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Can Domestic Violence Training Pay Off for Your Business?

You might consider what your employees do on their own time their own business. But when it comes to domestic violence, providing your employees workplace training can pay off both at home and at work.

For a dramatic example of how domestic violence at home can effect business, one can look to the NFL, where a rash of recent off-the-field incidents -- including video footage of a player hitting his wife and allegations of child abuse against another player -- have overshadowed the league's first three weeks of regular season play. Last week, the NFL announced that all NFL team personnel and staff would be required to undergo training on prevention of domestic violence.

Can the same kind of domestic violence training pay off for your business?

The Cost of Domestic Violence

Although domestic violence refers to violence among family members, intimate partners, or other cohabitants, the effects of domestic violence can and do reach the workplace.

Employment law attorney Meagan Newman told Inside Counsel that lost productivity alone leads to more than $8 billion in losses for American companies. Other costs to companies include a host of potential sources of legal liability, such as "potential litigation under Title VII, the ADA, and tort claims for failure to provide adequate security to take reasonable action in response to an employee's complaint that they fear for their safety."

Employers are also being encouraged by state governments to institute domestic violence training programs, such as New York State's Model Domestic Violence and the Workplace Policy Private Employers which provides private employers a template upon which to base their domestic violence policies and prevention programs. A mandatory domestic violence prevention program was instituted for all New York state agencies in 2008 following an executive order by Governor Eliot Spitzer

What Should Your Domestic Violence Training Include?

There are many different training courses available for employee training in domestic violence prevention. Most focus on two areas: awareness and action.

For example, WeComply, an online compliance training program owned by Thomson Reuters (which also owns FindLaw), offers a 30-minute web-based course based on the New York State program that provides training on:

  • Recognizing domestic violence;
  • Being aware of how domestic violence negatively affects the workplace;
  • Responding to domestic violence; and
  • Avoiding discrimination against victims and witnesses of domestic violence.

Whether you outsource your employee training or formulate your own program with the help of an employment attorney, providing your employees with the tools to recognize and prevent domestic violence can improve your employees' lives and, in turn, your bottom line.

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