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OSHA’s Piece of the Pie


When I teach Workplace Violence: Pay for Prevention or Finance the Results people are amazed at some of the “mind blowing” stories of violence that occurs in organizations.  And it’s not until I point it out as an absolute necessity that they’re remotely thinking of all the state and federal laws they must comply with.  The one that rarely crosses their mind is Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) General Duty clause.

When people think of OSHA they’re thinking trip and fall and occasional electrocution – not violence.
Have you considered OSHA compliance? Do you know what the General Duty clause states and whom it covers?

In short, the OSHA Act of 1970 states that every employer has a “general duty” to provide safe and healthy working conditions. Again, not just from accidents – from violence too. Employers who fail to do so can be cited – and the dollar figures can be significant.

In one case a company was cited with a willful violation and fined $71,000 after an inspection found that the company had failed to develop and implement an effective workplace violence prevention program.

OSHA statistics cite workplace violence costs employers $55 million yearly in lost wages and a whopping $64.4 billion in lost productivity.

An article that supports my opinion is copied in part here:

OSHA is Cracking Down on Workplace Violence. Are You at Risk?
Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not have a specific workplace violence standard, it recently cited two employers for failing to protect their workers from threats and assaults. OSHA reports that delivery drivers, healthcare professionals, public-service workers, customer-service employees, and law-enforcement employees are at higher risk for workplace violence. Risk factors include exchanging money with the public; working with volatile, unstable people; working in isolated conditions or late at night; and working in areas with high crime rates or where alcohol is served. OSHA recommends that organizations protect employees from workplace violence by using administrative controls, such as job site hazard assessments and incident reviews; engineering controls, such as panic alarm systems and protective barriers; personal protective equipment, such as personal alarm systems for staff; and training that includes workplace violence prevention and stress management, as well as post-incident services.

source: Web Link

Workplace violence prevention allows for proactive, responsive, engaging, practical intervention and mitigation of violence. Workplace violence prevention ensures state and federal compliance, and should it be necessary, may act as an ‘insurance policy’ if the employer needs to defend itself in court.

Call me today at (480) 726-9833 or send an email to  to “pick my brain” about situations and concerns you may be dealing with.  Together we can make your workplace, safe, supportive and sought-after. Visit

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It Doesnt DVD front R It Happened DVD front R

“This webinar was very helpful in understanding how employers can make an impact on the awareness of domestic violence and how it affects lost productivity, increased health/mental health costs, and the impact on management in an organization.”

“The webinar was very informative. Unlike most HR webinars that I’ve attended. It’s great to shed some light on this topic as it’s often kept quiet due to its sensitive nature. I feel more comfortable with my plan of action should I need to execute it.”

“Fantastic webinar! I am fortunate to not have had the experiences that were described. I need to be more proactive in seeking way to help others. I did not realize that there is that much domestic violence out there. Thank you for the training.”

They’ve all benefited from our webinars pre-approved for HRCI credit!  We’re pleased to announce two of these webinars have been re-recorded and have new and updated information, discussion and video skill practices.

Are you ready to earn more HRCI credit?

Take a look at these convenient and very affordable on-demand learning opportunities!

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By guest blogger Erika Evans


My experiences volunteering at the shelter have opened my eyes to all aspects of domestic violence. Did you know that domestic violence not only affects emotional health but it greatly impacts physical health as well? It is exhausting on the body to endure trauma and stress and as time carries on may begin to cause illness. It is very important to seek medical care and routine checkups as a means of preventive medicine as well as to deal with any current health issues. Being able to recognize the physical symptoms of domestic violence will give you the ability to take measures to correct these conditions.  Some common symptoms are headache and muscle tension, upset stomach, nausea and vomiting and fatigue or sleeping difficulties. Illness related to domestic violence may be heart disease, high blood pressure, digestive illness and may lower the immune system.   Often victims of abuse don’t realize that these issues are symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  To make managing these health issues even worse is that the cause is often over-looked by health care providers.  More often, they are occupied with managing the symptoms and treatment as opposed to helping the victim pinpoint the original source of the problem; past or current abuse, and helping that person escape from and find the therapy and emotional healing they need.

