Human Resource Essential Blog
Making Workplaces that are Safe, Supportive and Sought-After

TAG | domestic violence prevention

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: Safety.BLR.com 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 Stephanie@hressential.com  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 www.hressential.com

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Kaia

Kaia 10/1/05 – 12/3/14

I had to put Kaia down Wednesday night.  She was a very much loved constant companion and office mate. It’s been very hard. She had very, very aggressive and wrenching cancer.  Sunday to Wednesday.  That’s how fast.

Since spending the early part of the week trying to get her to eat, cleaning the flow of uncontrollable urine that pooled everywhere around her, and crying for her to get better – and then crying as I held her head during her last minute of life – I have been distracted and heartbroken.

Similarly, the thought of what might happen to a beloved pet is what commonly keeps victims of domestic violence from leaving home.  Employers are typically the last to consider this among the many reasons an employee is distracted and unproductive at work.

Unless you’ve built a culture of understanding and acceptance at your organization, your employees will not offer this information.  It’s a fallacy to think they will.

Imagine every employee in your organization showing up every day, actively engaged, because they know the organization is fully supportive of them and will assist without judgment in any way needed.

Typically, before training, managers are afraid they will overstep boundaries or put themselves in a position of being a therapist.  My training and consulting with your organization dispels all those fears and concerns.

Interested? Contact me today and lets set up conversation with your team.  We can begin a new era for your organization for 2015.

I’m always happy to talk with you about improving your workplace violence initiative.  Just give me a call at (480) 726-9833 or send an email to Stephanie@hressential.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

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same sex violence

It hurts to write this but there have been a couple good friends who “fell off the face of the earth” and dropped me as a friend.  Or so I thought…  People who for reasons I could never learn completely stopped being my friend.  No communication.  And not just with me – with everyone in our social circle.

All attempts to reach out have been ignored.  In one case the Social Network profiles have been stagnant for years.  Emails go unanswered, phone messages ignored.

In my line of work I can’t help but worry: is my friend being forced to cut off relationships with the outside world?  Is there someone in their life who is masterminding their isolation?

What is isolation?  Isolation is a powerful maneuver used by controlling partners.  Bit by bit they manipulate their victim by accusing her friends and family of having it “in for him”, and to make threats that if she talks to them and tells them their problems that he’ll make her “pay for it” or he’ll commit suicide, or any number of things.

A woman I know, whom I’ll call Leslie, moved from Europe to the United States with her husband.  He abused her mightily.  He refused to “allow” her to have a job, which made her completely dependent on him and prevented her from making any outside friendships.  And before long she was only permitted to speak to her mother once a month.  She had no one.  She was alone physically and mentally.  The emotional scars are still very present.  It takes one conversation with Leslie to realize it.

Getting back to my two friends, both of them are employed (last I heard); neither are in my home state of Arizona. So I ask myself if their co-workers see any changes, such as:

  • He demands loyalty to him
  • Prevents her from socializing with her friends
  • He makes her feel badly for maintaining or making friends of her own choosing
  • Tells her she is not allowed to see certain people
  • Rejects invitations to socialize with her friends and family
  • If they are at a social gathering, he sticks to her like glue or watches her constantly from a distance in case she interacts with other people.
  • He limits her visits with friends and family
  • Tells her that her friends or family don’t care about her
  • He sabotages her outside relationships by provoking jealousies and rivalries
  • He’s rude, critical or dismissive of her friends and family
  • Friends and family decide to stay away because of his abusiveness
  • He requires their relationship issues be kept secret
  • Forces her to quit her job
  • She chooses to isolate herself out of embarrassment
  • She isolates herself because she fears the consequences

 If you are a family member, friend or co-worker of someone in this situation it can be a frustrating and powerless feeling.  You want to access the victim, and you feel you can’t – sometimes out of fear for their safety.

A form of victim blaming is to assume they have a choice. Don’t turn your back and threaten to end your relationship if they don’t leave the abuser.  Doing so, is exactly what the abuser wants.  It removes one more person from her sphere of contacts and better isolates her – keeping her dependent on him. You’ve fallen into his trap.

Don’t hesitate to confidentially and privately let her know you care.  You can tell her you’ve seen what’s happening and that you are concerned for her. Let her know you will be there when she is ready.

