House Bill Would Grant FMLA Leave for Crime Victims

April 23, 2008 ( - Violent crime and domestic violence victims and their families would get time off from work for required court proceedings under a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

A news release by U.S. Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-Illinois) said his Crime Victims Employment Leave Act proposal would extend the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to protect victims of violent crime and domestic violence and their families from being terminated or demoted for taking time off work to go to court.

“No victim of violent crime should have to choose between their job and medical attention.  No one should fear reprisal from their employer if they need to attend court proceedings,” said Emanuel, in the announcement. “National Crime Victims Rights Week reminds us of how important it is that we work to protect the most vulnerable.  And we should never punish victims and their families for the crimes committed against them.”

According to the announcement, Arizona, Colorado, and Maine have laws to protect victims from being terminated, demoted or required to use their leave time for court proceedings, but federal law currently contains no similar protection.

In addition to Emanuel, co-sponsors of H.R. 5845 include Representatives George Miller (D-California), Carolyn Maloney (D-New York), Jerrold Nadler (D-New York), Lynn Woosley (D-California), and Gary Ackerman (D-New York).