Domestic Violence in the Workplace
This checklist is designed to help businesses develop domestic violence programs that can help protect both their workers and their bottom line.
The fact is, domestic violence is not a private matter that stays in the home. It follows victims to work, and nearly every organization is likely to be touched by it.
Statistically, one in five employed people in the U.S. experience domestic violence sometime in their life and ninety-six percent say that the abuse affects their ability to perform their job. And whether victims experience physical injury at home, psychological intimidation, stalking or threatening phone calls, the result is impaired ...view middle of the document...
Create a specific threat response team. Specialized EAP professionals can help analyze the potential of a threat to the company and develop protocols.
Enlist community resources. Partner with law enforcement, advocacy organizations, shelters or crisis centers that can help you develop policies and communications.
Provide annual training for all employees. The EAP or local crisis center can help employees identify signs of abuse, review workplace policies and recommend internal and external resources available. “Installing policies is not enough. Employers must provide harassment training every year so that all employees know how to take all threats seriously and how to respond, says Bert Alicea, M.A., CEAP, Vice President, EAP+Work/Life Services at Health Advocate. “Training helps protect the safety of everyone and also decreases the organization’s liability.” 5
Create a comprehensive policy
Spell out the details. The policy should clearly state that the organization will: provide a workplace free of threats, fear and violence; respond to threats and potential violence; provide appropriate accommodations and leave options; have disciplinary procedures for employees who commit acts or threats of domestic violence; and support employees when accessing resources for domestic violence, including going to court hearings, seeking medical help, etc. (Sample policies that can be customized to your organization can be found at: http://www.workplacesrespond.org/learn/the-facts)
Comply with applicable state laws. The following laws provide protections and rights to employees who are victims of domestic violence such as job guaranteed leave and antidiscrimination provisions:
• Family and Medical Leave Act laws (FMLA). The law may require employers to grant leave to employees who are coping with domestic violence situations.
• American Disability Act. There may be a duty to accommodate domestic violence victims, for instance, if victims need to attend therapy.
• Occupational safety and health laws (OSHA). Employers must maintain a safe workplace, which may include a violence-free workplace.
• Victim assistance laws. The law may prohibit employers from taking adverse job actions against abuse victims who disclose their situation or who take time off from their jobs to attend court appearances.
• Worker’s Compensation. Organizations may also be required to pay worker’s compensation if a victim is forced to quit because of the abuse. 6;7
Write your own job-protected leave benefits. “Companies can voluntarily establish a policy that offers protection specifically for abuse victims, including paid or unpaid sick time or disability leave” says Robin Runge, PhD., Assistant Professor of Law at the University of North Dakota School of Law. “They should also ensure that their health insurance plans do not discriminate against victims.” 7
Ensure that employees know the policies
Explain the sequence when the employee reveals...