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Bon-Ton settles allegations of bias against domestic abuse victim

Posted On: Nov. 20, 2015 12:00 AM CST

The New York attorney general has reached an agreement with a department store chain that settled allegations it discriminated against a female employee who was sent home when she said she was obtaining a domestic violence protection order.

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said in a statement Thursday that in October, when Jodi Porter reported to work at the Williamsville store operated by York, Pennsylvania-based Bon-Ton Stores Inc., she informed the store's loss prevention specialists and her store manager she had received death threats from her estranged husband.

Ms. Porter said after telling the store manager she had filed a police report and was seeking an order of protection, she was sent home before the end of her scheduled shift. She was later told she would be paid for her time off, but had to stay home until she received the protection order and provided it to the store manager, according to the statement issued by Mr. Schneiderman.

Under terms of the agreement, the company has made a $5,000 contribution to the Erie County, New York, Sheriff's Department's domestic violence unit.

It has also revised its random threat response policy to prohibit discrimination on the basis of domestic violence victim status within the workplace, and to not require that a domestic violence victim provide a protective order in order to continue working, among other provisions of the agreement.

Mr. Schneiderman said in a statement, “Our agreement with Bon-Ton Stores stands as a model for other employers and will help to alleviate the hardships faced by domestic violence survivors in the workplace.”

A spokesman for Bon-Ton, which has 1,200 employees in 18 New York stores, according to the attorney general's office, could not be reached for comment.