What happens at home does not always stay at home.
Does your employer recognize domestic violence as a potential workplace safety concern?
Not only the domestic partner but everyone else - colleagues, customers, clients and others - are potentially at risk when domestic violence meets workplace violence.
The time to understand just how potentially deadly these situations are is not when an intimate partner enters the workplace armed with a weapon to do harm to his or her partner.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than half of female homicide victims are killed in connection with intimate partner/domestic violence.
Per the CDC, in 10 percent of these cases prior violence that erupted shortly before these killings might have provided an opportunity for intervention. Sadly opportunities to save lives have therefore been missed or ignored.
Many disgruntled intimate partners or former intimate partners confront their victims at work. They do so because work is one location where the latter can be expected to be for a stretch of time per a routine work schedule.
Employers may not recognize the hidden threats domestic violence poses. Thus employers may be caught off guard when a disgruntled partner confronts his/her estranged partner at work or in the parking lot adjacent to work.
Workplace violence arising from domestic situations are potentially extremely lethal not just to victims but co-workers and other non-involved parties who happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. This is due to the high levels of emotion and uncontrolled rage involved in intimate partner-related violence that explodes at work.
Tips for Employers Who Wish to Mitigate the Risk of Domestic Violence Meeting Workplace Violence.
1. Offer Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services to your employees who are being victimized by domestic violence.
EAP professionals can provide a myriad of necessary services to the employee including counseling.
The EAP professional may recognize the red flags as to when the employee is at risk of life-threatening violence by a significant other before it happens and can encourage the employee to take action.
2. If a disgruntled partner enters the workplace, call the police immediately. Do not attempt to mediate the problem yourself.
3. Never encourage co-workers to get involved in a colleague's domestic problem by for instance, suggesting co-workers walk the victim to and from his or her car. If the disgruntled partner attacks in the employee parking lot, everyone including the bystander co-workers' safety could be at risk.
4. If you learn an employee is suffering from domestic violence recognize the potential exists that the angered ex may try to confront the employee at work at some point. Take measures to protect not just the employee who is experiencing domestic violence but other employees, customers, clients and visitors to the workplace.
For instance implement a policy barring any and all non-employee including intimate partners from gaining access to the workplace during business hours for any purpose.
(Read Part II on Tomorrow's Blog)