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Stronger Workplace Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence in Philadelphia

August 7, 2021 Family and Medical Leave Act Claims

Your New Rights Under the Law

Philadelphia already had laws on the books that protect victims of domestic violence in the workplace. In May 2021, those protections got stronger.

There are two ordinances in Philadelphia that include protections for victims of domestic violence at work. Those are the Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Ordinance and the Entitlement to Leave Due to Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking Ordinance.

The Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Ordinance mainly deals with who is entitled to paid, job-protected time off under various circumstances—including, but not limited to, those subject to domestic violence.

The Entitlement to Leave Due to Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking Ordinance is more specific to domestic abuse survivors, and it deals with unpaid leave.

Recently lawmakers voted to expand what’s considered “domestic violence” under both of these laws to include “coercive control.”

What Are Your Rights Under the Law?

Under both ordinances, you can take job-protected leave if you or a family member is a victim of domestic abuse. The amount of leave you are entitled to, and whether that leave is paid or unpaid, depends on the size of your employer.

What Does “Coercive Control” Mean?

The definition of “coercive control” under these laws includes:

“A pattern of threatening, humiliating, or intimidating actions toward an individual used to punish or frighten the individual, including but not limited to a pattern of behavior that, in effect, takes away the individual’s liberty, freedom, or sense of self, safety, or bodily integrity.”

Some examples of behavior that may fall under this definition include:

  • Isolating the victim from family, friends, and support.
  • Controlling the victim’s money, movement, or access to transportation.
  • Threatening to harm or kill the victim or the victim’s children, relatives, or pets.
  • Threatening to publish harmful or demeaning photographs and other media of the victim.
  • Damaging or taking away the victim’s belongings.
  • Attempting to threaten or intimidate by referring to or displaying weapons.
  • Making the victim participate in something illegal.

Are You Dealing With Domestic Violence? You May Have Workplace Protections

If you are subject to domestic violence in the home, you may have rights at work.

You should contact a knowledgeable employment attorney right away. They can help you determine what your rights and protections are, and ensure that you receive them.

Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at for a free, confidential consultation today.

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.