Intimate partner abuse (meaning the psychological damage without necessarily the physical battery) can also be damaging to your health. One common effect on someone who is in an abusive relationship is change in sex drive. Intimate partner abuse gives the abuser power and control through reproductive coercion which may lead to unwanted pregnancies by the victim. Statistics show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 13 men experience intimate partner abuse at some point in the life and is considered a significant public health issue. Domestic violence is toxic in many ways, including your physical health.

A colleague of Stephanie Angelo’s, Ellen Taliaferro, wrote The Physician’s Guide to Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse: A Reference for All Health Care Professionals, available on Amazon which focuses on her years of medical practice in emergency room medicine where she saw a strong connection with high frequency in medical trauma and domestic abuse.  This book is invaluable for any physician. Has your doctor read this?

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Last week I had the privilege of being a Table Host at the annual Sojourner Center Hope Luncheon, the Center’s biggest fundraiser and awareness event of the year.  Approximately 1,000 people attended the luncheon at the Marriott Desert Ridge Resort in Phoenix.

The Master of Ceremonies was Carl Mangold, LCSW, LISAC  (also my co-founder in TheDVU) and speakers were:  Connie Phillips, MSW, Executive Director of Sojourner Center, Julie Peterson, Jackie Valencia and Lorraine Bergman.

I had invited several people who are near and dear to my heart; friends and collegues whom I thought would enjoy the event and care deeply about the issue of domestic violence in our state.  My guests were:

Karen Bazinet
John Cummerford,
Bobbie Fox
Lucia Howard
Mindy Kavalerchik
Sheila Keitel
Kendall Rhyne
Lawrence Rosenfeld
Rota Venners
Shelley Wells

After the event, a couple guests emailed me with these comments:

“I appreciate the invite, and am very happy to support this incredibly worthwhile organization.  What a great cause and very well done.”

 “I had no idea that many people are being turned away when they need help – sad state of affairs”

According to an email from Sojourner Center the day following the Nov. 8, 2012 Hope Luncheon, the preliminary results are:

  • 438 One time donors:  $92,125
  • 22 pledges:  $5,125
  • 60 Friends of Sojourner (those who pledge to give for multiple years):  $17,960
  • 31 New Sojourner Center Truth Society (pledging $1000+ annually for the next five years) Members: $203,000
  • 6 Sojourner Center Truth Society Members increased pledges: $ 38,750
  • Preliminary for 2012 Hope Luncheon: $358,060

I was pleased to share this exciting information. One of the guests, at my table, emailed me with this question:

“Just wondering – is that more than they need for operating expenses so they can open the other beds?  Was a bit surprised that Sojourner couldn’t raise the operating expenses given the number of people and corporate sponsors. But of course I have no idea what the issue is.”

I forwarded the questions to Sojourner Center, Executive Director, Connie Phillips, who responded:

“It is not what we need to reopen but it keeps us set for this year’s operating expenses. The reality is that we still have a deficit even with the strong response. As Lorraine said, we actually have lost well over $1million since the recession began. We are simply treading water.”

Clearly Sojourner Center is still in need of on-going support.  You can make that happen with your donation, including the Working Poor Tax Credit.  It’s is easy and costs you nothing!

Simply make a donation to Sojourner Center by December 31, 2012, up to $200  per  individual or $400 per couple, and include AZDOR Form 321 when you file your 2012 AZ state income tax.

You can make your tax credit eligible donation securely online at the Sojourner Center website by CLICKING HERE.   

Help make sure that no woman or child who needs a bed at this shelter is ever turned away!


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Dear readers – This blog ran previously and continues to bring positive impact to readers.  That makes me glad.

Stephanie —

This month of awareness has assisted in bringing together those who work to bring an end to Domestic Violence, as well as move forward legislation to assist victims of domestic violence. As we move forward to October and participate in activities that support in bringing awareness and memorial to this ever present issue, we aid those who are suffering everyday to bring them one step closer to safety, and a healthier life for themselves, and their family. What might be things you can do to stop domestic abuse?

In your place of worship

1. Encourage information about domestic abuse in the congregation’s programs, youth groups, marriage preparation, study groups, etc.

