Recognizing when an employee might be in a domestic violence situation

     a.   Bruises/injuries
     b.   Disclosure to other employees (even joking)
     c.   Fear
     d.   Nervousness
     e.   Anxiety
     f.   Abuser calls or visits employee at work frequently
     g.   Many sick days - high absenteeism

What an employer can do to help:

Be supportive:

  • Let the employee know that you are there for him/her when he/she is ready to talk.
  • Be open and flexible with requests from employee for time off to things related to leaving the abuser (moving out, filing protection orders, attending court, etc)
  • Encourage the employee to contact Beacon Center (605) 886-4300 or  1-800-660-8014 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
  • Let the victim know that you want to help keep them safe at work.  Ask what changes could be made to make him/her feel safer--remember, the victim knows the perpetrator better than anyone else.  Some ways to do this:

               i.  Encourage him/her to save any threatening e-mail or voicemail messages.  These can
                   potentially be used for future legal action, or can serve as evidence that an existing 
                   restraining order was violated.

               ii.  Make arrangements for the victim to have priority parking near the building.

              iii.  Have calls screened, transferring harassing calls to security--or have his/her name removed
                   from automated phone directories.

              iv.  Relocate the victim's workspace to a more secure area or another site.

               v.  Obtain a restraining order that includes the workplace, and keep a copy on hand at all times. 
                   The victim may want to consider providing a copy to the police, his/her supervisor, security, 
                   or human resources.

              vi.  Provide a picture of the perpetrator to reception areas and/or security.

              vii.  Identify an emergency contact person should the employer be unable to contact the victim.

              viii.  Ask security to escort the employee to and from vehicle or public transportation.

Your first responsibility is to keep the workplace safe for all employees.  By taking these steps, you can help the employee who is in a domestic violence situation keep his/her job and possibly gain enough strength to leave the abusive partner.  You are also protecting your employees.  It is frightening to have an abusive person come or call the workplace, but please remember to be supportive of your employee who is trying to survive the situation.  You could be helping to literally save his/her life.