EL CAJON, Calif. – A domestic violence victim, fired from her teaching job after receiving threats from her estranged husband, has taken her story to the State Capitol.
On Tuesday, Carie Charlesworth testified before the Assembly Judiciary Committee in support of Senate Bill 400. The bill, backed by State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, would prevent employers from firing or discriminating against an employee who has been a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
It would also require employers to make reasonable efforts to protect victims at their workplace from their abuser or stalker.
“What I have gone through – will help other people,” Charlesworth told Fox 5 Tuesday evening after returning to San Diego.
Charlesworth spent the day in Sacramento sharing her domestic violence story with lawmakers.
“I shouldn’t have suffered for the decisions of another person and those decisions have impacted my children,” said Charlesworth. “It’s impacted my future and it’s something that I had no control over.”
Charlesworth explained to the committee how in January she informed her employer, Holy Trinity Catholic School, to be on the lookout for her estranged husband. That day he showed up in the school parking lot, spurring a lock-down.
“I did what I was supposed to do,” said Charlesworth. “I did what they tell victims to do in these situations.”
No one at the school was affected, but after the incident the Diocese sent her a letter saying her contract wouldn’t be renewed.
Senator Jackson said situations like this are why she is pushing for S.B. 400.
“Our current laws encourage and indeed they aid and abet abusers and discourage victims from coming forward,” said Jackson. “When we should be empowering and supporting victims and working together to make our workplaces safer.”
That’s why Jackson invited Charlesworth to Sacramento to give a voice to victims everywhere.
“If other women are suffering the same experience that I went through and they don’t speak up there could be far more drastic tragedies then what we’re seeing in society today,” said Charlesworth.
The bill passed through the Judiciary Committee by a vote of 6-1. Now it moves on to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration.