Where We Work An Informed Conversation on Domestic Violence in the Workplace

We each bring our whole selves to work. That includes all the joy of living, family, and success. The simple pleasures in life and all the challenges as well, such as issues with finance, children, and marital discord.

The people we spend the most time with, besides our own families, are our work families and they are likely to know when there is friction or problems in our lives.

According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 44% of people know someone who is involved in an abusive relationship.

According to the Department of Labor, loss of productivity due to costs associated with domestic violence is approximately $1.8 Billion annually.

On average, domestic violence victims lose 8 Million days of paid work – equivalent to 32,000 full time jobs.​

According to a survey published by the state of New York, at least one million women and 371,000 men are the victims of stalking in the United States each year.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), there are Four Types of Workplace Violence. Type Four is identified as Personal Relationship, which not only affects the employee at home, but in all aspects of their lives.

This Type is defined by the FBI as "violence committed in the workplace by someone who doesn’t work there but has a personal relationship with an employee - an abusive spouse or domestic partner."

Are you protecting your employees?

One of your employees has been having issues with a former partner stalking them. They informed you that they have recently placed a restraining order against them.

What are your organization's next steps?

Best Practices

Inform building security of the name and appearance of the person the restraining order is against.

Have a plan in place that allows the employee to work different hours, or from a different place so the aggressor does not know where they will be working.

Give the employee a new parking location and provide security escorts to and from the vehicle.

Reinforce that no information is given out to callers about schedules, availability, or contact information, regardless of a presumed relationship to the employee in question. Instructions should include to take a message with a return number.

Your employee confides in you that their spouse has recently been aggressive towards them.

What policies does your organization have in place to handle this situation?

Best Practices

Ask Human Resources to speak with the employee and leverage the Employee Assistance Program, if applicable.

Provide victim assistance resources to the employee as well as information on how to contact law enforcement.

Have emergency protocols in place in case the spouse attempts to enter any of the workplace facilities, to include parking areas.

Unbeknownst to the organization, an employee recently left their abusive partner. During work hours, the partner comes into the workplace and assaults the employee.

How would your organization respond to this incident?

Best Practices

Train all employees on Workplace Violence Prevention and De-escalation Techniques.

Have a reporting system in place to ensure that there is easy access to security or law enforcement, if necessary.

Promote a culture of engagement across your organization so employees feel comfortable notifying appropriate personnel of a contentious issue that may spill over into the workplace.

Culture of Engagement

Workplace Violence Prevention, particularly in relation to Domestic Violence or Stalking, begins when organizations create a Culture of Engagement, not just simply one of reporting.

Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

Domestic Violence Hotline Website


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