Federal Supervisors Supporting Survivors of Stalking

Supervisors are at the front lines in assisting employees who experience stalking. As a supervisor, you have the ability to recognize the impacts of stalking, especially as a result of domestic or sexual violence, respond in a way that puts the employees’ needs first, and refer them to the appropriate resources. When your team sees you intervening in a positive way, they are more empowered to step up as bystanders to support their coworkers, or ask for help themselves.

5.9 million people are stalked in one year in the United States, often at, or through, the workplace [1]. One in eight employed stalking victims lose time from work as a result of their victimization, and of those who have lost time, more than half lose 5 days of work or more [2].

Supervisors are at the front lines in assisting employees who experience stalking. As a supervisor, you have the ability to recognize the impacts of stalking, especially as a result of domestic or sexual violence, respond in a way that puts the employees’ needs first, and refer them to the appropriate resources. When your team sees you intervening in a positive way, they are more empowered to step up as bystanders to support their coworkers, or ask for help themselves.

Below are some key considerations and potential accommodations supervisors can use to support an employee who may be experiencing stalking. With any of these options, be sure to engage the employee in determining what steps they would like to pursue, and what considerations should be taken into account to address their unique needs and allow them to be safe at work.

  • Educate yourself on the prevalence and impacts of intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking on workers and the workplace.
  • If your employees are in immediate danger, call 911.
  • Change contact information that the stalker may be abusing, such as the victim’s phone number or email address.
  • Work with security or front desk personnel to identify the stalker. If he or she comes to the workplace and develop response protocols to keep the stalker from access.
    • You may also work with the security staff to escort your employee to/from a car or other method of transportation.
  • Assist the victim in changing the location of their workspace.
  • Encourage your employee to keep a written log or record of each interaction with the stalker at the workplace.
    • This may be useful for future police reports or restraining orders that may extend to the workplace, if the victim chooses to get one.
    • In addition to a written log, save all e-mails, text messages, photos, and postings on social networking sites as evidence of the stalking behavior.
  • Offer to connect the employee with resources such as the local employee assistance program (EAP) or local victim advocates to help the employee build a safety plan.
  • Work with your human resources personnel to offer appropriate leave or flexible scheduling options for your employee to attend court hearings, or seek additional support.

[1] Baum, Katrina, Shannan Catalano, Michael Rand, and Kristina Rose. Stalking Victimization in the United States. Report. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice. 1-16. Accessed December 20, 2018. http://victimsofcrime.org/docs/src/baum-k-catalano-s-rand-m-rose-k-2009.pdf?sfvrsn=0.
[2] “Stalking Fact Sheet.” August 2012. Accessed December 20, 2018. https://victimsofcrime.org/docs/src/stalking-fact-sheet_english.pdf.