Ask the Legal: Can I terminate an employee who has a violent spouse or domestic partner?
The answer to this question depends on a number of important factors. Federal employment laws do not prohibit discrimination against employees who are victims of domestic violence. However, the EEOC has taken the position that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act may apply to employment situations involving applicants and employees who are victims of domestic violence. Such discrimination most likely would come in the form of a disparate treatment or sexual stereotyping claim. However, under certain circumstances, an employer may be justified in taking an adverse action against an employee out of concern for the safety of its other employees and customers. Because this is such an unsettled area of the law, it is imperative that the employer seek legal counsel before making any decisions.
As appeared in: Pittsburgh Business Times, 1/18/2013