Mass lay-offs linked to ‘upscale’ domestic violence

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“The potential for IPV (Intimate Partner Violence) to spill into the workplace is a real concern, so much so that the B.C. Occupational Health and Safety Regulations require employers to conduct risk assessments where there are interactions between employees and persons other than co-workers that might lead to threats or assaults in the workplace,” says Hassan.

“Similar legal obligations also arise under the Workers Compensation Act and under the Regulations when violent situations may occur between two employees,” he continues. “Employers must also decide how best to protect their workers after conducting risk assessments.”

Hassan also offered some practical steps for employers:
  1. Ensuring that the right messages come from company thought leaders.
  2. Developing policies and procedures specifically tailored to protecting workers from domestic violence at work. Coat-tailing IPV onto a general bullying and harassment policy is not sufficient.
  3. Establishing supportive policies that address issues such as restraining orders, confidentiality and reporting protocols.
  4. Consider whether Employee and Family Assistance programs provide employees with access to experts in the field of IPV and provide access to those programs.
“Employees must understand that their employer is tuned in to these issues, is supportive of victims of domestic violence and will not tolerate violence in the workplace of any kind,” he added.
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