Simple steps to helping an isolated individual can be learned. Two of my most-requested programs; It Happened at Home- It Cost Us at Work, and Battered and Abused-Bringing the Darkness into the Light both include active discussion and even skill practices to help you with options for helping.

Just give me a call today, at (480) 726-9833 and let’s go over your questions.  You can also email Stephanie@hressential.com    Together we can make Workplaces that are Safe, Supportive and Sought-After.

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communication

I have the pleasure of going back to my early roots in human resources training for two new clients to do workshops on communication in the workplace.  I love my work in workplace violence and domestic violence, yet having this change-of-pace is fun and refreshing.  Everyone likes to switch up their work every now and then!

There’s a segment in the training where we have a robust conversation about barriers to communication.  We separate barriers by category and pick them apart for deeper discussion.

One of the segments is Personal Pressures.  And guess what? Now we have an overlap again.  An element, and an important one, in being able to communicate with someone – and their ability to receive your message, is if they’re dealing with violence and abuse at home.  If they are, their ability to be receptive is greatly reduced.

The “noise” in the head of a victim of abuse is like having a conversation with someone while standing under a hovering helicopter.  The din is impossible.  It’s not that the recipient doesn’t want to hear your message.  They just can’t.  Priorities – like staying alive, take precedence.

Training is a crucial way to cut through the “noise”.  It has to be the right training.  How do you get your message across so that the person hears you, trusts you, and knows that you can relate, if not on a personal level – at least on an empathetic level.  Until you can do that correctly and effectively you are only going to add to the mental clutter.  You may even add to fear and humiliation and find that your employee distances her, or himself, from you and others in your organization.

This is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  What have you done in your workplace to recognize and prevent abuse?

At Human Resource Essential, my partners and I are honored that our work increases emotional intelligence of management, HR and supervisors in effective tools for recognizing and assisting employees who may be victims, or offenders, of abuse.  Knocking down one barrier at a time.

Would you like to know more about this? I’m always happy to talk with you about improving communication at your workplace.  Just give me a call at (480) 726-9833 or send an email to Stephanie@hressential.com. I’d love to hear from you.

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safe at work         It’s not unusual for someone to ask me what a Workplace Violence Consultant cares about the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA), until they experience one of my trainings.  We talk of State and Federal compliance with our attendees, and a segment of that conversation is about OSHA.

Every employer (there are a few exceptions) who has one or more employees is required, under the OSHA General Duty Guidelines to provide safe and healthful working conditions.  Employers may be cited for non-compliance, often discovered via inspections, and for situations in which an employee is injured or killed.  Ah ha!  Now we see the connection. There’s the relationship to workplace violence and domestic violence spillover at the workplace.

When an act of violence occurs, more often than not, there are reportable injuries.  On Sept. 11th of this year OSHA announced new reporting guidelines which will take effect on January 1, 2015.  Those guidelines include the requirement to report loss of an eye, amputations, and hospitalization of one or more employees within 24 hours.

You’ll find articles about the Guidelines and updates on OSHA “Latest News” and more information by following this link:   https://www.osha.gov/

If you have any questions about this or to talk to an expert about improving your workplace violence initiative, just give me a call at (480) 726-9833 or send an email to Stephanie@hressential.com. Visit us at www.hressential.com

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network_fritsal

 

I recently read a nice article about five suggestions to make a psychologically healthy workplace, and I really enjoyed the recommendations and the light way in which the article was written.

You know me though; my eyes automatically will scan for anything regarding health and safety.  In this article the author refers to the APA Center for Organizational Excellence (via a link), and the link then opens to a page which lists the following concerns:

Efforts to address health and safety issues in the workplace include:

  • Training and safeguards that address workplace safety and security issues
  • Efforts to help employees develop a healthy lifestyle, such as stress management, weight loss and smoking cessation programs
  • Adequate health insurance, including mental health coverage
  • Health screenings
  • Access to health/fitness/recreation facilities
  • Resources to help employees address life problems, for example, grief counseling, alcohol abuse programs, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and referrals for mental health services

 

I’d like to take this a step further and add various forms of violence which deeply affect the workplace.

