Before the pandemic, it was easier to miss the signs of domestic abuse in employees because the physical line between work and home was tangible. The mindset was also, domestic violence is a personal matter and not something a company should get involved in.
During the pandemic, as many employees worked from home, the signs of abuse had an increased chance of being spotted in the virtual realm. But co-workers didn’t know what to do with that information, let alone employers.
This change brought to light a new challenge. I’ve heard it best stated by Steve Crimando, MA, CTM “it may be the employee’s home, but it’s the employer’s workplace”. The challenge is now that employees are working at home, what liability do employers have when that home environment is dangerous? What happens if an employee is hurt, or even worse killed, while working from home?
In an article on Domestic Violence and Its Effects on the Workplace:
“Domestic violence is no longer a private affair when the office becomes the setting for continued abuse through stalking or harassing phone calls. However, when this happens, victims of domestic violence are more likely to share their experiences with a coworker.
For this reason, some companies choose to train their employees to recognize early warning signs of domestic violence. For example, employees learn to look for the following signs:
- Decreased employee morale
- Reduced work interest and productivity
- Lashing out at coworkers or clients
- Constrained co-worker relations
When supervisors fail to recognize these signs as symptoms of domestic violence, the affected staff member could be dismissed. This can increase replacement, training, and recruitment costs.
However, companies can develop plans for addressing such situations while ensuring confidentiality and safety for the staff member involved.
The 5 things every company needs to know about domestic violence:
- 1 in 5 adults is a current victim of physical, sexual, or psychological abuse
- 25-40% of all workplace violence is domestic violence related
- Roughly 18,000 acts of domestic violence in the workplace each year (1 in 4)
- 57% of all mass shootings are related to domestic violence
- Domestic violence has no boundaries and can happen to anyone
Domestic violence effects the motivation, productivity, and morale of all employees, not only the victim. As business owners and leaders, there are things that can, should, and must be done to support employees. Making the effort in the workplace to address domestic violence is a win-win both for employees and companies. Here is an online calculator that gives companies an estimate of the financial impacts of domestic violence in the workplace. What does DV cost your company?
As I’ve been talking to anyone and everyone about this new concern, with so many companies considering keeping a work from home/hybrid workforce, I hear over and over again…
“I never even thought of this from the business responsibility aspect! What do I do? How do I make sure my company is complying with Minnesota state employment laws? What considerations do I need think about when it comes to risk management? How do I know what resources are available in my area? How do I handle this with confidentiality and in accordance with HIPAA?”
For a company to ask one person to shift through the mountains of information online, search for regulations and standards that apply to the company, and create a comprehensive plan and strategy for training going forward, is a lot.
That’s why The Diamond Arrow Group has partnered with Melinda Gau of Quinlivan & Hughes, a MN employment law expert, Mahowald, a commercial risk management company, and Anna Marie’s Alliance and VictimsVoice, two phenomenal organizations focused on providing services to victims of domestic violence, to offer a virtual working workshop on Emergency Preparedness Planning for small to mid-sized businesses in Minnesota.
The purpose of an Emergency Preparedness Plan is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies, natural and man-made. A poorly prepared plan, likely will lead to a disorganized evacuation or emergency response, resulting in confusion, injury, and property damage. While the workshop will provide an overview of all considerations in emergency planning, we will also spend time focusing on domestic violence and its effects on the workplace.
Not only will attendees be provided a short presentation on the most up to date MN employment law considerations for small to mid-sized businesses, they will also have time to review their company’s current emergency preparedness plan and make changes in real time. Providing a virtual workshop that allows attendees time to actually work on the document, while having access to experts to get their questions answered in real time.
All for less that the cost of working with a lawyer individually for one hour.
The virtual workshop will be held next Tuesday, April 6th from 8-12pm. Companies can register for one flat fee and have their entire risk management department or committee attend. If you are a business owner, get signed up now by clicking on the link. If you are an employee, forward this to your supervisor. If you would like me to talk with the decision maker at your company to let them know about this virtual workshop, send me an email with their contact information and I’d be happy to follow up with them.
If you read my last blog post, you know that I know of a bright, beautiful, smart woman who is in a domestic abuse situation right now. As you are reading this, she is in a personal hell that is unfathomable. I will do anything within my power to help her get safe, because I also know of a woman who became a victim of her personal hell.
In honor of Sharon Love, former employee of Mahowald.