Domestic violence is a major public health concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one in five women and one in seven men report having been the victim of severe physical violence from an intimate partner. Additionally, the Department of Labor estimates that domestic violence results in approximately eight million lost days of work and $1.8 million in lost productivity per year.
How Does Domestic Violence Affect Work?
The effects of domestic violence do not simply disappear when employees enter the workplace. In addition to physical injuries, employees who are victims of domestic violence also carry mental and emotional scars. This can make it difficult to be on time, focus on work tasks, and maintain a high level of productivity.
Not only does domestic violence affect work performance, but it can also take place at work. Abusers may incessantly call or stalk their partner or spouse’s workplace, attempting to keep tabs on them. Some warning signs for employers to look out for include noticing that a worker:
- Appears anxious, fearful, or depressed
- Consistently is picked up/dropped off by his or her significant other
- Does not socialize after work
- Has displayed changes in work performance
- Has visible physical injuries
- Is unable to change shifts
- Is uncharacteristically late or absent
- Receives apology gifts after being distressed
- Receives frequent phone calls
- Suffers frequent “accidents”
- Wears unseasonable clothing or accessories
What Employers Can Do About Domestic Violence
Employers may not be able to prevent domestic violence but there are several things they can do to address it in the workplace. In addition to having a zero-tolerance policy for violence, employers can also:
- Maintain a nonjudgmental and supportive work environment
- Make reasonable efforts to maximize employee safety (for example, lighting, escorts, and cooperation with law enforcement)
- Notify employees of reporting requirements and assistance options
- Provide each employee with a copy of the workplace violence policy
- Require employees to attend special training
Safe Leave for Domestic Violence Victims
If domestic violence is affecting your work, you may be entitled to safe leave. Maryland employers are required to provide safe leave for domestic violence victims, according to the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act. Under the Act, employers with 15 or more employees must provide paid safe leave and those with 14 or fewer must provide unpaid safe leave for employees who must miss work due to domestic violence. Employees must give notice to their employers as soon as the need to miss work becomes foreseeable and use safe leave in reasonable increments established by their employers.
Towson Domestic Violence Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Victims Get Domestic Violence Leave from Work
If you were subject to domestic violence, contact a Towson domestic violence lawyer at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. Our knowledgeable attorneys will explain your legal options, including filing for a protective order or a peace order and getting the time off work you need to address your domestic violence situation. From our offices conveniently located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we represent clients in Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Columbia, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks, Parkton, Pikesville, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County. Please complete our online contact form or call us at 443-589-0150 for a free consultation.