For Immediate Release:
October 15, 2013
Washington, D.C. – Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie (D – Ward 5) introduced legislation today to prohibit employment discrimination against victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and stalking. Currently, District employers can fire or refuse to hire or promote employees if, for example, the employee’s abuser creates a disturbance in the workplace.
The “Protecting Victims of Gender-Based Violence Amendment Act of 2013” amends the District’s Human Rights Act to include “status as a victim or family member of a victim” as a class of persons protected from employment discrimination. The bill would place the District among a growing number of jurisdictions with similar laws.
“The District has strong anti-discrimination laws, but this bill fills a significant gap,” said McDuffie. “We know that many abusers exert control by harassing their victims while at work. There is no reason why someone dealing with the trauma of domestic violence, sexual abuse, or stalking should have to then suffer discrimination,” said McDuffie. “Victims need support to move forward, and safe and stable employment is a lifeline.”
McDuffie worked closely with advocates from the D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence in crafting the legislation. “We know that one in four women will experience some form of domestic violence in her lifetime, so it was important to me to partner with the Coalition to address potential employment discrimination against victims and their families.”
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Visit the Coalition’s website for access to resources on domestic violence (dccadv.org).
The bill was co-introduced by the Councilmembers Alexander, Bonds, Bowser, Cheh, Graham, Grosso, and Chairman Mendelson, and co-sponsored by Councilmembers Barry, Catania, and Evans.