I always held this police officer friend of mine in admiration, if not awe. Her reputation as a strong and utterly fearless officer was undisputed. She was married to a fellow officer, and she once told me this romantic story of how he stood patiently waiting for a glimpse of her outside her door – when she had a party going with friends – for over 2 hours on a snowy night. It was only when she walked out of her marriage that the reality was revealed to my utter shock! She was a battered wife! A woman who held the power and authority – which she wielded without the slightest of inhibitions – to protect others from violence and ill-treatment! Of course, I am not suggesting even for a second that men are not victims of domestic violence, or that wives do not ever hurt their husbands. But then women lead in the gory statistical details at 8 out of 1000 where as men stand at 1 out of 1000.
OSHA stipulates that the employer needs to provide a place of employment ‘free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm’. Employers may restrict employees from engaging in violent acts using employee policies. Handling a situation where an employee is facing a difficult domestic situation is harder and requires adequate and appropriate action to minimize the risk.
Only 15 states make it illegal for the employer to terminate such an employee ad mandate accommodations which provide better scope for the victim’s safety from any attack.
Some Pointers for Employers’ Help:
Abuse victims – like my friend, the police officer – would usually like to keep the matter under wraps. Employers can create an assistance program to help victims or guide them to seek help from community sources – on security and legal aspects.
It helps to have the security of the premises analyzed by the local police, which can be obtained at no cost.
States like Indiana do not prevent the termination of victims of violence but offer them unemployment compensation. This could make victims struggle harder to hide the truth; pushing them deeper into taking further abuse. Currently, 3 women are killed each day by their significant others. Some employers the need to support these victims, the administration is looking at mandating the terms of the federal policy signed by President Obama on April 12 for the private sector too.
With temporary employees caught in a similar situation, employers may do well to remember that they need to provide the same security to them as they would to regular employees and also avoid discriminating against them in any manner.
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