Due to its pervasiveness and marked impact on business operations, workplace violence and domestic violence have emerged as top concerns for employers among all industries. In fact, a staggering 94% of corporate security directors rank domestic violence as a high-security problem. As an employee this may make you feel a bit uneasy.
Thankfully, there is now heightened public awareness due to increased media coverage and social media. Being involved in a workplace or domestic violence situation can yield significant physical trauma, but it can also impact your health, mind, and future career. It is imperative to understand how workplace and domestic violence are defined, how they impact all parties involved, and what to do if you find yourself on the receiving end of workplace violence.
Workplace and Domestic Violence
As defined by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, workplace violence is classified as violent acts, including physical assaults and threats of assaults, directed toward persons at work or on duty. This type of violence is comprised of a broad spectrum of acts ranging from offensive or threatening language to homicide. It may include domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence.
The U.S. Federal Government has categorized workplace violence into four categories. The common denominator is they involve incidents that take place at a workplace that are recognized as a crime under state and federal law.
Although some harassing or threatening acts might not rise to the level of criminal behavior, employers are at liberty to simply refuse to tolerate this type of conduct from or against employees. Nearly 25% of all workplace violence is related to personal relationships where someone gains access to a workplace, and commits a crime toward an employee or customer who is a current or former intimate partner. A recent survey found that 44% of full-time employees personally experienced a domestic violence situation in their workplace, and 21% identified themselves as victims of intimate partner violence.
Domestic violence, often a form of workplace violence, is defined as, “a pattern of coercive behavior, including acts or threatened acts, that is used by a perpetrator to gain power and control over a current or former spouse, family member, intimate partner, or person with whom the perpetrator shares a child in common.”
Indiscriminate in nature, domestic violence transcends race, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation, and affects individuals of all backgrounds and professions. However, in 98% of domestic violence cases, it is women who are victimized by a male perpetrator. The U.S. Department of Labor reported that over a recent ten-year window of time, there were 321 women and 38 men on-the-job deaths. This number is staggering.
Why Employers Care
Once regarded as too controversial, employers are now proactively tackling issues of workplace and domestic violence head-on. The host of reasons include public perception, productivity, costs, safety, and liability. Employers are becoming acutely aware the adverse effects that workplace and domestic abuse have on productivity in the workplace. Data captured from a recent study shows that in one month, domestic and workplace violence caused over 56% of victims to be late for work at least five times, 28% to leave early at least five days, and 54% to miss at least three full days of work. Nearly 44% of recently surveyed executives also claim that domestic violence drastically increases their healthcare costs.
Now more than ever, employers are inclined to protect both their workforce and themselves as a business entity by instituting stringent policies and response protocols to combat workplace and domestic violence.
Workplace Violence Defense
If you’ve been injured in a workplace or domestic violence allegation, it is critical that you obtain counsel. If the domestic violence incident involves the infliction of any physical injury or use or threatening exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, current law requires police to make an arrest. Indicators can be a red mark on the skin or a broken item in the household. Within 24 hours of the arrest, the accused will meet with a judge, and release terms will be set.
It is not uncommon for the victim in the case to express interest in dismissing charges. You may feel that you don’t want your attacker to face conviction. Experienced counsel can work with both the victim and the prosecution to help obtain alternative resolution if that’s your desire.
Arizona and Domestic Violence in the Workplace
Recently, Arizona has been chosen as one of ten states that will participate in a new national initiative. The Corporate Citizenship Initiative, sponsored by the Family Violence Prevention Fund, will provide support for Arizona officials to create a statewide program to address domestic violence in the workplace. This is good news for victims and those who feel threatened by workplace violence.
You should always feel safe at work. If you’ve been injured as a result of workplace violence, contact the Law Office of Sonja Duckstein at (602) 212-0202 for more information and immediate assistance.