What to do when domestic violence spills into the workplace
Domestic violence can certainly be a difficult issue for employers to manage, but it is not something that can be ignored. According to combined studies from The Centers for Disease Control, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Family Violence Prevention Fund, 44 percent of responders have experienced the impact of domestic violence in the workplace, mainly do to knowing a co-worker who was victimized. In addition, over 75 percent of perpetrators use workplace resources to help facilitate their abusive actions.
According to a major American law firm, employers may face civil liability under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's general duty clause for not handling these situations responsibly. Here are some ways to prepare for the effects of domestic violence in the workplace:
- Policies. Work with workplace violence prevention consultants to create policies that will afford the victim the ability to handle their situation without having to worry about their employment status, including leave provisions for medical and legal proceedings. Make sure these policies developed in accordance with federal, state and local laws.
- Response team. Create a response team consisting of various employees throughout the company to establish responsibilities and create an alert system in the case of actions such as threats of violence in the workplace or restraining orders.
- Protection. If your company becomes aware of a situation, protecting the employee is key. Make sure that the building security is aware and provide services to escort individuals off the premise when applicable.
- Training. Create a staff that is knowledgeable about the subject. Host seminars and training sessions to help inform people about the signs of domestic violence and what steps to take if they become aware of an incident. Also, make information on the subject readily available to employees.
For comprehensive assistance in building a workplace violence prevention plan that includes provisions for domestic violence, consultants can develop a strategy that suits your operations.