Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.
The governor of Puerto Rico recently signed into law amendments to Act No. 54 of August 15, 1989, “Act for the Prevention and Intervention with Domestic Violence.” The amendments include “economic violence” as a form of domestic violence, and provide additional remedies for addressing this specific type of domestic violence, such as specifically tailored protective orders.
Economic violence, as defined by the statute, is conduct aimed at undermining the victim’s present or future financial capacity, economic stability or secure housing. Economic violence may be perpetrated through various means, including threats, coercion, fraud, restriction or denial of access or use of accounts, assets, financial information, government assistance, or hiding relevant information to pay for housing, among other conduct. It may also include interference with a victim’s employment or business.
These amendments are particularly relevant for employers. Under Puerto Rico law (Act No. 217-2006), employers must create and enforce a policy for addressing domestic violence in the workplace. To the extent that these amendments redefine the scope of domestic violence and its possible impact in the workplace, employers should start considering amending these policies in accordance with the amendments, while staying vigilant for any guidance issued by the Women’s Solicitor’s Office on this matter.