Headshot of Robin Runge

Robin Runge

  • Hosted by Legal Aid at Work
  • Sponsored by McKutchen Doyle
  • Service location San Francisco, California
  • Law school The George Washington University Law School
  • Issue area Domestic Violence, Employment
  • Fellowship class year 1997
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

 The Project

During the Fellowship, Robin advocated for the employment rights of victims of domestic violence. 

Survivors of domestic and sexual violence make up a large percentage of the workforce and experience barriers to obtaining and maintaining employment. At the same time, economic security is a primary barrier to leaving abusive relationships. This project addressed this need by providing direct representation, education and awareness, and policy advocacy on the employment rights of survivors of domestic violence.  

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship, Robin:

  • Successfully built coalitions that drafted and advocated for passage of three California laws expanding employment protections for victims of domestic violence: (1) clarifying access to unemployment insurance; (2) requiring employers to provide unpaid job guaranteed leave from work to survivors to attend court proceedings related to seeking safety, heal from injuries and relocate; (3) expanding the purposes for taking this leave.
  • Brought landmark case that established that a psychological injury or illness caused by domestic violence may qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act requiring an accommodation and related protections from discrimination an retaliation.
  • Developed know your rights fact sheets on the employment rights of survivors and had them translated into 7 languages.
  • Conducted know your rights trainings for hundreds of survivors, service providers and allied service providers throughout California.
  • Received national federal grant from the Office on Violence Against Women at the U.S. Department of Justice to provide support and technical assistance to advocates and lawyers nationally on the employment rights of survivors. 

Next Steps

Robin is now

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Sponsor: Baker McKenzie, Merck & Co., Inc.

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Sponsor: General Electric Company, King & Spalding LLP

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Rachel White-Domain

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Sponsor: Albert & Anne Mansfield Foundation

Katherine Ziomek

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Sponsor: Medtronic, Robins Kaplan LLP

Current Fellow