Domestic violence:A workplace health & safety ... - CUPE Ontario
CUPE ONTARIO Health & Safety/Injured Workers Conference October 27th, 2016 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: A WORKPLACE HEALTH & SAFETY CONCERN Why a trade union issue? Domestic violence: Widespread without doubt many CUPE members are affected Deeply impacts workers lives and work
Can affect job performance therefore job prospects and security Threatens health and safety Victims/survivors & coworkers Offenders & coworkers Can threaten lives Why a trade union issue? Victims/survivors may be at increased risk of harm in their workplace if they leave an abusive partner Work may be the only place where they can be located
Employers who are aware of domestic violence and fail to protect their employees from violence at work may be held liable under health and safety legislation Joint OHS Committees can help to ensure compliance with Ontario legislation Occupational Health & Safety Act Domestic violence is considered workplace violence under the terms of the Ontario OHSA Under section 32.0.4 of the Act if an employer is aware or ought to be aware that domestic violence that is likely to expose a worker to physical injury may occur in the workplace, the employer must take every reasonable precaution
to protect the worker What do we know about domestic violence and its impacts on workers and the workplace? Who took part?
8,429 total respondents 78.4% female 49.8% Ontario, 21.6% BC 94.1% between 25 and 64 years 81.1% permanent employment 81.4% unionized (in current or last job) Over half from educational or healthcare/social assistance sectors Definition For this survey, domestic violence was defined as any form of physical, sexual, emotional or psychological abuse, including financial control, stalking and harassment. It occurs between opposite- or same-sex
intimate partners, who may or may not be married, common law, or living together. It can also continue to happen after a relationship has ended. (Schmidt, 2012) DV Prevalence DV prevalence One third (33.6%) had experienced DV in their lifetime Female, transgender, and Aboriginal respondents, those with disabilities, or a sexual orientation other than heterosexual had higher rates Rates consistent with other large surveys
Workplace Impact Among those who experienced DV 38% reported that DV affected their ability to get work Getting to Work I would have to find a safe house because of violence at night. Then I would be without work clothing or school uniforms for the kids. My children and I would be too emotionally upset to go to work and school the next day. Sleep deprivation affected [my] ability to focus at work or get there on
time. I ended up taking a lot of time off and for the most part no one really understood exactly why I was gone for so long. [I] lied about injury and absence due to fear and not able to admit to abuse at that time. Workplace Impact Among those who experienced DV 53.5% experienced DV at or near the workplace DV at the Workplace
DV at the Workplace Constant phone calls prevented me from doing my job properly, as it tied up the phone required for business. He pretended to be security and dragged me out of work. [The abuser] would phone my workplace to see what time I had left, and phoned when I arrived to make sure I was actually going to work. My ex-husband threatened to call my employer to tell them lies about me. Workplace Impact Among those who experienced DV 81.9%
found that DV negatively affected their work performance Impacts Results DV & Workplace Impacts Negative Impacts: distracted (66%; e.g., by stress, abusive emails etc.) tired (62.1%; due to sleep deprivation from the
DV) unwell (62.0%; anxiety, depression, headache from DV) injured (16%; from the DV) Negative Impact on Performance I was tired and distracted yet work was a place where I felt safe. ...theres no doubt it had impact, but I took pride in my ability to stay focused and on task with a professional presentation. However, those were very difficult times. Dealing with my ex-husband left me feeling anxious, tired due to lack of sleep. It affected the pleasure my work usually gives me.
Concerns Warning signs? Risk factors? Health & Safety concerns? What Do Co-Workers See? 35.4% reported having at least one co-worker they believe is experiencing, or has previously experienced, DV 11.8%
reported having at least one coworker who they believe is being abusive, or has previously been abusive toward a partner Co-Workers Among those who experienced DV 37.1% reported co-workers affected by their DV too Impact on Co-Workers People were sympathetic and horrified, but also very, very uncomfortable
The domestic violence caused unease between me and my coworkers because I had to miss work or sometimes cried. Also, some people felt helpless; they would have liked to intercede, but did not dare for fear of endangering me or themselves. I could see how my situation could place others in danger and was lucky that none of the threats were brought forth or followed up. Workplace Support 43.3% of those experiencing DV discussed it with someone at work Outcome of disclosure Why people dont disclose:
Embarrassment/shame/judgment Privacy/ none of their business Didnt want to get others involved Workplace Support confiding in co-workers helped alleviate the stress of being attacked going to the car, the unending phone calls over and over and over and the extreme fatigue both physically and mentally. The support from the few co-workers and the employer Psychologist was empowering. The gossip was malicious and not at all helpful. People just knew, I was ashamed, they didnt have much respect for me.
