Domestic Violence Contributes to Violence in the Workplace
By Rich Cordivari
Violence in the home can lead to violence in the workplace. Employees are at risk for facing workplace violence where they, or their co-workers, are experiencing domestic violence situations. A violent spouse or significant other can come to the workplace to check up on, harass, threaten or act out against their partner.
According to a 2005 survey conducted by the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, workplace violence as a result of domestic violence is not an uncommon circumstance. The survey found that 44 percent of full-time working male and female respondents had personally experienced the impact of domestic violence in the workplace, most frequently because a co-worker was a victim. In fact, it is estimated that the annual cost of lost productivity in the workplace from domestic violence equals $727.8 million. There are ways to help those in need and reduce the risk of personally experiencing domestic violence in the workplace whether it is threatening you or a co-worker.
Help in the workplace
· Offer assistance - If someone is experiencing a harmful or threatening domestic violence situation, sometimes work is the only place they are not face-to-face with their attacker for an extended amount of time. Let it be known that there is someone they can talk to and there are ways to seek help.
· Implement a workplace violence plan - According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health, over 70 percent of workplaces in the United States do not have a formal workplace violence program or policy in place. If your workplace falls into that bracket, take a proactive approach and discuss creating a plan so employees know what to do if a violent situation occurs.
· Raise awareness - Hang posters and leave pamphlets informing employees of domestic violence and list local and national support phone numbers. It is best to have the information openly available in case someone is not willing to speak out about their situation.
· Suggest a workplace speaker - By inviting a representative from a local domestic violence shelter to speak at your organization, you and others may learn a great deal about the impact of domestic violence in the workplace. This also introduces another resource for help if an employee is in harmful or threatening situation.
Recognize the signs and react
· The signs of domestic violence in the workplace include but are not limited to:
Being late to work when the employee is normally on time, or taking time off from a normal schedule
Coming to work with unexplained injuries such as bruises, fractures, sprains, etc.
Suddenly avoiding interaction with co-workers or management
Seeming upset for no apparent reason or showing other emotions that cannot be explained at work
Constantly receiving phone calls during work hours from their spouse or partner
Unexplained, surprise visits from a spouse or partner
Poor or unsatisfactory work when work had been satisfactory previously
· Report signs of uncommon behaviors - If you suspect someone is a victim, let a manager know. If you witness a violent situation, call 9-1-1.