A study of domestic violence survivors by The Commonwealth Fund in New York * found that 74% of employed battered women were harassed by their partner while they were at work. Homicide was the second leading cause of death on the job for women in 2000**
Domestic violence does not stay at home. If follows the victim to the workplace where a woman is harassed by threatening phone calls, absent due to injuries or loss of productivity due to anxiety and stress. While anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, women are five to eight times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner. ***
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health.
What Should Employers Do?
Provide education and training to all employees regarding domestic violence
Develop a policy that specifically addresses domestic violence
Allow victims of domestic violence to take time off from work to appear in court, seek legal assistance and get help to insure their safety. Note: Many states have laws mandating that employers allow victims time off to attend court proceedings. Check the law for your state.
Assist victims in obtaining restraining/protection orders
Provide information - on bulletin boards, in company manuals, etc. with regard to the resources available for victims of domestic violence, e. g. , Employee Assistance Program, name and phone numbers of local shelters and hotlines.
If a worker must leave your employ, ensure that she/he is eligible for unemployment compensation.
Take steps to insure the workplace is safe for all employees.
*Health Concerns across a Woman's Lifespan: 1998 Survey of Women's Health 1999. The Commonwealth Fund, New York, NY.
** Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries: Table A-6 fatal occupational injuries by worker characteristics and event or exposure, 2000. U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Washington, DC
*** U. S. Department of Justice, Violence by Intimates: Analysis of Data on Crimes by Current or Former Spouses, Boyfriends, and Girlfriends, March 1998
Cathy Baniewicz has over 30 years experience in human resources. Her career began at Beatrice Foods Co. , where she progressed to Assistant Director of Affirmative Action and Corporate Personnel Manager. Prior to joining EffortlessHR, Cathy was Assistant Director of Human Resources at Golden Eagle Distributors, Inc. (Budweiser). Cathy has her B. A.degree from DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, and MBA from George Williams College, Aurora, Illinois. Cathy obtained her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification in December of 2004. EffortlessHR is an on-line Human Resources Program designed for small businesses. This program will guide you through the maze of human resource laws and issues. You will have access to your employee information anytime, anyplace. Federal and State laws, personnel forms, “How To" guides, posters and reports are at your fingertips. EffortlessHR is affordable at only $24.95 per month or a discounted annual rate. Sign up today for a no-risk free trial. Go to http://www.effortlesshr.com or call us at (520) 546-3947.