All About Crime Victims Leave in California

Crimes victims leave is time off from work granted to people in California who are victims of a crime. There are two types of victims leave in California:

  1. victim's leave for judicial proceedings related to the crime; and
  2. leave for any proceeding involving victim's rights.

Both are similar and in many cases provide for the same rights to take time off work when a crime has been committed against an employee.

Who is a "victim?"

A person is a "victim" under the law if:

  • he or she suffers;
  • physical, psychological, or financial harm;
  • as a result of the commission or attempted commission of a crime or delinquent act.

A victim also includes that person's:

  • spouse,
  • parent,
  • child,
  • sibling, or
  • guardian.

The term is defined broadly to protect nearly any person who has been affected by a crime.

Notification Requirements

California law requires that employees:

  • provide reasonable advance notice of the intent to take time off from work;
  • unless reasonable advance notice is not possible.

If an employee misses work and that absence is unscheduled, the employer has the right to ask for certification of the event which caused the employee to miss work.

No Discrimination or Retaliation

An employer is not allowed to:

If the employer violates the law by committing one of these acts, the employer is guilty of a California misdemeanor. Additionally, an employment attorney can:

  • file a claim,
  • with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement,
  • of the Department of Industrial Relations,
  • on your behalf.

Below, our California employment and labor lawyers discuss the following frequently asked questions about California workplace leave laws for crime victims:

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Crimes victims leave is time off from work granted to people in California who are victims of a crime.

1. What is California's crime victims leave?

California law provides two different forms of crime victims leave:

  1. for judicial proceedings related to the crime; and 1
  2. for any proceeding involving the victim's rights. 2

Both are largely similar and this article will reference all of the rights you have under both laws.

2. What crimes are covered under California leave law?

Under the two forms of leave, the types of crimes included are:

  • a violent felony
  • a serious felony
  • a felony provision of law proscribing theft or embezzlement
  • vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated
  • felony child abuse likely to produce great bodily harm or a death
  • assault resulting in the death of a child under eight years of age
  • felony domestic violence
  • felony physical abuse of an elder or dependent adult
  • felony stalking
  • solicitation for murder
  • hit-and-run causing death or injury
  • felony driving under the influence causing injury; and
  • sexual assault. 3

Many different crimes are covered under California law, and the definition of "crime" is intended to be broad. Coverage will apply in many different situations.

3. Do I have to notify my employer of intent to take time off work?

An employee is required to give his or her employer reasonable advance notice if he or she intends to take time off from work. If advance notice is not feasible, it is not required. 4

If the time taken off work is unexpected or unscheduled, like in a crisis situation, an employer may require certain written documentation to show that the employee was the victim of a crime. Proof can include:

  • a police report regarding the incident of domestic violence or sexual assault;
  • a court order which separates the employee from the alleged perpetrator, or other documents from the court; or
  • documentation from a medical professional such as a doctor, domestic violence advocate, health care provider, or counselor.

An employee is not required to prove that a crime has occurred as part of the advance notice.

4. Am I entitled to pay while I am off work?

Employees are not guaranteed the right to a continued paycheck by law. However, certain union or employment agreements may guarantee the right to pay during such times.

To receive a paycheck, California law allows employees to use any accrued:

5. Can an employer punish me for taking time off work?

No. It is illegal for an employer to punish an employee for taking time off work under these circumstances. Employers may not:

  • demote,
  • wrongfully terminate,
  • refuse to rehire,
  • fail to promote,
  • suspend, or
  • in any other way discriminate against the employee for taking leave.

Abuse of an employee for taking needed time off from work can come in many forms. If you have questions about how you were treated, an experienced employment attorney can tell you if your rights were violated.

6. What if my employer violated my rights?

If an employer illegally acts against an employee because of the use of crime victims leave, the employee may file a claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement of the Department of Industrial Relations.

The Division will review the employee's claim for illegal actions on the part of the employer. If the employee's rights were violated, he or she may be entitled to:

The employer will also be found guilty of a misdemeanor. 5

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Call us for help...

For questions about crime victims leave or to confidentially discuss your case with one of our skilled California employment attorneys, do not hesitate to contact us at the Shouse Law Group.

We have local law offices in and around Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities.


Legal References:

  1. California Labor Code § 230.2.
  2. California Labor Code § 230.5.
  3. See footnotes 1 and 2.
  4. California Labor Code § 230.5(b).
  5. California Labor Code § 230.5(c).

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