By Sandra Molinari

How does domestic violence manifest in the workplace?

An abusive individual’s power and control tactics are likely to manifest at the workplace in the form of repeated harassing phone calls and/or text messages to their partner, causing the victim to take frequent breaks to reply for fear of retaliation (which might include a hostile visit from the abuser). Such harassment produces great stress for the victim.  Add this to the abuse happening outside the workplace, and you have employees who are fearful, anxious, depressed, and sleep-deprived, struggling to maintain their focus in the workplace. Victims are likely to experience high rates of absenteeism and tardiness. 

Having perpetrators of domestic abuse at the workplace is another cause for concern. They too tend to perform their work tasks less effectively, since they are likely to spend a significant amount of time keeping tabs on their partners through calls and texts (which may include the use of company resources). A perpetrator’s behaviors at the workplace also can turn disruptive or violent, which may have public relations implications for the business.

 Finally, the negative effects of domestic violence at the workplace are not limited to victims and perpetrators: concerned, empathetic co-workers may lose focus on their own work tasks as they seek to help a victim, and fear for their safety as well; indeed, abusers have been known to threaten or intimidate other people, in order to obtain information about their partner, and there is always the risk that they may show up at the latter’s workplace armed and threatening to hurt them (and possibly others) in the process.

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BONUS!  Wednesday: What can employers/managers do about this problem?     Author’s note:  Like this post? October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so help spread the word and help curtail domestic violence!