October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. What does that mean for employers? There are things that employers can do to help recognize and support employees who may be victims of domestic violence.
You may think that domestic violence doesn’t affect you, but when nearly 20 people per minute are victims of physical violence, chances are it is affecting someone you know. If you think it doesn’t have anything to do with your workplace, when victims of intimate partner violence lose a total of 8 million days of paid work each year, or that between 2003 and 2008, 142 women were murdered in their workplace as a result of intimate partner violence, than you see that domestic violence affects us all.
According to the Center for Disease Control, domestic violence affects millions of Americans; women and men, gay, straight, old and young. Domestic violence, or Intimate Partner Violence, as it is sometimes known, is a worldwide epidemic. Although it is a problem that is seen as largely a problem in the home, there are things as an employer that you can do to help.
The first thing you should do is create a policy. Having a policy in place can help guide you if a situation should arise.
It is possible to create a culture where violence is not tolerated, and all individuals have the right to live free of fear. We are all responsible for the creation and propagation of this culture, and the workplace is as good a place as any to start. If you need help with policies, or assistance in dealing with a possible victim of perpetrator of domestic violence, please contact AmeriSource HR. We are here to help.
I am the last to point any fingers! I, too, get excited to reach deep in my closet and pull out the cute summer dresses, the tank tops and my colorful collection of flip flops when the weather is warming up. However, with every company I have worked at or with as a client, not a year goes by that I don’t have to remind employees what is and isn’t appropriate to wear to the office. In fact, I just spoke with a business owner this week about this very concern.
Years ago, one of my employees wore a summer top to the office that appeared respectable when standing. However, even the slightest lean forward would provide the entire office a display of her thong underwear that were riding higher than the jeans she was wearing. To make a point of it, and trying to be funny, one of the male employees reached over while she was bending to get some files out of a lower level drawer and snapped her thong.
She had it coming, didn’t she?
Well, she reported the incident. It resulted in an internal investigation, a written warning for the male employee and a refresher training on Sexual Harassment for the entire office.
What can you do to avoid those uncomfortable and time consuming situations at the workplace? Get proactive on having a dress code in place, especially for the summer season.
Keep in mind, the appearance of your staff should support your culture and create a credible image in the mind of your customer.
If you decide to tackle the development your own policy. I strongly recommend having it reviewed by an HR expert or an attorney. While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits any employer discrimination based on gender, race, or religion, these are obviously highly sensitive areas, so it’s best to ensure your policy has been reviewed appropriately to help avoid any legal issues down the road.