse actions against any employee for being a victim of family violence or for having to attend or participate in a court proceeding related to a civil case in which the employee is a family violence victim. 


About the author: Miguel Escalera is a partner at the labor and employment law firm Kainen, Escalera & McHale in Hartford.