Although domestic violence may typically occur within the home, it frequently follows the parties involved to their workplaces. Among employed women who have been victims of domestic abuse, nearly three-quarters report being harassed by their abuser while on the job. As a result of harassment, 56 percent of victims reported that they were late for work at least five times a month, and 28 percent had to leave their jobs early at least five times a month.
As with many other “real life” problems, domestic abuse has a profound effect on the workplace, a fact that has been confirmed repeatedly through studies of victims. For example, it has been reported that domestic abuse results in the loss of about 8 million days of paid work each year, which equates to about 32,000 full-time jobs. Victims lose 26 percent more time to tardiness and absenteeism. Likewise, convicted abusers have reported that the abuse makes it more difficult to concentrate on work, with nearly one in five saying the distraction lead to an accident or near-miss on their jobs. According to the Centers for Disease Control, all that lost productivity adds up to $727 million annually.
What Employers Can Do
Most companies don’t hesitate to help workers with “outside” problems with potential to affect the workplace, such as substance abuse. Using a similar model with domestic abuse can offer victims a safe and effective way to protect themselves and address the underlying issues. Employers have a legal responsibility to ensure the safest possible workplace for their employees. Just as employers sure their equipment meets safety standards and employees use safe work practices, they can and should also protect employees from domestic violence.
The safety experts at Safety Management Group in Indianapolis have prepared an article with good advice for employers. Read more here, or browse a variety of No Weapons signs here.