Last week we discussed the common warning signs of domestic abuse victims. If you suspect an employee of being abused, below is a recommended course of action.
- Express concern and ask if something is wrong
- Offer help through contacting your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or a local shelter/counseling center.
- Notify the police if threatening messages are received at the office, or the employee’s spouse poses a threat to your workplace
- Wait for the employee to come to you
- Pressure the employee for an explanation or answer
- Threaten the employee’s position
- Give advice
If your employee does not want to share information with you, you are still obligated as their employer to minimize risks in the workplace under OSHA. In some states, employers are allowed to obtain restraining orders against employee’s spouses, to keep them away from the workplace. However, by doing this you could be doing more harm than good for the victim.
We recommend that you immediately contact an HR Advisor or your local domestic violence hotline/help center before taking action on your own. As an employer, you are not in a position to provide direct help, or offer advice on their specific situation. You should always do the best you can in getting them the help they need, and ensuring that your workplace remains safe for ALL employees, not just the victim.