Employee Protection Under NC Domestic Violence Laws

Document created by 1002043 on Dec 4, 2014Last modified by 1002043 on Mar 10, 2017
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We hear and read about it all too often. Domestic violence is unfortunately a common occurrence in today’s society.  Several states have passed legislation addressing it. 


North Carolina has its own domestic violence laws including protection from employer discrimination/retaliation against employees who are victims of domestic violence and who need to be absent from work to take care of legal matters related to such violence.  Chapter 50B-5.5 of the North Carolina General Statutes states the following:


§ 50B-5.5. Employment discrimination unlawful. (a) No employer shall discharge, demote, deny a promotion, or discipline an employee because the employee took reasonable time off from work to obtain or attempt to obtain relief under this Chapter. An employee who is absent from the workplace shall follow the employer's usual time-off policy or procedure, including advance notice to the employer, when required by the employer's usual procedures, unless an emergency prevents the employee from doing so. An employer may require documentation of any emergency that prevented the employee from complying in advance with the employer's usual time-off policy or procedure, or any other information available to the employee which supports the employee's reason for being absent from the workplace. (b) The Commissioner of Labor shall enforce the provisions of this section according to Article 21 of Chapter 95 of the General Statutes, including the rules and regulations issued pursuant to the Article. (2004-186, s. 18.1.)


The reference here to Article 21 of Chapter 95 is North Carolina’s Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA), which is enforced by the North Carolina Department of Labor (NCDOL). Adherence to this section of North Carolina’s domestic violence law is a matter of regulatory compliance and is the right thing to do from a positive employer-relations perspective. 


In addition to our state’s domestic violence law, North Carolina’s Employment Security Act provides that employees resigning from employment due to domestic violence are “leaving with good cause” and are therefore eligible for unemployment benefits once they are able and available for work (one of the few “leaving for good cause” provisions not repealed in the 2013 revisions to North Carolina’s Employment Security Act).


For more information about North Carolina’s domestic violence laws, go to http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/ByChapter/Chapter_50B.html.