By Sandra Molinari

It might surprise you to hear that homicide is the leading cause of death on the job for women in the United States. Or that almost 8 million paid workdays were lost due to domestic violence in 2003 – that’s equivalent to 32,000 full time jobs!

It is of the utmost importance that employers address the issue of domestic violence among their employees, as it not only causes victims and other employees to suffer undue stress and low morale, but also can negatively impact a company’s financial performance. Ignoring the problem also poses serious security risks, and therefore liability concerns for the employer.

I’d like to clarify that the term “domestic violence” refers to physical, sexual, and/or psychological harm (as well as financial control and abuse) caused by a current or former partner or spouse. Although women are much more likely than men to be victims of both domestic violence and on-the-job intimate partner homicide, men can be victimized as well, and domestic violence occurs in both heterosexual and same–sex relationships.

Tuesday: How does domestic violence manifest in the workplace?

Wednesday: What can managers/employers do about it?

 Sandra Molinari is a trilingual non-profit professional with more than 10 years’ experience working in the domestic and sexual violence field, in program coordination, training and community education, both in the US and abroad. She can be reached at


National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

National Network to End Domestic Violence: