Domestic violence is a serious public health problem affecting millions of Americans, their families, friends, neighbors. Coworkers and employers are also affected. Absenteeism, fluctuations in productivity, and interruptions on the job are just some of the effects domestic violence can have on employees.
It is estimated that domestic violence results in $4 billion in health care costs and $900 million in lost productivity every year. More than 7.9 million paid workdays are lost each year due to domestic violence.
One survey found that 74% of employed abused women are harassed by their partner while at work, and 24% of women experiencing domestic violence arrive late to work or miss days of work because of abuse. Among corporate executives, 44% say domestic violence increases their health care costs, and 33% believe domestic violence has a negative impact on bottom line.
Businesses like Liz Clairborne, Verizon Wireless, and State Farm Insurance recognize that domestic violence is a problem that affects their employees and thus their bottom line. A recent Washington Post highlights this issue. Many companies joined together to form the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, a nonprofit dedicated to helping businesses protect their employees and reduce the costs and consequences of partner violence at work.
What can your business do to protect your employees?
1) Develop a policy to increase awareness of domestic violence.
2) Create a safe environment for employees to talk with their supervisors about safety concerns.
3) Provide training for supervisors to recognize signs of domestic violence and where to refer employees.
4) Adopt a zero tolerance policy for abusive employees.
5) Change personnel policies to allow employees to attend court hearings and counseling.
6) Help all employees understand domestic violence and survivor issues.
Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries has published a pamphlet for employers about domestic violence and the workplace. View or download it here.
Note: This page was prepared in collaboration with Clackamas Women’s Services and Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence.