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Domestic Violence Is A Workplace Issue

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Thirty percent of all American women have dealt or will deal with some kind of abuse during their lifetime. Many of these women are working women. What happens at home often goes into the workplace. A lot of organizations do not understand how domestic violence affects them. It costs American businesses billions of dollars each year. Just because we don’t like to talk about this subject doesn’t erase the reality of its existence. Every woman you know knows someone who has suffered from family violence.

American employees miss 175,000 days per year of paid work due to domestic violence. A survey of security directors in corporations nationwide revealed that 94% of those surveyed believe that domestic violence is a high security problem at their companies. Domestic violence results in hundreds of millions of dollars in health care cost in the United States, much of which is paid for by employer benefits.

Due to epidemic levels of violence in the workplace many companies across the country are recognizing that responding to domestic violence is “good business” and are implementing policies that help employees who are facing domestic violence. Businesses are working to create an environment that is safer for victims. Many employers are implementing these policies:

1. Management training that raises awareness and sensitivity. The training includes how to recognize the signs of domestic violence and how to discuss with all staff members policies regarding domestic violence.

2. Creating an environment in which it is safe to talk about domestic violence. Efforts include employee training, brown bag seminars, newsletter articles, posters, safety cards and brochures on domestic violence.

3. Changes to improve security such as providing security personnel with a photograph of a batterer; relocating an employee to a safer work area; installing a panic button or other security device at an employee’s work station; escorts to parked cars; adequate lighting in parking lots; and priority parking near the building for an employee who fears an attack at work.

4. Counseling services provide employees with therapists trained to counsel on domestic violence.

5. Benefit leave, hiring, and discipline policies that accommodate employees’ needs for flexibility in their schedule if they need to attend court proceedings, meet with a counselor or lawyer, etc.

Dealing with domestic violence in the work place is good business. Companies like Macy’s and Liz Claiborne have realized the significance of this important work place issue.


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