Issues arising from so-called domestic disputes end up exhibited as workplace violence in an alarming number of instances. Sadly, domestic violence continues to invade the workplace, resulting in violence that causes significant and even fatal injuries. These injuries include not only individuals directly involved in a domestic dispute but also other innocent workers. There are a number of facts and factors that we all need to understand when it comes to domestic disputes and its relationship to workplace violence. 

Domestic Dispute and Workplace Violence Statistics

There are some startling statistics associated with domestic disputes that result in violence in the workplace. Among these alarming statistics is the fact that almost 33 percent of women killed in workplaces in the United States are killed by a current or former intimate partner or significant other. Nearly all of the people killed by intimate partners or significant others are women.

About 44 percent of all U.S. workers have experienced at least one incident in the workplace that involves an act of violence arising from some type of domestic dispute. Approximately 20 percent of American workers advise that they have been the victims of domestic violence that actually occurred in the workplace at least one time in their lives. In looking at businesses with over 1,000 employees, a full 25 percent report at least one incident of violence during the past year that arose out of some type of domestic dispute. 

Impact of Domestic Violence in a Workplace on Productivity

Domestic violence has a notable impact on productivity in the United States. A worker who is the victim of domestic violence loses an average of just over seven days of work each year because of that victimization. Over 33 days of home productivity is lost annually when a person is a victim of domestic violence. This includes the loss of school time for minor children.

An astounding 130,000 victims of stalking in a given year report that they were fired or asked to resign. These firings or requests to resign arose because of actions perpetrated in the workplace or associated with a victim’s employment by a stalker.

In addition, one in eight workers who are stalked loses time from their jobs because they feel unsafe in the workplace. Half of these people lost more than five days of work. 

40 percent of people who are victims of domestic violence advise that they fear their intimate partner or significant other will pay an unexpected visit to their workplace. 98 percent of victims of domestic violence state that it is more difficult to talk on work responsibilities because of their victimization. 

Costs of Domestic Violence in the Workplace

The specific costs of domestic violence in the workplace warrant particular attention:

  • The direct costs to employers associated with domestic violence and its impact on the workplace is nearly $6 billion annually.
  • $5.8 billion is spent on direct medical care and mental health assistance due to domestic violence.
  • Nearly 8 million paid workdays are lost each year because of domestic violence.
  • The amount of time lost in workplaces across the country because of domestic violence amounts to a total of 32,000 fulltime equivalent positions.
  • A meager 13 percent of corporate executives believe that their companies need to address the issue of domestic violence and its impact on the workplace. 
  • 55 percent of corporate executives nonetheless recognize that domestic violence does impact the bottom line of a business. 
  • 91 percent of workers believe that domestic violence in the workplace has a negative impact.
  • Only 43 percent of executives agree that domestic violence in the workplace has a negative impact. 
  • Seven out of 10 businesses in the United States have no policies or procedures in place to address the matter of domestic violence in the workplace. 

Human Resources and Domestic Violence in the Workplace

When domestic violence becomes an issue in the workplace, there are some specific steps that a personnel director or human resources department should take in regard to such a situation. These steps include:

  • Communicate your concerns for the employee’s safety. 
  • Ask the victim what changes could be made to make him or her feel safer.
  • Tell the employee that the worker is believed.  
  • Be clear that your role is to try to help and not to judge.
  • Consult with security staff if there is a concern about workplace safety. 
  • Maintain access to useful resources for a worker who is the victim of domestic violence.
  • Institute a program that includes special training in regard to issues of domestic violence that impacts the workplace.

In the final analysis, a workplace must be a safe environment for employees, clients, customers, vendors, and others. Protecting the safety of workers and others at a business must remain a top priority when concerns about domestic violence impacting a workplace arise.