A new executive order from Ohio Governor Ted Strickland gives state agencies almost 14 months to comply with a new policy aimed at reducing and handling domestic violence in the workplace.
On April 17, 2008 Governor Strickland signed an executive order that creates the Barbara Warner Workplace Domestic Violence Policy, named after an Ohio Department of Health employee who was a victim of domestic violence and later killed in 1997 by her husband. The order also creates a state committee comprising representatives from several agencies and sets a July 1, 2009, deadline for state agencies to have enacted the policy.
A growing domestic violence problem outside the home was behind the governor's decision to sign the executive order. “Domestic violence in and outside of the workplace has become increasingly prevalent," Strickland said in a statement. "As an employer, the state must foster a safe working environment for all employees and provide the resources necessary to assist a worker who may be the victim of a domestic violence situation."
Under the new policy, state agencies are required to post a list of resources for workers, change personnel policies if needed, adjust workers' duties or assignments when domestic-violence issues arise, grant leave requests for victims and take action against workers identified as perpetrators. Actions can include contacting law enforcement and firing the employee.
Agencies also are barred from disciplining or discriminating against employees deemed domestic abuse victims or survivors for acts resulting from a domestic-abuse situation, or disclosing information to other workers beyond the extent necessary.
Obviously, the state of Ohio has determined what many companies and employers know, that domestic violence is an issue that impacts the workplace in terms of absenteeism, healthcare, productivity, turnover, and workplace safety -- and that an enlightened and proactive employer can do something to limit these impacts.
If you are not the state of Ohio and wonder what you can do, check out our CAEPV website for "six steps" to create a workplace program and a sample policy at http://www.caepv.org/action/.
And if you are not convinced about the potential costs to business, check out our extensive list of sourced stats at http://www.caepv.org/getinfo/facts_stats.php -- if there is something to do with domestic violence and the workplace and it is updated and well-sourced, you will find it there!
Congratulations to Governor Strickland -- and may the State of Ohio's policy honoring Barbara Warner help to prevent the loss of future lives.