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Risk Management Bulletin


By June 1, 2011No Comments

Chances are you employ someone who’s a victim of domestic violence. Is this any of your business? It is when domestic violence enters your workplace!

According to government statistics, there are as many as 40,000 incidents of on-the-job violence in which the victims knew their attackers intimately. More than 70% of human resources and security personnel surveyed by the American Bar Association’ Commission on Domestic Violence reported an incident of domestic violence in their workplace. These events cost businesses millions of dollars a year by endangering co-workers, disrupting workflow, and leading to vandalism and property damage – not to mention lowering the productivity of female victims (due to higher rates of depression, absenteeism, and substance abuse problems).

Consider the legal implications: Federal and state laws require employers to provide a safe workplace If you’re aware of a domestic violence threat in the workplace and fail to, act you could face costly liability if there’s an incident in the workplace.

According to the Family Violence Prevention Fund, supervisors are frequently among the first people in the workplace to become aware that an employee is the victim of domestic violence. Train supervisors to look for employees who:

  • Have unexplained bruises or bruises that don’t seem to fit professed injuries
  • Wear inappropriate clothing that might be covering up injuries
  • Seem distracted, upset, or depressed, at work
  • Have a high rate of absenteeism
  • Receive repeated upsetting phone calls at work

Supervisors who notice any of these signs should tell the employee – privately – what they’ve noticed, refer the employee to available company or community support, and report the situation to management and security personnel.

To help safeguard employees against domestic violence incidents on the job, we’d recommend taking these basic security steps:

  • Encourage employees to notify r supervisors about abuse, stalking, restraining orders, etc., and to provide photos of batterers to security personnel.
  • Create a buddy or escort system to walk at-risk employees to and from the parking lot or public transportation.
  • Provide a portable alarm that the employee can activate if confronted by an attacker at work.
  • Offer counseling services or inform the employee about services available in the community.
  • Create and enforce effective procedures limiting access to the workplace (IDs, visitor sign in and escort, etc.)
  • Transfer threatened employees from front-line customer service areas to back offices or even to other worksites, until the problem is resolved.
  • If possible, adjust the employee’s work schedule and/or grant leave if the employee needs to take time off for medical assistance, legal assistance, court appearances, counseling, relocation, taking other steps organization’s workplace violence policy and discipline or even discharge the attacker needed to enhance personal safety.