Sexual Assault and Employment
Please note: The information on these pages provides general information only. It is not specific legal advice addressing your specific situation. For personal legal advice, contact AVOICE at 1-888-343-4414.
An act of sexual violence can have severe impacts on work life. The effects of trauma or physical injury may hinder your ability to work effectively. Or, you may feel unsafe at work because you were assaulted by someone you work with. No matter the situation, you likely have important concerns that the criminal justice system does not address. See below to learn more.
Effective September 1, 2013, workers who choose to leave their jobs to protect themselves or their families following sexual assault or abuse are no longer considered ineligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits from the Texas Workforce Commission. If this describes your situation, contact AVOICE for assistance applying for unemployment.
Accommodations at Work:
If you need to change your work schedule, change work site locations, or other accommodations to ensure your safety, the law may give you the right to do so.
If you’ve had to miss work because of your assault and you lost wages as a result, the Attorney General’s Crime Victims’ Compensation fund may be able to reimburse your lost wages. You may also be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits if you left your job to protect your safety. In addition, if you have not received your proper wages because of your assault, we can assist you with filing a wage claim with the Texas Workforce Commission.
Time Off Work:
If you have worked at least a year at a place with at least 50 employees, you may be entitled under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to take time off work for medical reasons, without harming your employment. You don’t need vacation time to qualify.
Americans with Disabilities Act:
If you have suffered a physical or mental injury as a result of a sexual assault (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder), you may be entitled to special accommodations in the workplace and/or protections against negative actions by your supervisor. You should consult with a lawyer at AVOICE to see whether you qualify for these protections.
If you were sexually assaulted by a co-worker or supervisor, or if the assault occurred at work, it could be considered sex discrimination under state or federal law. Therefore, you may qualify for a discrimination claim against your employer. It is important to consult with a lawyer to see whether you qualify for this type of relief. The Equal Justice Center can help you with your sex discrimination case. (800) 853-4028; http://www.equaljusticecenter.org/legal-help/lassa.html
When you are ready, contact AVOICE at 1-888-343-4414, Monday-Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.