Employers who are aware or who ought reasonably to be aware of intimate partner violence, that would likely expose a worker to physical injury that may occur in the workplace, must take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect a worker.
– Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act
How Does IPV Affect Your Workplace
Intimate partner violence offenders want control over their victims everywhere possible. Places of worship, medical facilities, entertainment facilities and yes, the workplace. Employers, supervisors and HR managers are in a unique position to affect positive change in the lives of victims and in our own workplace.
Victim Services of Nipissing attended to
0incidents of IPV from
April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022
Health & Safety in the Workplace
Intimate partner violence at home has the potential to spill over into the workplace, either through unwanted attention from the offender or even violence.
A healthy workforce is a productive workforce. It’s a given that when things aren’t right at home, performance and morale at work is affected.
Did you know that victims of intimate personal violence are:
What To Look For As an Employer
As employers, managers and supervisors there are warning signs that can alert potential issues related to IPV. It is important to be aware of employee’s interpersonal relationships with each other because often co-workers are the first to be alerted to problems.
What To Look For as an Employee, Friend, or Family Member
As co-workers, friends and family, there are flags and warning signs that can alert us to potential issues so we can be supportive.
The spectrum below indicates four main areas but nothing is carved in stone and we must all use our own judgment in supporting those who count on us for a safe workplace.
Normal workplace functions. The partner is either supportive or indifferent. The employee is doing well in a calm, steady manner. The employee appears to be in control, behaving ethically & morally. Their demeanour, dress and their office interpersonal style can be noted as a baseline.
Calm, Steady & Control
Behaving Ethically & Morally
Get to know employees
Practice active listening
Note usual employee behaviours
Advocate healthy workplace
There are possible signs the employee’s partner is attempting control by interfering with transportation and access to the workplace. They may attempt interference in the workplace through excessive interruptions. The partner may also attempt to involve other employees by inappropriate questioning. Trust your instincts.
Interfering with transportation
Hiding or stealing ID cards
Excessive calls, texts, emails
Often late for work
Occasional loss of emotional control
Monitor behaviours & note changes
Actively listen to concerns
Identify unhealthy situations
Consult with experts
Refer where practical
There are signs the employee’s domestic situation is deteriorating. This requires you to intervene to assist the employee and ensure workplace safety. You need to increase vigilance and address any unacceptable employee behaviour, which may present an opportunity to promptly intervene and prevent escalation.
The time may have arrived to involve external resources. Empathize with the employee and do not exhibit anger towards the partner. Accommodate the employee or employees who can help. It is essential to maintain contact with the employee in order to ensure support and monitor the situation. Minimize rumours but honour confidentiality.
Interfering at workplace
Verbally abusive to employee(s)
Overlooking appearance details
Forgetting important things
Impaired decision making
Increased accidental injuries
Nervous in partner’s presence
Address unacceptable behaviour
Maintain contact with employee
The situation is out of hand. Safety and security are paramount. Action is unquestionably required. You must sustain vigilance and ensure workplace safety for all. You may have to involve security/law enforcement personnel. If possible, sustain employee contact and continue to empathize. Ensure resources & support are available for the employee. If practical, continue to include the employee in work activities. Be encouraging to all your employees and, where appropriate, keep them informed. Everyone should be vigilant, know workplace safety plans and must involve management & supervisor with observations or concerns.
Physically restraining employee
Physically harming employee(s)
Avoiding or withdrawing
Cannot perform duties
Loss of control
Ensure workplace safety
Involve security/law enforcement
Maintain employee contact
Ensure resources & support
Accommodate medical limitations
Include employee in work activities