During a speech to mark White Ribbon Day, Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick said businesses need to do more to help employees they suspect are victims of domestic partner violence or family violence.
Broderick also suggested a number of ways businesses could do more to help employees, including:
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- Allowing employees who feel threatened to change their phone extension at work and have their calls screened by reception.
- Providing a safe, locked place where employees can store possessions at work during a crisis.
- Obtaining an emergency contact number to call if employees are late for work or absent.
- Providing the perpetrator’s photo and description to your reception or security staff.
- Allowing employees to access leave entitlements (including sick leave, carer’s leave or compassionate leave) in cases of domestic violence, or offer special leave for medical appointments and legal proceedings.
Broderick’s talk raises a couple of essential questions: How would you respond, and what could you offer, if you suspected a member of your staff was a victim of domestic violence? Have you prepared – for example – a safe, locked space for your employees to use in a crisis?
It is essential that you discuss the issue with your business partners, directors, team leaders, shift supervisors and other managers in order to plan – ahead of time – ways your business can help.
Even more critically, you need to clearly communicate to your staff the assistance you can offer if they are ever in a situation where they feel threatened at home. After all, you may plan to offer all the support in the world, but it won’t do anyone any good if no one knows you’re offering it.
Get it done – today!