2. Establish a committee to promote awareness of the problem and how the congregation can help.

3. Organize a drive to collect food, toiletries, household goods and other needed items for a local domestic violence service.

In your workplace

4. Display posters or brochures (in break rooms, restrooms, or meeting rooms) to promote awareness of domestic abuse and how to get help.

5. Organize a Brown Bag lunch or other event for co-workers and invite a speaker to talk about solutions to the problem.

6. Ask what policies your employer has developed to keep employees safe from a domestic abuser who threatens the workplace.

In schools and daycare

7. Encourage the editor of the school newspaper to have a special issue about teen dating violence and partner abuse.

8. Write a paper about domestic violence to share with your classmates.

9. Educate teachers and other staff about the connection between child abuse and partner abuse.

In civic organizations, clubs or neighborhoods

10. Invite a speaker to educate organization members about domestic violence.

11. Organize a fundraising event or food/toiletries drive to benefit a domestic violence service agency.

12. Publish information about domestic violence and available resources in the newsletter.

13. “Adopt” a family seeking independence from an abuser, to assist with practical needs.

As a Citizen

14. Ask your local library to stock books on domestic violence and to set up displays to educate the public about the issue.

15. Speak out against domestic abuse: Expressing your view that domestic violence is unacceptable has a powerful effect on changing the norms that support abuse.

16. Write letters to newspaper editors or send commentaries to TV and radio to help raise awareness about domestic violence.

17. Vote for public leaders who take a strong stand against domestic abuse.

18. Call 911 if you see or hear a crime of domestic abuse in progress. Write down license plate numbers, locations, and any other information that may be helpful to law enforcement.

19. Volunteer with a domestic violence service. Organizations need help with office activities, fundraising events, technical and professional services and assistance to clients.

20. Donate used clothing and household goods to a program that gives these vital items to families seeking independence from an abuser.

21. Participate in neighborhood crime watch programs.

Source original for this article:

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No One is Immune


Statistics show that:

13% of Americans are likely to have heart disease1

Almost 20% of Americans are likely to have diabetes1

One in eight women or 12.6% will have breast cancer1

One in six men will develop prostate cancer1

As of 2006, the CDC reports that an estimated 36,828people per 100,000 are infected with HIV2

More than 200,000 people — are unaware they’re infected3

If American adults have come to accept these facts, as the vast majority of them have, then why is it still so hard to accept the fact that 85% of women and 15% of men are victims of abuse?  Just like the above health statistics we understand there are a number of unreported cases so the numbers should be higher that what you see presented.The same is true for domestic violence.Lastly, when you think of the above noted health statistics you know that until someone’s illness is really in advanced stages you will probably never know someone is ill just by looking at them.  The same is undeniably true with domestic abuse.

You don’t know when someone is suffering. You have to have reached a point of trust where the victim is comfortable enough, and feeling safe enough to open up to you. You need to be personally at a point where you understand enough about the dynamics of abuse that you can approach someone you suspect is victimized without jeopardizing their trust and personal safety.

I once had the VP of Human Resources of a very large international organization of 58,000 employees worldwide; boast to me “it doesn’t happen in my company, I never hear about it.”  Well, sadly that’s statistically impossible.  Even more sad was the fact that this VP didn’t have his ear to the ground enough to even know what was going one in his organization.

Do any of your employees exhibit any of the following?

  • Become quiet when he/she is around their partner or ex-partner and feel afraid of making him/her angry?
  • Cancel plans at the last minute?
  • Not have access to money?
  • Have their attire dictated to them?
  • Stop seeing friends and family members, becoming more and more isolated?
  • Explaining bruises to family, coworker’s or friends?

These are only a few of the possible signs of abuse. No one is immune from domestic violence and there are many available resources.  Like the VP of Human Resources I mentioned, you don’t have to see it or hear of it for it to be happening and I’m available to help your organization by

Check out other resources too like The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

2Centers for Disease Control

3Kenneth Mayer of Brown University

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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.

Attendees will:

  • 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.

 To download the webinar, or purchase the DVD, go toour Website: to the Resources page.

