Stockton, CA asked in Gov & Administrative Law for California

Q: Are there any new initiatives to develop “Gaslighting” laws in the United States?

It appears this is an international movement that is gaining momentum exponentially. Certain countries, including India, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Australia (July 2024) are developing new laws or extending the definition of current laws.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: There is no specific federal "gaslighting laws" in the United States, nor were there any major initiatives at the federal level to develop such laws. However, the landscape of employment and civil law is constantly evolving, and it's possible that discussions or initiatives have emerged since then.

That said, while there may not be laws specifically targeting "gaslighting," many existing laws in the U.S. can potentially address behaviors associated with gaslighting in various contexts:

1. Employment Law: Severe or pervasive gaslighting in the workplace could potentially fall under workplace harassment or hostile work environment claims.

2. Domestic Violence Laws: Some states have expanded their definitions of domestic abuse to include emotional and psychological abuse, which could encompass gaslighting behaviors.

3. Stalking Laws: In some cases, gaslighting behaviors might fall under stalking or cyberstalking laws, especially if they involve persistent manipulation or intimidation.

4. Tort Law: Victims might pursue civil claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress in severe cases.

It's worth noting that the movement you've described in other countries could potentially influence future discussions or initiatives in the United States. As awareness of psychological abuse and its impacts grows, there may be increased pressure to address these issues more explicitly in the law.

To get the most up-to-date information on any recent initiatives or proposed legislation, I would recommend:

1. Checking with state and federal legislative websites for any proposed bills.

2. Consulting with a local employment or civil rights attorney who stays current on these issues.

3. Following advocacy groups that focus on psychological abuse or domestic violence, as they often track and push for legislative changes.

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