Urge Congress to Pass Employment Protections for Domestic Violence Victims

European Parliament

Target: House Speaker John Boehner

Goal: Protect victims of domestic violence from employment discrimination

In all but six states, a person can be legally fired for being a victim of domestic violence. Outside of Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island, it is legal to fire a victim of domestic violence because of their status, or the actions of their abusive spouse. This outrageous legality was recently demonstrated when California school teacher Carie Charlesworth was fired from her job because her abusive husband appeared at her school and put the school on lockdown.

Ms. Charlesworth is one of the countless women and men who has continued to suffer for the crimes of her abuser. According to the Family Violence Prevention Fund, 74% of female victims of domestic violence reported being harassed at work by their abusers. Abusive spouses and partners don’t just cause their victims to miss or be late for work. In 2004 the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that homicide is second leading cause of workplace death for women, while for men it was tied in fourth place with “exposure to harmful substances”. The Mary Kay Foundation has also reported that three-quarters of domestic violence women have stayed with their abusers longer for financial reasons.

A bill in Congress would extend protection to victims of domestic violence by protecting them from discriminatory treatment by their employers. Please add your voice to this petitition and urge House Speaker John Boehner to see that the victims of domestic violence are not punished by their employers for the crimes of their abusers.


Dear Representative Boehner,

I am writing to you in regards to H.R.1229, Security and Financial Empowerment Act. I urge that you use your influence as Speaker and Majority Leader to see that this important legislation passes, so that victims of domestic violence are protected from discriminatory treatment by their employers.

Currently, only six states—Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island—provide any legal protection for the victims of domestic violence from discrimination in the workplace. Without such protections, the victims of domestic violence can end up like Carie Charlesworth, a California schoolteacher who was fired after her abusive husband showed up at her school and caused the campus to be locked down. The affects of domestic violence at the workplace are pervasive and severe. Three-quarters of battered women reported their abusers harassing them at work according to a report by the Family Violence Prevention Fund. The impact of domestic violence goes far beyond loss of employment and productivity; for women in the workplace, homicide is the second leading cause of death after auto accidents, while its fourth for men.

The victims of domestic violence suffer enough at the hands of their abusers. Congress must act to protect victims from being victimized again just for being victims, and pass the Security and Financial Empowerment Act. In this time of partisan gridlock, I ask that you use your authority and influence to achieve something lasting that both sides of the aisle can agree is good and necessary.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: European Parliament via Flickr

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78 Signatures

  • Hermann Kastner
  • James Thrailkill
  • Mal Gaff
  • Terrie Phenicie
  • Nancy Petersen
  • Holly Hall
  • Frédérique Pommarat
  • Marianne Oelman
  • Melanie waleski
  • Ricki Newman
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