Domestic Violence and the Work Place
Information for Employees: A Survivor's Guide to Safety Planning in the Workplace
What is a workplace safety plan?
Do I need one?
If your abuser is harassing or threatening you at work, you may want to think about creating a safety plan for your job. A work-place safety plan is a way for you to identify and make changes to your daily routine which may increase your physical safety and emotional well-being.
What are the steps I need to take?
Consider telling a trusted coworker about your situation. A co-worker may be able to help you by looking out for your abuser and calling the police if the batterer threatens you or harasses you at work. A co-worker may also be able to provide personal support and assistance with locating appropriate resources. Think carefully about who you choose to tell and ask them to respect your right to privacy.
How do I talk to my employer about my situation?
Although there are steps you can take on your own to increase your safety, it may be beneficial to tell your employer or supervisor about your situation. If you do decide to talk to your employer about the abuse, here are some things you may want to consider.
- Ask your employer to keep your situation confidential. There may be times, however, when they feel it is necessary to discuss what you have told them with other employees. For example,if you are afraid your batterer may harm you at work,they may need to inform others to ensure the safety of the office.
- Familiarize yourself with the office's employee policies, and talk with a lawyer or advocate if you feel your employment status is in jeopardy. There is a risk that your employer may believe you must be fired in order to keep the workplace safe.
- Inform your employer about the steps you are already taking to keep yourself safe, and help them recognize the crucial role they play in your safety plan.
Make changes at your job
There may be changes you or your employer can make at your job which can improve your safety.
- Change your phone number or extension
- Route your calls through the office receptionist
- Keep your home address and phone number confidential
- Request a transfer to a different desk, department, shift or work site
- Have someone escort you in and out of the building
- Lock the door to your office or department
- Register your order of protection with the security personnel
- Post a picture of your batterer at the security desk and have the guards prevent them from entering the building
- Name your place of work on your order of protection
Change your commute to work
Give some serious thought to how you get to and from work.Particularly,how far the train station, bus stop or parking lot is from your job.
Does your batterer know where you work and how you get there?
If your current form of transportation is risky,consider changes that would make it safer. For Example:
- Commute with a co-worker
- Vary the route and time you get to work
- Have someone walk with you to your car,the train or bus
Review the safety of your child care arrangements.
Does your batterer know the location of the child care center?
Consider telling your child's caretaker about the batterer and give them a copy of any orders of protection or custody papers you may have. Be very clear about who and who is not allowed to pick up your child. If possible, consider changing child care providers.