Employers should empower victims of violence in workplace

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Most people never anticipate being injured or killed at work due to violence. While companies generally review workplace violence and harassment policies with new employees, these policies are rarely revisited, leaving many organizations vulnerable to victimization by employees, their family or friends and customers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administrations (OSHA) defines workplace violence as “any act or threat of phylical violence, harassment, intimidation or other threatening or disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.” Risk factors for violence include working with volatile and unstable people, working in an isolated location or where alcohol is served; exchanging money with the public and providing services and care. However, this list does not include domestic violence. According to OSHA, 8.6 percent of workplace fatalities sin 2015 were homicides.

Of those, 43 percent were female employees killed by a male relative or domestic partner, while 2 percent of male employees were killed by a female relative or domestic partner.Research foud that 65 percent of companies do not have a domestic violence policy and only 20 percent provide some type of training related to domestic violence. Every workplace should have a domestic violence policy that states reasonable accommodations will be made and provides examples, such as the ability for employees to use paid leave on short notice and protection of employees’ privacy.

When workplaces invest in the well-being of employees, it expands the opportunity for victims to disclose their victimization and receive the support they need.