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Where is a Samaritan When You Need One? Continued

Jun 27, 2013 — Categories: ,

It turns out that being fired for being a battered woman is not all that unusual. In fact it is legal in 44 states. Carie Charlesworth, a teacher at a Catholic school, was fired after her abusive husband came looking for her at her work. Her case has brought this circumstance to the fore. Here is an update from one online resource, Ultraviolet, which includes a way for you to get involved.

It turns out that being fired for being a battered woman is not all that unusual. In fact it is legal in 44 states. Carie Charlesworth, a teacher at a Catholic school, was fired after her abusive husband came looking for her at her work.

Her case has brought this circumstance to the fore. Here is an update from one online resource, Ultraviolet, a U.S. group working on "a range of issues, including health care, economic security, violence, and reproductive rights":

Carie Charlesworth was fired from her job as a teacher because her abusive husband came after her at work.1 Lakisha Briggs' ex-boyfriend beat her so badly that she was airlifted to the hospital--and then she was evicted because the police call that probably saved her life violated the town’s “nuisance ordinance.”2

In 44 states, it’s completely legal to fire somebody because they are a survivor of domestic violence.3 In many cities and towns, survivors are being evicted for calling the police on their abusers, because of so-called nuisance ordinances.4 Discrimination against survivors of abuse is all too common--and totally legal in most of the country. Only a handful of states have laws to ban this sort of discrimination.5

Congress can put a stop to some of this of discrimination by passing the Security and Financial Empowerment (SAFE) Act. This bill would protect women who are survivors of abuse from employer backlash and would ban discrimination in hiring.6 After VAWA finally passed, many members of Congress are ready to do more for women who have survived abuse. If tens of thousands of us tell Congress we want the SAFE Act to be a priority, it will give the bill the momentum it needs to begin moving forward. Add your name to the petition. (Read Ultraviolet's Privacy Policy here.)

Being fired or evicted for surviving domestic violence is a devastating blow to vulnerable women who rely on their jobs for their livelihood and their ability to escape an abusive situation--and it's just plain unfair. Fear of discrimination at work discourages survivors from reporting abuse, and keeps them financially dependent on abusers so they aren’t able to leave. One study found that three-quarters of women stayed with an abuser because of economic reasons.7 “We know that economic abuse is frequent in these situations, and abusers often try to get the survivor fired in order to increase her financial dependency on him,” Kim Gandy of the National Network to End Domestic Violence told ThinkProgress last week.8

The SAFE Act doesn’t just ban employers from firing domestic violence survivors. It allows survivors who need to leave their job for their safety to access unemployment benefits--a vital lifeline for a woman who might have been forced to uproot her entire life to protect herself and her children.9

State legislatures are also tackling the issue of discrimination against domestic violence survivors. California’s state senate is currently considering a bill that would ban discrimination, and the ACLU has challenged domestic violence-related evictions in multiple states.10 If we all stand up for survivors of abuse now, we can give the SAFE Act the momentum it needs, and help push for new protections in key states as well.

So here is a way you can get involved on this issue.

By the way, I wrote to Bishop Robert Brom at the Diocese of San Diego, commented on the wrongheadedness of the school’s and Diocesan action in firing Charlesworth, and offered the assistance of FaithTrust Institute in developing ways to assist battered women in the pews and in their employment. I am awaiting his reply.

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
FaithTrust Institute
www.faithtrustinstitute.org

Sources:

1. In All But Six States, You Can Be Fired For Being A Victim Of Domestic Violence, ThinkProgress, June 20, 2013
2. Briggs v. Borough of Norristown et al., ACLU
3. In All But Six States, You Can Be Fired For Being A Victim Of Domestic Violence, ThinkProgress, June 20, 2013
4. Shut Up or Get Out: PA City Punishes Domestic Violence Victims Who Call the Police, ACLU, April 24, 2013
5-8. In All But Six States, You Can Be Fired For Being A Victim Of Domestic Violence, ThinkProgress, June 20, 2013
9. Rep. Roybal-Allard Introduces Legislation to Aid Victims of Domestic Violence, Rep. Roybal-Allard, March 18, 2013
Murray Introduces Legislation Guaranteeing Financial Protections to Victims of Abuse, Sen. Murray, Oct 1, 2009
10. In All But Six States, You Can Be Fired For Being A Victim Of Domestic Violence, ThinkProgress, June 20, 2013
Shut Up or Get Out: PA City Punishes Domestic Violence Victims Who Call the Police, ACLU, April 24, 2013

 

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Charlesworth Family

Posted by Rhonda Lee Case at Jun 27, 2013 09:13 PM
I called the Diocese of San Diego as well to recommend they contact you! Kent Peters "reassured" me that the Diocese offers excellent training about DV to parishes. He is mailing materials. Sigh. Covering one's ass is not the ass on which Jesus rode, was it?

response to this blog

Posted by Ellen Johanson at Jun 27, 2013 09:15 PM
I'd like to know the six states that ban this type of behavior. May we all challenge the other 44 states to change their ways.