Providing Information Workers received info about DV from: 28% employer 27% union Providing Information we bring to work everything that happens at home. We can't compartmentalize or mentally separate these different aspects of our lives. While it might not technically be the responsibility of the employer or union to provide shelter or assistance for employees being victimized by abusers at home, the workplace is a logical place to provide help, support, and
resources for victims of violence. I think creating the ability in the union and in any work environment for discussions around these issues is more important than people realize. Perceived Workplace Support 10.6% think that employers are aware when DV is affecting their workers 62.3%
of those think employers act positively Perceived Workplace Support 11.3% think that union officials are aware when DV is affecting members 86.6% think unions of those
act positively Workplace Support I was extremely nervous about sharing my situation... understanding that it may have a negative impact on how my supervisor viewed me and my work. However, that was unfounded and so far they have been very helpful and understanding and have also respected my privacy and been careful not to intrude. Workplace Support There are some co-workers who will listen; however most dont really want to get involved. The only
concern my boss had was how soon was I going to return to work. My employer simply said to me, take whatever time you need and if you need any help with anything just let me know. I was very fortunate to have such an understanding and flexible employer. Workplace Impact Among those who experienced DV 8.5% lost a job due to DV Job Loss I was in trouble for missing a lot of work and
now I cant miss work without a doctors note. The only concern my boss had was how soon was I going to return to work. Beliefs about DV in the Workplace 91.5% (all respondents) DV impacts the work lives of workers Beliefs about DV in the Workplace 74.4% (all respondents) Workplace supports such as paid leave and safety
policies can reduce the impact of DV Other key findings DV is associated with poorer general health, mental health, and quality of life but less so for those who are currently working (protective effect of work?) Nearly 40% believed they have a co-worker who is/was a DV victim and/or perpetrator awareness of victimization was more common Occupational Health & Safety Act Domestic violence is considered workplace violence under the terms of the Ontario OHSA Under section 32.0.4 of the Act
if an employer is aware or ought to be aware that domestic violence that is likely to expose a worker to physical injury may occur in the workplace, the employer must take every precaution reasonable to protect the worker Workplace Warning Signs Disruptive phone calls or visits from the partner Obvious injuries bruises, black eyes, broken bones, hearing loss often attributed to falls, being clumsy or accidents Hiding injuries
Clothing inappropriate for the season (long sleeves & turtlenecks, sunglasses indoors) Changes in makeup or concealer Absenteeism or lateness Being the victim of vandalism or threats Workplace Warning Signs Job performance problems poor concentration, errors, slowness, difficulty making decisions, inconsistent work quality Requests for special accommodations
leave early, change schedule Behaviour anxiety, emotional outbursts, tears, apprehension, withdrawal or social avoidance, excessive tiredness or depression Lack of access to money Risk Factors
A history of domestic violence Actual or pending separation Obsessive behaviour Depression of the perpetrator The level of violence is increasing Prior threats / attempts of suicide
Threat to kill Prior attempts to isolate victim Victim had intuitive sense of fear Perpetrator unemployed *39 risk factors identified that indicate potential for lethality DVDRC 2012 Report 40 Increasing Risk Perpetrators who extend their abuse to the work setting are increasing the number of domains in which they control their partners
By harassing, stalking, and threatening the target at work, offenders may succeed in getting the victim fired and thereby increase the victims dependence (Farmer & Tiefenthaler, 1997; Gemignani, 2000, Reeves, OLeary-Kelly, Farmer, Paetzold, & Tiefenthaler, 2001) Tony McNaughton January 29th 2000 Was stabbed to death whilst protecting a colleague from her estranged husband in Vancouver.
Aysegul Candir December 10, 2004 Separated from her husband. He shot her in the parking lot of her workplace, Bramalee Secondary School. She later died in hospital. Lori Dupont November 5, 2005 Separated from her expartner, a doctor at the same hospital. He stabbed her in the operating room
and later injected himself with a lethal dose. They both died. Critical Events & Missed Opportunities Dupont Inquest 90 84 80 70 60 50
40 37 30 Warning Signs 20 Opportunities 10 0
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difficulty with concentration or being distracted (30%) unable to stay in the zone, always thinking about their spouse and the problems unable to focus This problem was often, but not always described alongside problems with work quality and productivity (26%) Tendency to make mistakes by being distracted, then blames their home life for being the cause of their distraction. They dont seem to be able to focus during the periods of abuse and then dont get the job all done (MacGregor et al, 2016) Canadian Research on Offenders P.I. Dr. Katreena Scott, OISE, University of Toronto
Aim: To examine the impact of DV perpetration on the workplace and consider workplace responses to this issue. Survey of a sample of individuals attending intervention programs for DV perpetration Recruited 500+ respondents from across Ontario Survey data augmented with interviews of minority offender groups (e.g., women, same sex, linguistic minorities) and with employers Preliminary data on 73 participants Impacts Ability to get to or stay at work (e.g., late, left early, missing days, lost job)
Performance (e.g., distracted, unwell) Workplace safety Impact: Performance My mood wouldn't be as upbeat. Very depressed. Emotionally hard to interact with people. Preferred working independently with minimal communication. Loss of concentration, continuously thought about the circumstance. Feelings of regret and guilt. Stress, court, programs cutting into work time 3 hours per week to help with courts and my life. A lot to take in. Just trying to tell my boss I need a day off for my course, but not telling him what course.
Impacts: Safety Not paying attention and misplaced a step, fell over equipment. Dropping a load of bricks on somebody. Knocked over skid part on forklift. Could have caused death. I forgot that I was assigned 6 patients on day shift, so I missed one of them when it came to administering medication. The incident caused me to be reprimanded and questioned by my manager. Offenders in the Workplace he Workplace
Everyone deserves to be represented Protect jobs Hold workers accountable for abusive behaviour Ensure safety Refer to community supports 51 Union Activism
Advocate for changes in OH&S legislation and Employment Standards Collective bargaining for entitlements Educate union educators, shop stewards, H&S representatives, Womens Advocates and other front line reps Develop union-led programs (e.g., Unifors Womens Advocate Program) Advocate for employer initiatives Domestic violence at work resource centre
http://canadianlabour.ca/issues-research/domestic-violence-work http://canadianlabour.ca/issues -research/domestic -violence-work Contact Barb MacQuarrie Community Director Centre for Research & Education on Violence against Women & Children Faculty of Education, Western University Room 1118, 1137 Western Road London, ON N6H 1X7 Tel. 519.661.4023 [email protected]
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