Skip to main content

Combating Domestic Violence in the Workplace

President Obama recently issued a Memorandum to the heads of the executive departments and agencies regarding Domestic Violence in the workplace.  The memo requires the Office of Personnel Management to establish policies to better assist victims of domestic violence who are federal employees.  According to the memo, the CDC estimates that $8 billion dollars in productivity and health care costs are lost every year due to domestic violence.  This is in addition, of course, to the personal and family losses that are also caused by domestic violence.

We often forget that the President is not just a political, foreign and domestic leader, but that he is also the C.E.O. of the federal executive branch, which, including the armed forces, employs more than 4 million american citizens.  Therefore, the policies of the president's administration on issues such as domestic violence affect a large percentage of the american workforce.

Specifically, the memo requires OPM to issue guidance on policies

"to prevent domestic violence and address its effects on the Federal workforce. The guidance shall include recommended steps agencies can take as employers for early intervention in and prevention of domestic violence committed against or by employees, guidelines for assisting employee victims, leave policies relating to domestic violence situations, general guidelines on when it may be appropriate to take disciplinary action against employees who commit or threaten acts of domestic violence, measures to improve workplace safety related to domestic violence, and resources for identifying relevant best practices related to domestic violence;"

While it remains to be seen how this will be implemented (especially in an election year), the goal of addressing all of these issues with directed policies is commendable, and should be a model for all employers.  Not only will having policies in place to address domestic violence help your staff know what to do in these situations, addressing the issues will result in a safer and more productive work-force.

If you want to learn more about the resources available to help domestic violence victims in Massachusetts check out these resources available on the Massachusetts State website, and seek help.  If you or someone you know suffers from Sexual or Domestic Violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE for immediate assistance.

For more information about Abuse Protection Orders in Massachusetts, visit our Restraining Order webpage.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What is the purpose of the Divorce Nisi waiting period?

In Massachusetts the statutory waiting period after a Judgment of Divorce and before the divorce becomes final (or absolute) is called the Nisi period. After a divorce case settles or goes to trial, a Judgment of Divorce Nisi will issue and it will become Absolute after a further ninety (90) days. This waiting period serves the purpose of allowing parties to change their mind before the divorce becomes final. If the Judgment of Divorce Nisi has issued but not become final yet, and you and your spouse decide you don't want to get divorced, then you can file a Motion to Dismiss and the Judgment will be undone. Although many of my clients who are getting divorced think the idea of getting back together with their ex sounds crazy, I have had cases where this happened. In addition to offering a grace period to change your mind, the Nisi period has three other legal effects: 1. The most obvious effect of the waiting period is that you cannot remarry during the Nisi period, be

Does a Criminal Record affect Child Custody?

If one of the parents in a custody case has a criminal record, the types of crimes on their record could have an effect on their chances of obtaining custody. In custody cases the issue is always going to come down to whether or not the best interests of the child might be affected. In the most extreme case, in which one parent has been convicted of first degree murder of the other parent, the law specifically prohibits visitation with the children until they are of a suitable age to assent. Similarly, but to a less serious degree, in making custody and visitation determinations the court will consider crimes that would cause one to question the fitness of a parent. These types of crimes would obviously include any violent crime convictions which could call into question whether the children would be in danger around a parent who has shown themselves to resort to violence when faced with conflict. In addition, drug and alcohol abuse offenses would call into question a parent&#

The Questions that Lawyers and Mediators aren't asking but should: Let's talk about Pronouns

I recently had the opportunity to train with two of the most prominent mediators in Massachusetts: John Fiske and Diane Neumann . Each time they run a training, John and Diane share what they think is the most important question for a client to answer to have an effective mediation. John says that he thought the most important question is "What do I want?" But then he will tell you, with a knowing smile, that Diane disagreed with him and she would say that the most important question for a client to answer is "Who am I?" I agree with Diane. The best lawyers and mediators ask their clients not just about what they want, but also deep questions about the clients' identity, goals, and values in order to help the clients resolve conflict in the most effective way possible. Despite knowing this, we often fail to ask clients the simplest questions when we first meet them or have them fill out an intake. We fail to give them an opportunity to answer the question “W