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Suspect domestic violence? What to do

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in FMLA Guidelines,HR Management,Human Resources

Life doesn’t just stop at the door when you come to work. Our personal lives sometimes spill over into the workplace. So how do you reach out to a co-worker dealing with a personal crisis? And, what if you suspect a worker has an abusive partner?

Some companies, including Liz Claiborne, Kaiser Permanente and Verizon Wireless, have instituted domestic-violence policies, reports The Washington Post. The companies say the programs save lives and money, since domestic violence impacts absenteeism, drives up health costs and affects productivity.

In a companywide survey last year, Liz Claiborne found that 23% of its employees had been victims of domestic violence.

Here’s how to assist a domestic-violence victim at work, according to the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence (, a nonprofit organization developed by the business community to address intimate-partner violence through workplace education and awareness programs:

 Advise the victim to talk to a supervisor or employee assistance manager and complete a safety plan, including a recent photograph of the perpetrator.

Encourage her to obtain a restraining order
that includes the workplace, and keep a copy on hand at all times. The victim may want to consider providing a copy to the police, security or human resources.

Tell her to save any threatening e-mail
or voice-mail messages. These potentially can be used for future legal action, or can serve as evidence that an existing restraining order was violated.

Suggest that the victim name
an emergency contact person in case the employee is missing or unreachable.

Designate a code word or phrase so she can alert you to danger.

Ask if barriers can be placed between the entrance and the victim’s workstation, if she can be given priority parking near the building, if someone can walk with her to her car, and if her name and number can be removed from the automated directory.

Inform your supervisor
of any co-workers who have special training in security.

Don’t give out any information
to others. Perpetrators often have excellent skills in obtaining information from co-workers. Check with your supervisor if you think you have knowledge that may be private and confidential.

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