Thursday, September 25, 2008

Workplace Policies and Domestic Violence - Does One Size Fit All?

I often get asked about different kinds of policies to address different types of workplaces with respect to domestic violence. Not all workplaces are the same, and not all workplace cultures have the same kinds of policies. Some are very brief and have a different set of procedures or guidelines to go with their policies, and some policies are all-inclusive. Some workplaces have union employees, some do not.

So there are differences in the way that policies are constructed depending on the organization or type of employer, but not necessarily what kinds of issues should be touched upon. For sample policies and resources you can check out

For a great policy from an institution of higher education – specifically Buffalo State College – check out their policy at It is just one example of many but gets away from the idea that only a "corporation" would have such a policy (and believe me, I've been told that!)

I also have to give “props” to my friends at the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) in the State of New York. Amy Barasch (the Executive Director) has done an amazing job, and they are working with all state agencies in New York to get policies in place. For more on that, check

Remember -- policies can be scalable and amenable to your workplace culture. But policies can also be put in a drawer and never used if they are not followed up with training and education and awareness programs within the workplace so managers and employees know what to do, who to talk to, and what resources are available.

For example, one of our CAEPV member companies places links for resources in several different locations on its employee intranet, so an employee in need of help related to domestic violence does not just go to the "Domestic Violence" spot to find it. They may find it in a Work/Life section, or a Workplace Safety section, or a Family Life section, or many other areas of the intranet. Not only does this provide information in easily accessible ways, it makes the issue one that shows up regularly so even employees who may not need the help (right now) see it.

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