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In January 2010 in Spencer, MA a man facing a foreclosure auction took his own life after shooting and killing his sick wife and their horse, setting fire to their home, and torching his pickup truck.

Advocates voice concerns that vast numbers of women are remaining in abusive relationships out of fear they could not support themselves and their children in the current economic climate.

Studies also show that social support networks may influence DV perpetration and victimization. Women DV survivors typically turn to family and friends for emotional and tangible support, such as temporary housing. The current economic recession may limit the ability of concerned family members and friends to assist DV survivors, resulting in increased strain on battered women’s and homeless shelters and the potential for more DV survivors and their children to experience homelessness. Economic Stress and Domestic Violence by Claire M. Renzetti with contributions from Vivian M. Larkin (September 2009).

In her article posted November 9, 2010, on the link between domestic violence and economic stress Deborah Debare, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, with whom I had the pleasure of working with when I spoke at their conference in October 2009 said,We know from experience here in Rhode Island that the numbers of victims of domestic violence are reaching record levels in 2010.  And exacerbating the situation is that many of these victims are experiencing multiple challenges in their efforts to get safe, as they have fewer financial resources and more complex social/emotional problems caused in part by the economic stress in their lives.”

An interesting slat to this issue is the confessions of offenders in court mandated domestic violence classes.  I have been attending as an observer for over a year now.  I attend men’s classes and women’s classes.  I’m seeing a lot of varied demographics and family dynamics.

When a person attends their first class they are asked to tell the facilitator (and the group at large) what occurred in the event that led to police arrest and appearance before a judge.  Later in during the weeks they attend classes they may also do a “thought report” where they walk through step by step every nuance of the fight.

What I’ve seen are countless instances where the fight brewed over someone coming home hours late, a teenage girl spilling nail polish on a carpet and ignoring the mess while she goes out with friends; leaving her frustrated parents to clean up, or married men’s girlfriends sending gift to the couple’s children.

In other words, I hear a whole host of stories of hurt, frustration, betrayal and irrational thinking.  But among them, never a story where the fight brewed over finances.

These offenders are all people who were arrested during a fight where someone was hit, kicked, slapped or possessions where broken.  In these instances all the offenders are misdemeanors.

I recently spoke with Amilia Duchon-Voyles, Executive Director of S.W.A.N Domestic Violence Shelter who said, “There are a lot of money issues.  No access to money is a key issue for women. “  Amilia went on to retell stories she hears from women in her shelter; such as fights breaking out over money when the abuser wants it to fulfill his drug addiction, or she’s now taking control over the money because she’s now the wage earner if he lost his job.  In some cases the woman is trying to create boundaries and he’s resisting them.  In other words, Amilia is hearing a lot of the same things at her shelter as I am in the offender groups.

My research of incarcerated offenders, including the experience of working with Tracy Stombres in writing our book Serrated, has shown the same; it’s fights over sometimes the most common and routine issues in a relationship that go completely out of control that result in violence.

My opinion is this:  this stress full economic time is not causing more violence.  But it’s preventing victims from getting out and severely limiting resources.  Anything you can do to help by donating a few dollars or gently used clothes and household goods – or even an hour listening to someone, will mean more to those that need it than you’ll ever know.

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Why I Wrote “Serrated”

Now that the book is out, people are asking me why I wrote Serrated.  It’s a good question, since from most people’s perspective, doing an enormous project like writing a true crime memoir for someone else, is such a diversion from my usual work.  And it years to complete.  The hours spent devoted to the writing, rewriting, research, formatting and making all the business arrangements for publication often took me away from my own consulting and training work.  There’s no doubt that in some ways my business suffered.   I spent countless hours interviewing Tracy Stombres, collecting stories and documents in order to distill it all down to a volume that would capture that reader’s attention and create an emotional response.

I wrote Serrated for two reasons.  There’s no doubt Tracy’s is a story that must be told.  And also because it really does have a connection to the work I do.  The reason Tracy and I met in the first place is because I was doing a project for my work.  I was writing a book for employers and survivors that blended personal stories with national resources.  It was in the process of collecting the survivor perspectives for Battered and Abused – Bringing the Darkness into the Light, that Tracy contacted me.

