While domestic violence seems like it would be confined to the home, its effects can reach beyond the home and into the workplace. Employers and employees should educate themselves on the best ways to reach out to the victims of domestic violence.
How Domestic Violence Enters the Workplace
The physical and emotional strain victims of domestic abuse experience can have a negative impact on their happiness and productivity at work. An employer might notice that a victim of domestic abuse has been late or absent from work, or has missed important meetings or deadlines. The victim may attend work with unexplained cuts or bruises, or request sick time too frequently. In such cases, employers should discreetly ask the employee if everything is alright at home, and perhaps refer the employee to professional counseling. Furthermore, federal and state laws prevent employers from penalizing the victims of domestic violence for missing work.
While a victim may leave home and go to a shelter or change her or his address, the abuser usually knows where the victim works. Abusers may stalk their victims to their workplaces and harass them there. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), employers are required to have adequate security at their offices and take other reasonable steps to prevent physical or verbal harassment in the workplace.
How to Protect Your Workplace and Your Employees Against Domestic Violence
Here are some general steps to take:
If one of your employees is clearly a victim of domestic violence:
For more information, see FindLaw’s section on domestic violence.