Workplace Domestic Violence Policy: Where Do I Start?

One out of four women reports some type of physical abuse from their partner at least once in their lives. We know that you’re a company that respects and cares about your workers needs, but did you know employees that experience domestic violence could hurt your company as well? If you have no policy for domestic violence victims, be aware. It can affect the way a customer views the company, affect the morale of the company, and the actual progress and effort of the worker. Plus, it can negatively increase a company’s legal liability. Domestic violence costs companies three to five billion every year. Why not have a happy business and happy insured, well taken care of and protected productive employees?

If the statistics and figures and the actual challenge of dealing with an employee going through domestic abuse have pushed you to creating a domestic abuse policy or maybe improving it, you should know a few things to make your policy and stance on domestic abuse effective

To start from scratch, you should review your resources to see how safe your company is. Make sure all employees have to wear ID’s and security is tight. Make sure you abide by policies for employers that happen to forget their ID as well.

There’s only so much you can do to prevent the domestic violence from going on in the workplace, but you are not a counselor, so you cannot control it beyond the workplace. If you suspect a coworker or employer may be a victim of domestic violence, sit down and have a talk with them in private. If the victim confides in you, make sure the matter remains private. However, document everything, and encourage the victim to do so as well. Every threatening phone call and even gesture, abuse, and stalking should all be documented. You should include the time and exactly what was said and done in all reports.

In your company’s policy, you should be very specific about what is not allowed in the workplace. Make sure that you have a no tolerance policy for domestic violence at the job or period. Prohibit all violent gestures, weapons, and harassment in the workplace. For any domestic violence workplace problems reported, let it be known a thorough investigation will be done. Also, try to include a relocation policy for those dealing with stalking and domestic abuse. Employers like Liz Claiborne have strong anti-domestic abuse policies included in the employer’s handbook and even include an Employee Assistance Program for victims of domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone at any time. Race, household income, or any other factor means nothing. Most people thought of domestic abuse as a private matter, but we know today that it is not. Domestic abuse affects every part of the victim’s life. It is the duty of anyone who sees it, including employers and coworkers to report it. It is also the duty of the company to protect employers who may happen to be victims in the workplace. Employers that are taken care make sure the company is taken care of and productive.

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