Your Job or Your Safety - May 2002

Denver Women's Commission
Your Job or Your Safety - May 2002

Prepared for Zenith Magazine
by Chaer Robert
May 1, 2002

Your Job or Your Safety

Again her husband threatened to kill her. She chose to leave. She would need to get a place to stay and a restraining order. But it was Tuesday. Would she put her job in jeopardy by not going to work, or would she put her life in jeopardy by going to work?

With the passage of HB 1051, many victims of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault may not have to face this choice. Measures to Protect Victims, sponsored by Rep. Andrew Romanoff and Sen. Lewis Entz, can provide up to three days for victims to attend their legal, medical, and safety needs.

The new state law covers only one-half of working women. Similar to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which covers leave for birth, adoption and care of immediate family members, only those whose work for larger employers (50+) are covered. Similar to FMLA, only employees with at least one year seniority would be covered. And similar to FMLA, the leave is not paid.

Along with these new protections for victims, are new protections for businesses. A judge can issue a restraining order covering a business for the safety of all employees. An angry batterer whose partner has left, might look for her where she works. To retaliate against her independence, he may want to put her job in jeopardy.

All members of a community need to support victims of violence, or the perpetrator learns that he can control through threats and violence.