Only when surveillance video surfaced in early September of football player Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée—an incident that Baltimore Ravens officials knew occurred last February—did the team decide it was time to terminate him.
What would your organization do if one of your employees were identified as a domestic abuser?
A 2013 study by the Society for Human Resourcefound that about 35% of employers have formal policies addressing domestic violence. Some only call for discipline or termination for events that occur at work, but others—at least in theory—apply to off-duty offenses that the employer learns about. The problem is that abuse incidents are often hard for employers to discover. As a SHRM representative told the Washington Post, criminal checks on current employees are rare. Unless reports of domestic violence appear in the news media, colleagues and supervisors may never find out that a co-worker is an abuser.
The key to making a domestic-abuse-related termination stick is proving that a perpetrator’s tendency toward violence could endanger co-workers.
It’s easier to fire if the individual works under an employment contract that prohibits behavior that reflects poorly on the employer.