Leave for Victims of Crime

Issued: March 19, 2019
Last Revised: June 7, 2023
Last Reviewed: August 20, 2023                                        

2. Policy Purpose

USC is committed to providing unpaid leave and reasonable accommodations for employees who are victims and/or survivors of crime or abuse, including, but not limited to the crimes of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, to attend legal proceedings and obtain other needed relief.

Additionally, employees may use this leave for their own or their children’s health, safety, or welfare. This includes time-off for medical treatment; psychological counseling or other services; safety planning, including relocation; or legal proceedings.  Employees may also use this leave to attend judicial proceedings where an immediate family member (as defined below) has been a victim and/or survivor of a serious or violent crime. For purposes of this policy, the crimes of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are defined in California Labor Code Section 230.1.

3. Policy Statement

For the purpose of this policy, USC is making the leaves portion of this policy applicable to all employees, regardless of whether an employee lives or works in the State of California. If an employee resides in a state that provides a more generous leave, then the more generous state leave applies.

Policy Expectations

USC expects all employees, supervisors, Deans of Faculty, Department Chairs, and HR Partners to act in good faith when requesting and approving leaves of absence and time-off under this policy. In the event USC becomes aware that actions taken do not align with the policy, corrective and disciplinary steps may be pursued.

Non-Retaliation or Discrimination Notice

USC will not take any adverse employment action against any eligible employee for requesting or taking leave as permitted under this policy. If an employee believes that any adverse employment action has been or is being taken against the employee for exercising leave rights under this leave policy, the employee should contact the Office of Professionalism and Ethics by phone at 213-740-2500 or 800-348-7454 or email at ope@usc.edu.

4. Scope and Application

All faculty and staff, exempt and non-exempt, at all USC locations, who are victims and/or survivors of crime (as defined below) or the parent of a victim and/or survivor of crime, including, but not limited to, the crimes of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, are eligible. This also covers employees whose immediate family member is deceased as the direct result of crime.

In the event of a discrepancy between this policy and an employee’s collective bargaining agreement, the terms of the collective bargaining agreement will govern.

5. Definitions

The definitions below are applicable for the purposes of this policy.

Immediate Family Member– Child regardless of age, including a biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, or legal ward, a child of a domestic partner, a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis.
– Parent, including biological parents, adoptive parents, foster parent, legal guardian, stepparent, parent of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner, a person who stood in loco parentis when the employee or the employee’s spouse or domestic partner was a minor child.
– Spouse or domestic partner.
– Sibling, including biological, foster, or adoptive sibling, a stepsibling, or a half-sibling.
– Any other individual whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family member.
CrimeIncludes any felony or misdemeanor, whether or not anyone is arrested, charged, prosecuted, or convicted of the criminal act.
Victim/SurvivorIncludes a victim and/or survivor of stalking, domestic violence, sexual assault, or any other crime that caused physical injury or mental injury and a threat of physical injury. A victim and/or survivor also includes a person whose immediate family member is deceased as a result of a crime. For purposes of appearing in a judicial proceeding only, a victim and/or survivor includes anyone against whom any crime has been committed.

6. Policy Details

Length of Leave and Pay Continuance

Employees may take the time-off as needed without pay or may choose to use accrued vacation or sick time concurrently with some or all of this leave.

Other Leave Considerations

Leave for injuries resulting from being the victim and/or survivor of crime, including, but not limited to, the crimes of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, may run concurrently with other types of leaves, such as Paid Sick Leave and leaves entitled under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).

Benefits and Service Accrual

During leave under this policy, USC will maintain eligibility for employees and their family members who participate in USC’s health, welfare, and retirement plans on the same terms as if the employees had continued to work.

Leave taken under this policy will not be treated as a break in continuous service for purposes of seniority and salary adjustments. 

Return to Work

Upon conclusion of leave, employees will be reinstated to the same position held when leave began, or to a position with equivalent seniority status, employee benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment.

Reasonable Accommodation

USC takes the safety of all employees very seriously. Any employee who is a victim and/or survivor of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and is concerned for their safety at the workplace may request reasonable accommodations. When a request for reasonable accommodations is received, USC will engage in an interactive process with the employee to determine what accommodations can be made for the employee’s safety. An accommodation may include, for example, putting in locks, changing the employee’s shift or phone number, transferring, or reassigning the employee, or help with keeping a record of what happened to the employee, to the extent such potential accommodations will not cause an undue hardship on USC, or potentially create an unsafe or unhealthy workplace for any other USC employees. USC may require that the employee provide a signed statement certifying that the reasonable accommodation is for a proper purpose. USC may also request recertification every six (6) months after the date of the first certification for continued accommodations if applicable.

7. Procedures

Employees should request leave under this policy with as much advance notice as possible of the intended dates of the leave by contacting the HR Service Center. When advance notice is not feasible, employees may provide documentation certifying the absence was related to being a victim and/or survivor of a crime or, in the event of attending judicial proceedings related to an immediate family member who is the victim and/or survivor of a crime, documentation evidencing attending a judicial proceeding within a reasonable time. When such certification is provided, no disciplinary action for the absence will be taken. Certification may include, but is not limited to, any of the following:

  • A police report or a USC Department of Public Safety report indicating that the employee was a victim and/or survivor of a crime, or that the employee’s child was a victim and/or survivor of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking
  • A court order protecting or separating the employee from the perpetrator of a crime, or other evidence from the court or prosecuting agency, that the employee or the employee’s child appeared in court
  • Documentation from a licensed medical professional, domestic violence advocate, licensed health care provider, the Department of Child and Family Services, or other counselor, that the employee or employee’s child was undergoing treatment for physical or mental injuries or abuse resulting from being subjected to a criminal act
  • Documentation from a court or government agency setting the hearing, the district attorney or prosecuting attorney’s office, or documentation from the victim/survivor/witness office that is advocating on behalf of the victim and/or survivor regarding a court appearance

To the extent allowable by law, USC will maintain the confidentiality of any employee requesting leave under this policy, and the confidentiality of associated records.

Supervisors and Deans or Department Chairs with questions regarding the application of this policy should consult the HR Service Center for additional guidance.

8. Forms

Rights of Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking (English) 

Rights of Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking (Spanish)

9. Responsibilities

HR Service Center1. Support the employee, supervisors and Deans or Department Chairs with questions and application of the policy
Human Resources Partner (“HRP”) or Leave Administration Specialist (“LAS”)Ensures employee has the appropriate forms, if applicable, and information for understanding their personal leaveCollects the required forms, if applicable, and places the employee on the appropriate leavesManages the use of Sick Time Accruals and/or Vacation Time Accruals and/or or PTO Time Accruals and/or Winter Recess AccrualsManages the return-to-work process
Leave Administration DepartmentRevises the policy based on changes in State and Federal legislationManages escalations received from HRP and LAS. 

10. Related Information

Faculty Handbook

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)/California Family Rights Act (CFRA) Leave Policy

Paid Sick Time Policy

Vacation Time – Staff Policy

Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation 

11. Contacts

Please direct any questions regarding this policy to:

HR Service Center(213) 821-8100uschr@usc.edu
Leave Administration Specialist (“LAS”)(213) 821-8100uschr@usc.edu
Leave Administration(213) 821-8100leaveadmin@usc.edu