All employers must implement a Domestic Violence Situation Management Protocol
Law No. 217 of September 29, 2006, requires both public and private sector employers to develop and implement a protocol to manage domestic violence situations in the workplace.
The legislation was motivated by the need to promote the public policy of zero tolerance of domestic violence. The implementation of the protocol intends to provide uniformity with respect to measures and procedures to be followed when an employee, male or female, has been a victim of domestic violence. The law states that taking effective, preventive and security measures will enable the adequate handling of cases that may carry over into the workplace.
It is the responsibility of each employer in Puerto Rico to comply with the requirement of establishing the protocol, which should include the following minimum requirements:
- a declaration of public policy,
- a legal basis,
- personal duties and
- uniform procedures to be followed in the handling of such cases.
In addition, employees must receive a copy of the protocol, and must be trained thereon.
As with any other discrimination suit under Law Number 11 of June 30, 1959 (which Law No. 271 amended), an employee that suffers an adverse employment action under this new category will benefit from a legal presumption that the employer took adverse employment action against him or her without cause. The employer will have the burden of persuasion to prove just cause.
In addition to risk of employment discrimination suits for not implementing a protocol, employers could be fined up to $10,000 by the Office of the Solicitor for Women.
Compliance with these requirements must take place immediately.
For another article regarding the protocol please refer to the Fall, 2006, issue of Puerto Rico Business Law Developments.
© 2007 Goldman Antonetti & Cordova, LLC