Massachusetts Violence in the Workplace laws & safety compliance analysis

Massachusetts Violence in the Workplace: What you need to know

State Requirements
Victims of Abuse

State law requires that all employers with 50 or more employees permit an employee to take up to 15 days of leave from work in any 12-month period if:

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1. The employee, or a family member of the employee, is a victim of abusive behavior;

2. The employee is using the leave to seek or obtain 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 official; or attend child custody proceedings or address other issues directly related to the abusive behavior against the employee or family member of the employee; and

3. The employee is not the perpetrator of the abusive behavior against such employee’s family member.

The employer has sole discretion to determine whether leave is paid or unpaid. Employees must exhaust all annual or vacation leave, personal leave, and sick leave available to them before requesting or taking victims’ leave, unless the employer waives this requirement (MA Gen. laws Ch.149 Sec. 52E).


For the purposes of state law granting leave for victims of domestic violence, the following definitions apply.

"Abuse" is defined as 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 ...

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