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Domestic Violence in the Workplace: What To Do?

Estimates on domestic violence cases number in the millions every year. What can you do when one of those cases involves your workplace?

When an employee at one company was being harassed by an ex-boyfriend some years back, the company security department immediately intervened. The employee was provided with daily escorts to the train station, and she was told to call the company’s dispatch center each evening to confirm that she arrived home safely. Security also contacted the local police department, which stopped the boyfriend from harassing the employee any further.

What Can Be Done?

Here are some other basic security measures your organization may wish to take to safeguard employees against domestic violence incidents on the job:

  • Encourage employees to notify their supervisors about abuse, stalking, restraining orders, etc., and to provide photos of abusers to security management.
  • Foster an atmosphere friendly to such reporting by taking measures to protect the confidentiality of victims.
  • Create a buddy or escort system to walk employees at risk to and from the parking lot or public transportation. Consider offering nearby parking spots for threatened employees.
  • Provide a portable alarm that the employee can activate if confronted by an attacker at work.
  • Provide counseling services or inform the employee about services available in the community.
  • Make sure procedures limiting access to you workplace (IDs, visitor sign in and escort, etc.) are effective and enforced.
  • Transfer threatened employees from front-line customer service areas to back offices or even to other worksites, if necessary, until the problem is resolved.
  • If possible, adjust the employee’s work schedule and/or grant leave if the employee needs to take time off for medical assistance, legal assistance, court appearances, counseling, relocation, or to make other necessary arrangements to enhance personal safety.

Of course, if not only the victim but also the attacker are employees, you can deal with the attacker under your organization’s workplace violence policy and discipline or even discharge the attacker.

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Categories: Safety, Security
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  1. September 12, 2012 at 10:15 PM

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