Employment

Please note: The legal options and laws outlined below provide general information only. VRLC attorneys provide legal assistance to individual sexual assault survivors with employment legal needs related to the assault in Massachusetts and Oregon.

For individual legal advice in Massachusetts, please call us at (617) 399-6720 x19.
For individual legal advice in Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties, Oregon please call us at (503) 274-5477 x6.

A sexual assault can have a very serious impact on an individual's work life.  The Victim Rights Law Center's attorneys can help in a variety of ways:

  • Negotiate with your employer to change your schedule or change your location to ensure your physical safety
  • Seek no-trespass orders from your employer
  • Help you seek Unemployment Insurance if you have had to leave your job, and represent you in Unemployment Hearings if your employer contests your benefits
  • Help you apply for lost wages through Victim Compensation. Please also refer to our Financial Stability page for more information on Victim Compensation
  • Help you file a Wage and Hour Complaint with the Attorney General's office if you have not received your proper wages due to the sexual assault

The Victim Rights Law Center can also refer you to trusted employment attorneys in Massachusetts or Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties, Oregon, who can help you assess if any of the following remedies may be available to you:

Family and Medical Leave Act

If a person has been working for a year or more at a place with more than 50 employees, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act may be applicable. The Act allows qualified employees to take an extended and unpaid leave from work for certain reasons, such as medical emergencies, without harming your employment. Massachusetts grants similar protections through the Small Necessities Leave Act. A complaint may be filed with the Wage and Hour division of the Massachusetts Attorney General's office or through the federal Department of Labor. Your state might also have an equivalent state law granting those benefits. Please consult with an attorney to see if you would qualify.

Sex Discrimination Claim

If a person is sexually assaulted by a co-worker/supervisor, or assaulted while at work, he or she may qualify for a discrimination claim under both state and federal law. In Massachusetts, a complaint of sex discrimination under M.G.L. Chapter 151B must be first filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD). The claim must be filed within 300 days of the most recent discriminatory act or harassment. It is also important to note that the MCAD only has jurisdiction over a claim of sex discrimination for covered employers, which depends on the type of employer they are (public or private). Generally, a private employer must have more than six employees to move forward with a sex discrimination complaint, though other laws may prohibit these employers from engaging in discriminatory acts. Other laws may be used to work around cases involving an employer with fewer than six employees. Claims under the federal sex discrimination laws are filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Please consult with an attorney to see if you would qualify.

Americans with Disabilities Act

If a person is disabled or has become disabled as a result of a sexual assault, the Americans with Disabilities Act can be used to seek reasonable accommodations from employers. If an employer refuses to accommodate the disability or if the employer discriminates based on the disability, a disability discrimination complaint can be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC). Please note that in order for the EEOC to have jurisdiction, the employer must be a covered with a certain number of employees; this depends on the type of employer they are (public, private, etc). Please consult with an attorney to see if you would qualify.

Worker's Compensation

If a person is injured in the workplace from a sexual assault, they might be eligible for a Workers' Compensation claim.  Each state has its own procedures for Workers' Compensation. If you have been sexually assaulted or raped at work, you may have a worker's compensation claim against your employer for medical coverage and lost wages as well as a separate claim against the perpetrator for any damages, including pain and suffering. In Massachusetts, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development is the administrative agency responsible for overseeing Worker's Compensation.  Consult with an attorney to see if you would qualify.

If you are a victim or an advocate and have specific questions or concerns about any of these employment issues in Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties, Oregon, you can contact us.