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Survivor and Co-Worker


Lenore’s story of abuse and what it meant for her workplace

Lenore asks to talk with her supervisor in private. Lenore tells him that she had to call the police last night to arrest her live-in boyfriend. She explains that she was talking on the phone with her mother when her boyfriend suddenly yanked the phone from her hand and pulled the cord out of the wall. He then slapped and punched Lenore several times, giving her a black eye. She managed to call the police, and he is still in jail today, but she will need to go to court to get an order of protection. She shares that she is planning to stay with family for a while.

Is there a known threat of violence in Lenore’s workplace? If so, what positive actions can her supervisor take?

Possibly. Risk is not static. It can and does change. Based on the information provided, there is not a clear and direct threat of violence to the workplace at present. That may change if Lenore’s boyfriend is released from jail. In fact, if she is staying with family, and her location is unknown to the boyfriend, the workplace could be the most likely location for him to stalk and find Lenore.

Lenore’s supervisor can ask if her boyfriend has ever threatened to come to work, if Lenore is concerned that he may come to work, or if the boyfriend knows how to find her at work. If Lenore reveals information that indicates her boyfriend intends to threaten or harm her at work, the supervisor must report the threat. In that case, the supervisor can also suggest (but not require) that Lenore apply for an order of protection and to include the worksite on her order of protection.

While the violence facing Lenore at home might not ever result in a threat to the workplace, Lenore’s experiences of violence may impact her while she is at work. An employer can and should offer leave and other workplace accommodation and assistance, including referrals to local, confidential domestic violence services for assistance.

For more information, refer to the following resources, which provide more detail about the actions described in this case study:

YouTube: LGBT video-makers sue claiming discrimination

September 3, 2019

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Survivor or Co-Worker