By Jane Randel
For many years the focus in the workplace has been appropriately placed on victims of domestic violence – how can we best help these people and keep the workplace safe and productive. With the focus on high-profile domestic violence cases over the last year, however, more and more organizations are looking at ways to appropriately handle perpetrators in the workplace.
Perpetrators in the workplace?
If one in four women and one in seven men report they have experienced domestic violence and one in five women has been raped at some point in their lives, it goes to figure that the people who perpetrate this violence are in our neighborhoods, our houses of worship and our workplaces.
Over the last year or so, a group of executives from large multi-national corporations, lawyers who specialize in workplace issues and domestic violence, a union representative and advocates from the field have been working on a perpetrator policy. The policy is designed as a template or guide and is intended to offer direction for companies in responding to employees who perpetrate domestic violence or sexual assault in or affecting the workplace, and provide both information for employees who perpetrate this violence and ways for companies to hold those employees accountable. It is meant for use by those organizations that already have a policy to assist victims in place, or bold organizations that want to take on the whole challenge at once.
Policy Template: A Workplace Response to Perpetrators of Domestic, Dating, Sexual Violence and Stalking is housed on the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence website, along with many other resources including a six step outline to instituting domestic violence and sexual assault policies.
Indeed there are many great companies such as Bank of America, L.L.Bean, Prudential and Verizon that realize the value of having policies and programs to address domestic violence and sexual assault for their employees. Unfortunately, many more are lagging behind, regardless of the fact that these issues impact their bottom lines, reduce productivity and increase healthcare costs.
Putting our collective fingers in our ears and pretending domestic violence and sexual assault do not impact “our” workplaces is naive and futile. Although it does serve perpetrators quite well, by keeping these issues hidden in the dark where they continue to thrive.
Isn’t it time to throw back the curtains and turn the lights on so we can begin not only to help those in need, but also do the work necessary now so that the next generation won’t suffer?