Tracy worked two jobs during her marriage.  At neither one did she have people she felt she could talk to about what was happening in her life.  No one approached her and expressed concern either.  There weren’t resources offered.  There wasn’t an alternate schedule offered.  There wasn’t someone to encourage Tracy about her self worth or other possibilities and choices about her relationship.

On the fateful day when her husband came to the workplace and argued with Tracy about the assumed affair, no one reached out to her and offered assistance.  Tracy also told me she did not feel comfortable asking for help.  Had the workplace been trained and prepared for domestic violence there’s a good possibility that whole situation could have been mitigated.

There’s a chance that Tracy could have been referred to an Employee Assistance Provider (EAP) or other counseling services that could help her talk about her life, her fears and her options.  It’s possible that Frank might have been referred to the EAP or other resources.  He needed someone to hear him and let him vent.  It could have mitigated his anger and given him choices; like maybe an ongoing offender therapy group.  A life could have been saved and others may not have endured the physical and emotional pain that will last forever.

My life’s work is all about leadership and domestic violence training.  That’s why I pioneered a business case for addressing domestic abuse.  The intent is twofold.  One is to have organizations understand the business – or bottom line costs of domestic abuse and it’s affect on the financial health of the organization. The other reason is for employees, whether victims or offenders of abuse, to be able to reach out to their employers and ask for, and get the help they need; and managers will be “in tune” enough with the dynamics of abuse to detect the cues and offer help appropriately and effectively.  There’s even a clip on You Tube with me talking about that to a group of managers.

It’s always been my dream to create corporate cultures which don’t condone and ignore abuse.  I want organizations to stop thinking they’re immune, just ‘cause they “never hear about it”, as one executive told me.

I had a conversation with Tracy once about a client company that contacted me because they had an employee who was “obviously” a victim due to visible bruising and a significant other that was showing up at the workplace.  The woman refused to talk with the human resources manager so they asked me to step in.  Tracy’s words were “do it”, it could make all the difference in the world.  I did meet with the client’s employee and management.  I’m happy to say it changed everything for them.

Tracy told me she wished she’d had someone to talk to.  It might have made all the difference in the world.  Hear her say it in her own words.

That’s why I wrote Serrated.

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The last couple years were pretty ugly years for corporate training.  It certainly got an ugly bitter name after the AIG incident, and others that followed suit.  After that, companies were really shaky about spending money on corporate training in fear that that their customers would cry foul and point the finger at their bad taste. In many ways there was solid truth to that, right?  I mean after all you have companies cutting back on benefits to consumers, crying poverty, and raising prices while throwing lavish conferences for their employees.

But wait. What if that training was on “people skills”?  What if their employees were learning how to treat one another with dignity and learn anti-bullying techniques?  Imagine if they were learning how to create workplace environments where it’s safe to come forward and disclose being victimized at home?  Suppose it was safe to disclose the realization you are abusing your family? What if you’re in management and now you’re fully prepared to handle those disclosures appropriately and effectively? What if you’ve mitigated a potentially violent act?

This is only a small sampling of some indicators your employee may be a victim of abuse:

  • Changes in the employee’s work performance
  • Increased absenteeism/arriving to work late
  • Being less social
  • Asking their significant other/spouse for permission
  • No access to money (even those who are employed experience this)
  • Phone calls, emails, texts, faxes etc. that seem distressing
  • Receiving flowers and gifts at random times
  • Significant other/spouse often showing up at the workplace or other locations

It’s O.K. to get help from outside resources.  In fact, with an issue of this dynamic, it’s recommended.  There is no substitute for the value and benefit you receive from a subject matter expert.

Your leadership domestic violence trainer should be sensitive to the fact that there may be individuals in the audience who have lived with, or are currently living with abuse in one form or another.

There may also be gender issues, life-style choice and other diversity differences that deserve respect.

Training can be live and in-person, via webinar or tele-seminar, both live and recorded formats.

What do you think your customers will think of you now? Money well spent, huh?  That sounds a whole lot sweeter to me.

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