Former Catholic school teacher Carie Charlesworth will testify before California lawmakers on Tuesday urging them to pass a bill that would protect domestic violence victims like her from being fired from their jobs because of it.
KNSD-TV reported that Charlesworth will speak before the state Judiciary Committee at 11 a.m. local time in support of Senate Bill 400, which would not allow employers to “discharge or in any manner discriminate or retaliate” against employees who are victims of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault.
“It’s about safety,” Charlesworth told the station. “It’s about women knowing they can go into their workplace and be honest and open.”
Charlesworth was fired from her job at Holy Trinity School in San Diego after requesting a leave of absence to address threatening behavior by her ex-husband, citing safety concerns. She was also barred from teaching at any other schools in the local diocese and her children were not allowed to attend Holy Trinity.
“Sometimes it’s not the known threat that’s the biggest threat, it’s the unknown threat” she said to KNSD. “So what if I hadn’t gone to school that morning and told my principal?”
The bill also calls for employees to provide legal proof of a threat against them like a court or police order, or medical documents showing they were being treated for conditions related to stalking, domestic abuse or sexual assault. Employers would also be required to provide “reasonable accomodations” for employees in those situations if requested.
The hearing comes a week after Charlesworth received an anonymous offer of a teaching position at a school in Los Angeles. Her ex-husband is scheduled to be released from jail in late June 2013.
The hearing is streaming on audio on Tuesday and can be heard here. KNSD’s report, aired Monday, can be seen below.
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