Domestic Violence Victim Testifies in Sacramento - NBC Bay Area

Domestic Violence Victim Testifies in Sacramento

Fired teacher Carie Charlesworth’s goal is to convince the legislature to pass Senate Bill 400



    The second grade teacher fired after becoming a victim of domestic violence shared her story with state lawmakers Tuesday. NBC 7's Greg Bledsoe reports from Sacramento. (Published Tuesday, June 25, 2013)

    A San Diego private school teacher fired after domestic violence threats were made against her testified before a California Judiciary committee on Tuesday.

    Former second grade teacher Carie Charlesworth was dismissed from her job at Holy Trinity School in El Cajon earlier this year after a domestic violence dispute involving her husband.

    NBC 7 San Diego was first to report the controversial dismissal that made national headlines. Charlesworth said she felt isolated and afraid losing her job, not because of something she did but instead the violence and threats made against her.

    Charlesworth was told her ex-husband’s menacing behavior posed too much of a risk for her to work at the school. The School's decision was supported by many parents who feared for the safety of their own children.

    Charlesworth told her story to the Judiciary Committee, saying she wants to make a difference for victims facing situations similar to hers.

    “Victims should not have to continue suffering in silence due to the fear they have of losing their job," she said. "Victims need to be able to speak up about what is happening to them so they can get the help they need to leave the situation.”

    Her goal is to convince the legislature to pass Senate Bill 400. The bill would not only prevent employers from firing victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, but also require companies to make efforts to protect them.

    Charlesworth had the support of State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, who said SB 400 would correct the imbalance in current laws and will encourage employers to work together with their employees.

    “Firing a victim for disclosing status sends a disturbing and unacceptable message that women shouldn’t come forward to talk about domestic violence, where they might too, be fired," Jackson said.

    On Tuesday, SB 400 passed through a judiciary committee by a vote of 6-1.

    But the bill to prevent employers from firing employees for being victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking still has a several more steps before becoming law. Next it is on to an assembly appropriations committee and will eventually have to go to California's governor.