Puerto Rico Amends Domestic Abuse Prevention and Intervention Act

On July 28, 2023, the Governor of Puerto Rico signed Law No. 74 of 2023 (“Law 74”) into law. Law 74 amends Puerto Rico’s Act for the Prevention and Intervention with Domestic Violence, adding additional protections for victims of domestic violence.

The amendment includes “economic violence” as a modality for domestic abuse. “Economic violence” is defined as:

“[C]onduct directed at impairing the present or future financial capacity, economic stability, or lodging and housing security through threats, coercion, fraud, restriction, or preventing access to or use of accounts, assets, financial information, identification or credit cards, money, or government assistance; concealment of information related to the payment of rent or mortgages,  or forced evictions; exercising undue influence on a person’s decisions or behavior or financial and economic decisions of a person, or interference in a person’s employment relationship or performance or in his or her own business. It also includes misusing the person’s financial resources, including money, assets and credit for personal gain, and preventing access to formal courses of study and impairing the victim’s academic performance.”

Exerting economic violence against a partner is a fourth-degree felony under Law 74, and may result in penalties of restitution and imprisonment. Note that the relationship between the abuser and victim is very broadly defined for purposes of the Law, including conduct against a “spouse, ex-spouse, or the person with whom they cohabit or have cohabited, or the person with whom they have or have had a consensual relationship, or the person with whom they have procreated a son or daughter, regardless of sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status of any of the people involved in the relationship…” Further, it is not necessary to prove a pattern of conduct.

Employers in Puerto Rico should review the latest amendment and update any domestic violence policies in the workplace accordingly to ensure compliance.

For more information, please contact the Faegre Drinker lawyers listed above. We will continue to report on important International Employment law developments on LaborSphere.

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