Fired For Being A Victim Of Domestic Violence

You can be fired in 44 states if you are a victim of domestic violence. Carie Charlesworth, right, was abused by her former husband. Sadly, that is not unusual -- one of an estimated 1.3 million women are said to be victims of domestic violence each year.

But what is remarkable is what happened to the former San Diego second grade teacher as a result of her ex-husband Martin Charlesworth repeatedly stalking her at work (he's served time in prison and is now out on parole). Her then-employer, the Holy Trinity School, fired her in the "interest of the safety of the students, faculty and parents" at the school, according to the letter signed by Tom Beecher and Bobbie Espinosa, school directors for the Diocese of San Diego.

Losing a job for these reasons is legal in all but six states in the U.S. Just Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island have laws that ban discrimination against victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault, according to Legal Momentum, the New York-based women's advocacy organization.

Should more states adopt laws? How many women have been fired for being victims of domestic violence? And how did Charlesworth deal with this trauma? Charlesworth and Michelle Caiola, a senior staff attorney with Legal Momentum, discussed these questions and more during this week's AOL Jobs' "Lunchtime Live." Rachael Langston, who's an attorney with the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, which is an organizational co-sponsor of California Senate Bill 400 that would make it illegal to discriminate against domestic violence victims in the Golden State, also joined the chat. (A rep from the San Diego Archdiocese was invited to participate in the chat, but did not respond to AOL Jobs' request.)

Watch the highlights reel below, and the full discussion here.

Lunchtime Live -- Fired For Being A Victim Of Domestic Violence




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Dan Fastenberg

Dan Fastenberg

Associate Editor

Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.

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Bobbi Ysmael

Like Madeleine Albright says, "There's a special place in HELL for women who don't help each other." I do believe that. yes, I do.

July 14 2013 at 11:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bobbi Ysmael

Yes, it's like you get excluded away from society when you've been through a really bad domestic violence situation. I've been living on my own now for one year and a half and NO ONE wants anything to do with me. Where's my friends? Where's all the people that I love? Why? I don't understand. Just what she's saying. These people who were our friends have turned on us. It is so not right. Where's the support for ex domestic violence victims? Where? What happened to "Waiting To Exhale"? What happened to that? is it becoming socially acceptable to just stay in a domestic violence situation? Rather then leave? Really???

July 14 2013 at 11:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bobbi Ysmael

Because of the issues that I went through with my ex, some of my work positions have discriminated against me as well. I know exactly what she's going through. It's SOOO not right.

July 14 2013 at 11:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bobbi Ysmael

Mine was in October, November, and December of 2011.

July 14 2013 at 11:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bobbi Ysmael

I firmly believe that. This is woman, a mother, a sister, a daughter, and it could be anyone of you guys. HELP HER. Unless we go back 20 years to the time of the BURNING BED. Do you remember that? Why? Because you can't leave your husband and your husband can get away with it as usual. Who's going to do anything? Absolutely no one. So, who will the next victim be? Will there be help for you?

July 14 2013 at 11:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bobbi Ysmael

That's how it was for me. if she doesn't leave then fire her and tell her that it will go in her work record as risky behavior and that you can't put the public that this business has to cater in that kind of risky situation. She made her choice. I HAD no other choice but to leave mine because he literally tried to kill me. So, it's a good thing she's alive and she needs to stay away from this guy because he may try to kill her so in that context, domestic violence victims need all the support they can get. Madeleine Albright once said that, "There is a special place in HELL for women who don't help other women."

July 14 2013 at 11:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bobbi Ysmael

Where is the support for ex domestic violence victims? I can understand the school's point of view. My ex tried to murder me. In my opinion, what the school may want to do instead is to give this woman a few months of paid leave and then give her the option of either leaving her husband or leaving her job. I, for one, who has been there and done that, would highly recommend that. If she chooses to leave her husband, then the school may want to support her and help her get on her own two feet. Because the main problem with men who do commit Domestic Violence is that they think, "Well, she'll put up with it or shut up because she has no other choice. I put a roof over her head, I feed her, I clothe her, she has nowhere else to go, so I have no other choice but to have her here and I hate her for that."

July 14 2013 at 11:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CDVORG

This is a real shame. Although the details of how menacing he was at her place of employment are not mentioned in this story. It is heartbreaking for her to lose her job under these circumstances, but in the light of the many recent school shootings, the diocese was doing what he thought best and safest for the children at the school. If my children went to that school I would be relieved. As big of a place as I have in my heart for victims of DV the safety of children is even greater. I work with http://cdv.org/ so my love for keeping children safe from DV runs very deep. My hope is that he stays in prison for a very long time.

July 11 2013 at 3:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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