Domestic Violence Frequently Asked Questions

 



What leave protections does the law (RCW 49.76) provide?

An employee may take reasonable leave from work, intermittent leave, or leave on a reduced leave schedule, with or without pay to:

  • Seek legal or law enforcement assistance or remedies to ensure the health and safety of the employee or employee's family members including, but not limited to, preparing for, or participating in, any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to or derived from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
  • Seek treatment by a health care provider for physical or mental injuries caused by domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or to attend to health care treatment for a victim who is the employee's family member;
  • Obtain, or assist a family member in obtaining, services from a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, or other social services program for relief from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
  • Obtain, or assist a family member in obtaining, mental health counseling related to an incident of domestic violence, sexual assault, or talking, in which the employee or the employee's family member was a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; or
  • Participate in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocate, or take other actions to increase the safety of the employee or employee's family members from future domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

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Who is considered a family member?

Family member includes any individual whose relationship to the employee can be classified as a child, spouse, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, or person with whom the employee has a dating relationship.

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What is a dating relationship? (RCW 26.50.010)

Dating relationship means a social relationship of a romantic nature. Factors that the court may consider in making this determination include: (a) The length of time the relationship has existed; (b) the nature of the relationship; and (c) the frequency of interaction between the parties.

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What is considered domestic violence?

Domestic violence means: (a) Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, between family or household members; (b) sexual assault of one family or household member by another; or (c) stalking as defined in RCW 9A.46.110 of one family or household member by another family or household member.

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What is considered sexual assault? (RCW 70.125.030)

Sexual assault means one or more of the following: Rape or rape of a child; assault with intent to commit rape or rape of a child; incest or indecent liberties; child molestation; sexual misconduct with a minor; custodial sexual misconduct; crimes with a sexual motivation; or an attempt to commit any of the aforementioned offenses.

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What is considered stalking?

The act of stalking is defined in RCW 9A.46.110

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How much notice do I have to give if I may need to take leave?

The employee must give their supervisor and Human Resources at least 30 days advance notice or when practicable of his/her intention to take leave. When advance notice cannot be given because of an emergency or unforeseen circumstances due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, the employee or his or her designee must give notice to the employer not later than the end of the first day that the employee takes such leave.

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What information do I have to disclose when requesting leave?

An employee is required to provide only Human Resources with the information in # below to establish that the employee's leave is protected under this provision. An employee is not required to produce or discuss any information with Human Resources beyond the documentation required or information that would compromise the employee's safety or the safety of the employee's family member in any way.

The employee is expected to provide the documentation in a timely manner, however in the event that advance notice of the leave cannot be given because of an emergency or unforeseen circumstances due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, and the employer requires verification, verification must be provided to the employer within a reasonable time period during or after the leave.

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What kind of documentation may be requested?

  • A police report indicating that the employee or employee's family member was a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking,
  • A court order protecting or separating the employee or employee's family member from the perpetrator of the act of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or other evidence from the court or the prosecuting attorney that the employee or employee's family member appeared, or is scheduled to appear, in court in connection with an incident of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking,
  • Documentation that the employee or the employee's family member is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, from any of the following persons from whom the employee or employee's family member sought assistance in addressing the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking: An advocate for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; an attorney; a member of the clergy; or a medical or other professional, or
  • An employee's written statement that the employee or the employee's family member is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and that the leave taken was for one of the purposes described in RCW 49.76.030.

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Will my disclosure and documentation be treated as confidential?

Employees are encouraged to contact Human Resources prior to discussing their need for leave with their supervisor. Human Resources will work with the employee and his/her supervisor to facilitate the leave request in the most confidential manner.
Human Resources will maintain confidentiality of all information provided by the employee under this provision including the fact that the employee or employee's family member is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, that the employee has requested or obtained leave under this chapter, and any written or oral statement, documentation, record, or corroborating evidence provided by the employee.
Information given by an employee may be disclosed by an employer only if:

  • Requested or consented to by the employee;
  • Ordered by a court or administrative agency; or
  • Otherwise required by applicable federal or state law.

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Will my leave time be paid?

An employee who is approved to be absent from work under this provision may elect to use any of their accrued leave, 180 med leave, holidays, compensatory time, or unpaid leave time. Effective October 1, 2008, employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking may apply for shared leave donations.

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Will my health benefits be covered during my leave?

Benefits will not be impacted as long as the employee receives at least one day (8 hours) of pay during a calendar month. If the employee is in leave without pay for the entire calendar month, the employee may continue coverage of health, dental, and life insurance by self-paying the group premium rate, up to the maximum amount of time allowed under WAC 182-12-133.

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Who do I call to request leave?

Disability Administrator at 650-3771

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Page Updated 06.03.2013