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Workplaces Respond to Domestic & Sexual Violence


Workplaces Respond in the News Following Ray Rice Video

On September 8, 2014, people around the world viewed a video clip showing NFL player Ray Rice punching his wife unconscious in a casino elevator. The video sparked wide-ranging and heated discussions about whether and how the NFL - and other businesses - should address violence perpetrated by their employees.

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 October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Given the prevalence of domestic violence in the United States, your employees, co-workers and customers or clients could be affected and need help. Employers and unions play an important role in connecting victims to assistance and addressing the workplace impact of violence. Take this opportunity to make a difference!

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The Workplace, Domestic Violence and Firearms

Although firearms are involved in a very small percentage of workplace violence incidents, their presence during an incident significantly increases the likelihood of fatalities in the workplace. Given the high correlation between domestic violence and firearms fatalities, employers should be aware of relevant federal and state laws governing their duties regarding safety at the workplace.

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Protection Orders and the Workplace                                   

In addition to occupational-based hazards, employees experience threats to their safety at work from personal relationships or domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault.  Some victims of violence may obtain protection orders to help keep them and their family members safe. This article outlines basic information about protection orders obtained in cases of stalking, domestic violence and sexual assault, and the workplace implications for employers and unions. 

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The Use of Technology to Stalk and the Workplace

Today many people spend a substantial amount of time at work, and use work-provided computers, smartphones and internet access to conduct personal matters. When employees engage in harassing or threatening behavior or stalking on work time with work resources, it becomes an employer’s business. 

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Workplace Tools for Addressing Threats Related to Domestic & Sexual Violence

Workplaces are often the scenes for domestic and sexual violence and stalking because they may serve as the only place where a perpetrator can readily locate or access an intended victim.  Instead of terminating the targeted employee’s employment, workplaces can send a more positive message by taking proactive steps to address a security threat stemming from violence. 

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Forbes on Domestic Violence & Workplace

In a December 5, 2013 article in Forbes, “Domestic Violence: The Secret Killer That Costs $8.3 Billion Annually,” Dr. Robert Pearl examines the social, health and business impacts of domestic violence on the workplace, the importance of prevention, and roles each person in the workplace can play.

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Employee Assistance Programs: Partners in Prevention

An EAP can be a valuable resource for organizations seeking to address the workplace impact of domestic and sexual violence in two ways: (1) responding to individual employees with confidential and professional assistance; and (2) assisting organizations at the strategic level to create a comprehensive prevention and response program.

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Workplaces Respond cited in Cosmopolitan Magazine

Workplaces Respond was consulted for and cited in a feature article in the May 2013 of Cosmopolitan magazine. The article details the devastating impact of workplace domestic violence and stalking on victims, their surviving family members, co-workers and bystanders. 

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New Guidance For Federal Agencies on Workplace Domestic and Sexual Violence Policies

Last year, President Obama ordered all federal agencies to develop and implement workplace policies addressing domestic and sexual violence and stalking.  On February 8, 2013, the federal government issued a “Guidance For Agency-Specific Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking Policies” for federal agencies which defines key terms, provides an overview of critical considerations for policy development, and provides direction on the required components of agency policies. 

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New Survey Examines Workplace Impact of Violence

Workplaces Respond commissioned a new survey examining the workplace impact of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Nearly 1000 human resource professionals working in a variety of industries responded to the survey. The results provide valuable insight regarding the prevalence of these issues in the workplace, current policies and training related to domestic and sexual violence and stalking, and training needs. 

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The Federal Government’s Emphasis on the Workplace Impact of Violence

In 2012, the federal government took several significant steps to assist victims of domestic and sexual violence in the workplace, and to promote proactive responses and assistance by employers. 

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Human Resources Report Cites Workplaces Respond as Resource for Employers

A December 2012 Human Resources Report article discusses the recent fact sheet for employers on domestic and sexual violence issued by a federal agency, and cites Workplaces Respond as a resource for employers. 

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Coworkers as Upstanders

Co-workers play an important role in preventing and responding to the workplace impact of domestic and sexual violence. They don’t need to be counselors or action heroes, but they can promote a workplace culture focused on providing support and referrals to resources for people who need assistance.  

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New EEOC Fact Sheet on Domestic and Sexual Violence 

On October 12, 2012, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued a new fact sheet explaining how Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) could apply to employment issues involving victims of domestic and sexual violence. 

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President Requires Federal Agencies to Adopt Workplace Domestic Violence Policies

On April 18, 2012, President Obama signed a memorandum that requires federal agencies to develop policies to address the workplace effects of domestic violence and provide assistance to employees who are victims of domestic violence. As the White House noted, “[d]omestic violence affects both the safety of the workplace and the productivity of employees.”

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Archived News Stories

Partner Organizations Futures Without Violence (formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund), Legal Momentum, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and its National Sexual Violence Resource Center, National Sexual Assault Coalition Resource Sharing Project (RSP) of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, American Bar Association Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence, Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, Victim Rights Law Center, and Stalking Resource Center: A Program of The National Center for Victims of Crime.

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Funding by US Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women

This project was supported by Grant No. 2009-TA-AX-K028 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed on this site or in any materials on this site, are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.