Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Domestic Violence - Never The Most Popular Table At The Workplace Wellness Fair

This week Dennis Butler (Vice President, Workplace Solutions at Liz Claiborne) and I had the opportunity to present together at the Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) annual conference. There were well over 1,000 attendees at this event. But do you know how many attended the session on domestic violence and the workplace? Approximately 15 or 20.

Trust me, there was no other session even CLOSE to that topic, and it was very forward-thinking and bold of WERC to put the topic on the conference schedule. (Most topics were along the lines of “logistics, distribution networking, reasons to automate, transportation best practices, etc.”)

So you can imagine the 15 or 20 people who attended our session were pretty brave – and had pretty specific reasons for doing so. It is a very important reminder of why we do the work we do. . .we are still the uncomfortable and “unusual” topic. Of those in the room representing distribution companies, only three or four had workplace violence policies of any kind, and maybe one had a domestic violence in the workplace policy. I am hopeful that will be different after our presentation and the materials we provided.

This presentation and the “lack of attendance” was a great reminder of why CAEPV keeps on doing what it does . . . and why I do what I do. And I am so thankful for amazing people like Dennis Butler who are there to give the corporate perspective of why this is “Everybody’s Business”!

I was also very touched by one woman in particular I met at the conference in our session. She was supposed to attend with her friend, Cindy Bischof. But Cindy is no longer with us. She was killed on March 7 by her ex-boyfriend who violated a protection order and came to her workplace and shot her in the parking lot. I wrote about Cindy in this blog. Cindy is one of the reasons I do what I do – so employers learn what they can do to help so no one’s family or friends or co-workers go through the heartbreak that Cindy’s family and friends and colleagues are suffering. To learn more about Cindy, and what her family and friends are doing to try and make a difference, visit

As I told those at the WERC presentation, we are never the most popular table at the workplace wellness fair. It is uncomfortable to think about domestic violence, and it is uncomfortable to talk about it. But -- if you are someone ready to “step out of your comfort zone” as an employer and find out what you can do to address this issue in your workplace, check out our website at I promise you it will be worth it.


MRadcliff said...

I think Domestic Violence should be a part of a workplace wellness program. Wellness Programs

Kim Wells said...

That is an excellent observation -- and it is actually a part of a workplace wellness program at many of our CAEPV member companies. And some companies do actually add domestic violence to their employee self-assessment screenings for issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, etc. It would be great if more would since it is such a natural fit. Thank you for your comment!