In my role with Workplaces Respond to Domestic and Sexual Violence, a National Resource Center funded by a Department of Justice grant through the Office on Violence Against Women, I talk with managers, supervisors, and workers about how domestic violence impacts their workplaces. During these discussions, I am often asked “What does my coworker’s private life have to do with me and our workplace?”
Workplaces Respond conducted a Congressional Briefing on May 18, 2017, to discuss the impacts of domestic and sexual violence, stalking, and harassment on workplaces, and share the innovative prevention and response strategies.
Workers make up the backbone of the American economy, yet continue to face dangerous work environments. The fight for safer workplaces includes traditional protections like access to safety equipment and training, but should also include protections from the workplace effects of sexual and domestic violence.
Shock, dismay, anger – my social media was buzzing about the personal accounts of two former Uber employees detailing their stories of the gender discrimination and sexual harassment they faced at the prestigious tech company.
My voice quavered as I read those words aloud and asked more than 70 union leaders and workers’ rights advocates who attended Reimagining Workplace Safety to assume the role of a vulnerable woman worker. I knew that I was about to read unsettling descriptions of violence and exploitation arising from and affecting the workplace. And the expressions on the participants’ faces showed that they were already starting to empathize with the lack of options available to women who have no choice but to work for low wages and are particularly vulnerable to domestic violence, sexual violence, sexual harassment, and stalking both at the workplace and at home.