Policy on Domestic Violence Leave
- Policy Category and Number: Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
- Effective Date: 04/26/2023
- Responsible Officer(s): Vice President of Diversity and Equity; Human Resources
- History: New Policy
- Responsible Office: Office of Institutional Equity
- Location: Link
In compliance with G.L. c. s. 52E, and pursuant to Wentworth Institute of Technology's commitment to the health and wellness of all employees, this policy provides up to fifteen days of job protected leave in a 12- month period for specified purposes relating to domestic violence or related abuse.
This policy applies to all individuals employed by Wentworth Institute of Technology, including both exempt and non-exempt employees.
Wentworth Institute of Technology (hereinafter “the university”) recognizes that university employees may take up to fifteen (15) days of job protected leave during a 12-month period for purposes for the following reasons:
- obtaining medical attention, counseling, victim services or legal assistance;
- secure housing;
- obtain a protective order from a court;
- appear in court or before a grand jury;
- meet with a district attorney or other law enforcement officials;
- or attend child custody proceedings;
- address other issues directly related to the abusive behavior involving the employee or a family member of an employee.
Compensation During Leave
- Employees may use personal days, sick days, or earned vacation time for leave taken pursuant to this policy.
- If an employee does not have personal days, sick days, or earned vacation time available, the time off will not be compensated.
- Leave taken under to this policy runs concurrently with all available personal or medical leaves, including leaves taken pursuant to the Family Medical Leave Act, the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act, the Massachusetts Earned Sick Leave Law, and other leave laws or policies.
- Employees who are the perpetrators of the abusive behavior are not entitled to the benefits outlined in this policy.
- Wentworth will not tolerate retaliation against persons who utilize the leave benefits established by this policy.
Abusive behavior: Attempting to cause or causing physical harm; placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm; causing another to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force; threat or duress or engaging or threatening to engage in sexual activity with a dependent child; engaging in mental abuse, which includes threats, intimidation or acts designed to induce terror; depriving another of medical care, housing, food, or other necessities of life; or restraining the liberty of another.
Domestic Violence: Abuse against an employer or the employee’s family member by a current or former spouse of the employee or the employee’s family member; a person with whom the employee or the employee’s family member shares a child in common; a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the employee or the employee’s family member; a person who is related by blood or marriage to the employee; or a person with whom the employee or employee’s family member has or had a dating or engagement relationship
Employee: All full and part-time staff, including faculty. Vendors are not typically considered employees.
Family Member: Parent, step-parent, child, step-child, sibling, grandparent or grandchild; a married spouse; persons in a substantive dating or engagement relationship and who reside together; persons having a child in common regardless of whether they have ever married or resided together; or persons in a guardianship relationship.
Notification of Leave
- Employees seeking domestic violence leave should notify the Office of Institutional Equity of the leave as soon as practicable. OIE will work in conjunction with Human Resources.
- In situations where there is a threat of imminent danger to the health or safety of the employee or the covered family member, advanced notice is not required, but the Office of Institutional Equity or Human Resources must be informed of the leave within three (3) business days.
- Notification may be provided by the employee, a family member, or a professional assisting the employee.
Typically, employees are required to provide documentation to support a request for leave, made pursuant to this policy.
Any required documentation may be submitted to the Office of Institutional Equity and/or Human Resources and will be kept confidential, with the following exceptions:
- The employee's written requests or consent;
- Court order;
- To comply with state or local law;
- Required in the course of an investigation;
- Necessary to protect the employee or others employed at the university.
Documentation may include, but is not limited to:
- A protective order or other documentation of equitable relief issued by a court of competent jurisdiction as a result of the abusive behavior;
- A document on the letterhead of the court, provider, or public agency which the employee attended for the purpose of requiring assistance as it related to the abusive behavior;
- A police report or police incident report;
- A statement of a victim or witness to the police documenting the abusive behavior;
- Documentation that the perpetrator of the abusive behavior has: admitted to sufficient facts to support a finding of guilt for the abusive behavior, or has been convicted, or has been adjudicated a juvenile delinquent;
- Medical documentation of treatment as a result of the abusive behavior;
- A sworn statement provided by a counselor, social worker, health worker, member of the clergy, shelter worker, legal advocate or other professional who has assisted the employee; or
- A sworn statement from the employee attesting that they or their family member has been the victim of abusive behavior.
Return from Leave
- Upon return from leave, the employee will return to their original job or to an equivalent position.
- The university will not take any disciplinary action against the employee for an unscheduled absence, provided that the employee provides any of the documentation listed above within 30 days of the absence.
Additional Information and Related Documents
Interpretation & Mission
Any questions of interpretation regarding this policy shall be referred to Executive Director of Equity and Compliance or Human Resources. They will be the final authority regarding the interpretation of this policy.
This policy shall be reviewed every 3 years, however minor changes and updates can be made at any time.
In instances where two or more policies are implicated, a case-by-case determination will be made to determine what policy will be used.
Review and Revision History
This policy was drafted by representatives from the Office of Institutional Equity and the Office of Human Resources. This policy was reviewed by Cabinet and approved by the President on April 26, 2023.