Monday, April 20, 2009

What if the Abusive Person Works for You?

We (by we I mean the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence/CAEPV) spend a lot of time helping employers build policies and programs and infrastructure to keep their workplaces safe and to protect their most important asset - their employees.

A lot of that work tends to be focused around what an employer can do to help keep an employee who is a victim safe - things like making sure employees have access to resources both within the community and within the workplace (like the EAP, HR, security), giving the employee access to safe parking, perhaps changing work locations or work hours, removing a telephone number from an external directory. An employer can also be listed on an order of protection and have a copy of that order and work with the employee to enforce it by having a description of the perpetrator on file along with a photo. These and many other such ideas for assisting employees who are victims are available on our website at

But what do you do when your employee is the perpetrator? That does not seem quite so cut and dried, right? What if they did not perpetrate anything on your property? It is not your business, right?

Well maybe. . or maybe not. Just like in any good workplace violence policy, you should not allow ANY employee to use your workplace resources or time to threaten or abuse anyone - whether co-worker, family member, vendor or. . .well anyone.

If an employee of yours uses your telephones to call and harass a victim. . .they've potentially violated your policy. If they use your vehicle to check up on a victim. . .they've potentially violated your policy. If they use your computer to send a threatening email . . .you see the point.

So - it may well be that the perpetrator is ver well doing something on your property - it may not be exactly the same as hitting the person, but it may very well be threatening or stalking. . and at the very least it is not the use of your company resources in the way you would have wished.

So how much does this happen? Well one 2003 study by the Maine Department of Labor found that:

• 78% of surveyed perpetrators used workplace resources to express remorse or anger, check up on, pressure, or threaten their victim
•74% had easy access to their intimate partner’s workplace
•21% of offenders reported they contacted the victim at the workplace in violation of a no contact order

So that just gives you a little bit of an idea of the potential usage of an employer's workplace.

We are providing a webinar on May 12 with some awesome experts on this topic - unfortunately it filled up so fast that I can't offer the registration link through this blog. However that does tell you something about employers' interest in this issue.

The good news is that we will have a link with the video and audio of the webinar available once it is completed so if folks missed out they'll be able to view it. Not quite the same as participating,but they will be able to get some of the good information.

In the meantime, we do have great info on our site. . .and just remember - if you have victims working for you, you have batterers working for you too.


KWG said...

Kim, let me know when the webinar archive is posted and I'll make sure to give it a shout out. Look forward to it. Thank you!

Kim Wells said...

Dear Kevin - thanks so much for your comment and we will certainly let you know when the webinar archive is posted! We want to let as many people as possible get the information. We know of one department in one organization that has 20 people who will be at one office "tuning in" so they won't all miss out! Thanks for all you do, Kevin! Kim