Archive for August 2011
How is Domestic Abuse a Contributor to Stress?
It’s tremendously important that people are asking questions about domestic violence and participating in discussions. We have to do that. It helps erase the taboo – which a huge step in eradicating this major social issue.
One of my blog readers sent an email asking, “How is domestic abuse identified as the contributor to stress in the workplace, when there are no physical signs of abuse?”
This is a great question and in large part the very reason why businesses fail to do anything preventive. They still fail to see the relevance until an employee’s abuse is escalated to the stage of being obvious to everyone and then they realize that they employee, and the rest of the organization may be in serious danger.
Yet all along, the employee has been suffering and the company has been paying for it. While there are many, many health issues that a victim of abuse may experience, stress and depression are practically a given.
Statistics show that if employee problems are left unaddressed, they can directly impact on the organization’s bottom line.
A study published in 1998, and sponsored by the Health Enhancement Research Organization, surveyed over 46,000 workers at several U.S. companies and reported:
- 18.5% of the employees were screened as highly stressed and their medical claims averaged 46% higher than those without high stress.
- 2.2% of the employees were screened as depressed, and their medical claims averaged 70.2% higher than those without depression.
- Combined over 20% of the employees were either highly stressed or depressed; and averaged approximately 49% higher health care costs.
The estimated economic burden of depression in 2000 was $43.7 billion – $31.3 billion for indirect costs such as decreased productivity and lost work days, and $12.4 billion in direct costs such as medication and physician time.
To further address the question; when an employee is being victimized and abused whether emotionally, physically, or both, the stress and depression they endure is also going to impact the co-workers around them. Haven’t you ever had to fill in for someone who was absent? Covered a job or completed a project for someone who was at work but so distracted and consumed by other problems they couldn’t get their work done? Did you and co-workers talk about this person during breaks, at your desk, in the hallways – even the restroom? Those are also ways their situation contributes to stress in the workplace. Theirs and yours.
It Happened at Home – It Cost Us at Work is a training program I designed especially for managers to address the issues discussed in this blog post, and much more. It includes skill practices and a deep understanding of abuse dynamics. There’s a manager’s guide available on the Human Resource Essential website that has helped many a manager and employee address hidden issues.
It’d be a whole lot nicer for everyone if no one had to suffer the effects of domestic violence in the workplace. We’d all lead safer, happier and less stressful lives.
Domestic Violence in the Workplace trainings are available in on-site and live or static web-based workshops.
It took the suffering of so many victims of domestic violence before some of our laws changed. Read this excerpt from Serrated – A True Story of Survival, Recovery and the Pursuit of Justice.
“I kept calling my landlord to tell him I wanted to move out of my townhouse. He was completely unsympathetic to what had happened and wouldn’t let me out of my lease or I’d owe him four months’ rent. Total jerk. At $950 a month times four it would be $3,800 and I would lose my $1,200 deposit. He was going to make me stay there or my credit would be screwed for a long time. He expected me to replace the carpet that had been soaked with blood and cut to pieces by the police.
The next day I told my counselor, and my kids’ counselors what had happened. They said we needed to move out. We couldn’t heal in that house of memories. I told them my landlord wouldn’t let me out of the lease. The counselor called the landlord and laid it on the line. I talked to him again too. The creep wouldn’t budge. He belligerently said I could not move out or I would lose my $1,200 deposit. I moved anyway and lost the money.”
Since the time of Tracy’s attack in 2001, a law has been written into Arizona Revised Statutes – “Title 33 Property – Section 33-1318: Early termination by tenant for domestic violence; conditions; lock replacement; access refusal; treble damages; immunity” which protects victims from being re-victimized by thoughtless and selfish landlords whose only motivation is money. Now they’re motivated by law.
We’ve come a long way –there’s just so much further to go. What laws would you like to see changed that would help a victim? Do you vote, write Legislators, or otherwise get involved and speak out? One of the best vehicles for keeping up with what’s going on and getting involved in reaction is being a member of the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Every voice helps.
If you’re a Human Resource Executive, or C-level manager, finding the time to learn exactly how this is relevant for you is typically low on the totem pole. There are simply too many other fires to put out each day. Sadly, most executives refuse to face the potential harm of domestic violence until it too becomes a “fire” in the workplace.
Human Resource Essential intends to make addressing domestic abuse easier to tackle by producing webinar and webinar based DVD from their highly popular executive overview program “It Doesn’t Make Sense and Its Costing Us Millions”.
As an added benefit, this program has been approved for 1.5 (Specified -Strategic) recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute. So while a Human Resource professional can view the webinar of the DVD at their 24/7 convenience, they will also obtain those ever desirable HRCI credits.
- learn how the organization is affected
- evaluate violence prevention policies
- review mandated laws
- strengthen legal defense
- learn to increase loss prevention
- identify the real ROI of responding to domestic violence
- explore HR best practices for addressing intimate partner violence
“I found the webinar to be interesting, thought provoking and content driven, which is unusual because usually they’re boring. I was glued to the computer and it went so fast”, says Jeanette Abdoo, HR Director for a residential home builder.