If you are an employer, there are a number of things you can do to make sure your workplace is safe for victims of domestic violence, and to make sure your workplace meets state and federal safety requirements.
Workplaces vary in size, resources available for employees, work rules and policies, and management attitudes about workplace and domestic violence. As you read this material, keep in mind how it might apply to your workplace.
- Create policies and procedures for how the office will deal with domestic violence and associated issues. These policies and procedures can be written by a team of managers and employees, with or without consulting local domestic violence experts. Everyone involved in the process should go through this training first, to ensure the points covered here are part of the procedures.
- Learn about and become more aware of domestic violence. Distribute posters, brochures, or a list of community resources around the office and hold brown bag lunches for employees to hear and meet with community victim services program staff. Meet with employees after this training to decide how to increase awareness in your workplace.
- Flex employees' time, if necessary, to give employees who are abused time off for domestic violence-related needs. Make workplace polices and procedures flexible enough to allow abused employees time to get help. Meet with employees about this issue so everyone understands the need for sensitivity, privacy, and flexibility if a co-worker is trying to leave a violent relationship and needs a short-term change in their work schedule.
- Oregon law requires that employers larger than a certain size allow victims of domestic violence or sexual assault to take time off to protect themselves or their children.
- Refer employees to needed resources. Make sure you know the right resource to refer employees to, and have resource information available in the workplace. Give out the National Domestic Violence Hotline number, 1-800-799-SAFE.
- Increase the safety of your workplace. Make sure your workplace has an organized response to direct threats of domestic violence that may occur at work. This response should include the following:
- If any employee knows of any direct threats, they should make sure to inform their employer about it.
- Refer to internal resources (such as Security Services) or use procedures you have developed (such as threat assessment) to respond to workplace violence threats. If no procedures exist, work with your local law enforcement or victim advocacy agency on developing them.
- Employees and employers should all receive domestic violence training.
If you supervise an employee who is being abused, go through all of the steps of “SEE IT!” and “SAY IT!” sections in the “What Employees Can Do” part of this training. Be sure to let her know you care about her, and do your best to ensure her safety. If she has developed a safety plan, go over it with her and help figure out how she can take time from work to take care of safety and legal issues, medical problems, childcare, etc. Arrange flextime if it will help, and ensure she has resources she needs.
If you are an employer and you learn an employee has been violent at home, follow the same initial steps that co-workers follow in the “What Employees Can Do” section of this training. Make it clear that it is a crime to abuse his partner. You should also make it clear that using company phones, faxes or email to stalk or threaten someone is against the law. It might be cause for disciplinary action and/or criminal action.
If you observe someone harassing or abusing someone on the workplace premises and it is safe to interrupt, do so. Re-evaluate your safety before doing anything and report it immediately to security or police. Take appropriate disciplinary action as an employer.
If someone is being hurt or is in danger, call 911 immediately.