Monday, March 19, 2007

RESOURCES: Domestic Violence and the Workplace

A growing number of community activists and human resource managers feel that domestic violence is everyone’s problem. A growing number of non profit organizations are working with companies to help stop and prevent domestic violence against both men and women. Domestic violence affects the productivity of the worker being violated, and thus curbing the violence “is good for the bottom line,” states Barbra Marlow, a Boston lawyer. Though Ms. Marlow contends that it is “not the business of business to get involved in employees’ lives.”

If a fellow worker is the victim of domestic violence, there are a few tips to help them cope, but we stress that professional help is always advised:
  • Give the worker a parking spot near a door.
  • Remove his or her name from the dial-by-name phone directory. "You don't want the batterer to use your company's resources to harass your employee," notes Barbara Marlowe of law firm Mintz Levin.
  • Offer a flexible schedule, since stalkers track people's whereabouts and movements. "Our most predictable habits are around our work schedule," Marlowe says.
  • If the employee sits at a reception desk or by a big first-floor window, relocate the person to another floor or an interior space. If you have satellite facilities, consider letting the worker set up more than one office.
  • Provide security guards with a photo of the abuser. "The guy might show up with flowers, and somebody could direct him right to her office," Marlowe says.
  • Listen to your employee. Don't make changes without his or her consent. Be discreet and helpful, but don't force the person to take any protective steps.
Read the whole article here.