Domestic Violence and the Workplace

By Mallory McGee


The physical signs of domestic violence are hard to miss: cuts, bruises, and broken bones. However, there are many effects of domestic violence that may be hard to see, including mental and emotional abuse, financial exploitation, and problems in the workplace. Victims of domestic violence report that their abusers often use their place of work to stalk and harass them. The physical abuse may have ended, but the residual abuse and its aftermath can create just as much turmoil in the lives of domestic violence victims.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that victims of domestic violence can experience a decrease in job performance because of the abuse. They are also at risk for absenteeism and lateness because of the emotional effects, physical injuries, and court appearances linked to the abuse. Abusers can affect a victim’s workplace environment by calling the office repeatedly or showing up throughout the day. Abusers can also withhold car keys giving the victim no way to get to work, keep the victim from getting sleep, or refuse to provide childcare; thus, forcing the victim to stay home and miss work.

There have been initiatives to help domestic violence victims keep their jobs and for employers to provide resources or assistance, instead of firing or disciplining employees in this situation. In 2009, Governor Paterson signed a law prohibiting an employer from discriminating against an employee who is known to be a victim of domestic violence or stalking. This prohibits an employer from not hiring someone because of his or her victim status, firing the employee, or determining compensation based on the employee’s status as a victim.… <Read More>