Workplace Violence, Domestic Violence and Bullying result in increased absenteeism, health care and mental health care costs, lower productivity due to morale issues and time requirements for investigations, all while increasing turnover, paid time off, out of court settlements and jury awards to plaintiffs.

Workplace Violence, Domestic Violence and Bullying can result in media frenzies, diminished corporate image, damaged personal lives and tarnished careers. No company is immune from the possibility – every company should become aware, proactive and preventive.

As a Workplace Violence Consultant it is my job to address violence, in all its forms, and to mitigate the potential of it occurring in your workplace.

Talk to an expert about improving your workplace violence initiative.  Just give me a call at (480) 726-9833 or send an email to Stephanie@hressential.com. Visit us at www.hressential.com

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gun - back atcha

There’s been a lot of talk about guns in schools, teachers “packing” so they can “protect students” and so on.  It’s something that has never made me feel more comfortable.  I think there is more room for error than anything else.  A college student once told me that she was more worried about the “crazy teachers going off” than anything else.

And here we have an example of the whacky things that can happen:

Professor drops gun, shoots self in foot

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/weird/2014/09/04/professor-shoots-foot/15076277/

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Jul/14

21

A Painful Article to Read

What a painful article to read. This is exactly why I urge employers of all types and sizes of businesses to take advantage of Domestic Abuse training.  If this guy had been required to sit in a class he would have learned about his own behaviors – even if by osmosis.  Maybe a spark of recognition would be lit.

That education by osmosis may well have led him to being directed to counseling and resources.  Maybe by self-referral, maybe by employer suggestion.  Behaviors and relationships might have changed.  A woman’s life might have been saved.  Another inmate in our correctional system might have been avoided.  Why are we still avoiding this issue?  Why are we so reluctant to address prevention?  Aren’t you ready to lift the veil of taboo and secrecy?  Aren’t you ready to stop this madness?

Article 7-19-14.pdf

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Mar/14

20

A Lesson for the Ages

tcp_0237 for blogThose of you who know me well are aware that a couple years ago my family experienced a really dark period of about eight months.  We had an addition to our family; an exchange student who blended with us like she was mysteriously from the same gene pool.  She even looked enough like me that people thought she was my daughter – and that my daughter was a friend.  She and my daughter were inseparable and closer than most sisters.  In fact, our exchange student would often say she was closer to my daughter than to her own sister.  My husband and I were her parents; shopping for clothes, checking report cards, meeting with teachers, going through boyfriend drama – you name it.

What had started as a really joyful few months came to an abrupt halt when the sponsoring organization (you’ll note I’m leaving names out) randomly, and almost by accident, announced they were moving her to another home more than a month before the previously agreed date.

The girls were devastated.  My husband and were I shell-shocked and mystified.  For the next month the four of us counted minutes with foggy brains like we’d taken sleeping pills while trying to stay awake.

The bottom fell out of our lives.  All of us.  My daughter took it the worst.  Her grades went down, her weight went up.

Left to her own devises at her new home, our former exchange student was swooped up by a group of girls that made it their unmitigated mission to ostracize my daughter and sever the two girls’ relationship.  Jealousy and competitiveness turned this group of girls into the embodiment of everything you think of when you think “mean girls”.  Why not, when popularity is the prize?

My daughter did a masterful job of persevering through that dark period. I didn’t want to be an alarmist, but I also was painfully aware that suicide in girls was rising.  It wasn’t easy, but we got through the phase.

Now her social life, her grades and her health are all doing really well.  I think a lot of that came from frequent conversations and encouragement – and letting her know that the pain she felt was temporary.  In a couple years no one would remember.  Or they’d chalk it up to “those crazy teen years”.

I can’t tell you how sad this made me a few weeks ago. http://tiny.cc/ovyicx. I agree so much with Ms. Hull; why are kids so unprepared to deal sadness that is a part of life?

So, if you’re like most parents and looking for resources – here are a few.

How to Help Teens Deal with Rejection

http://www.familycircle.com/teen/parenting/sex-talk/help-teens-deal-with-rejection/

http://www.aimhigh101tips.com/index.html

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_teen.htm

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tcp_0237 for blog

People who’ve had conversations with me often hear me say, “I live, sleep, eat, breathe domestic violence”.  Meaning it’s what I do.

Ha!  Thought you caught me- silly people!  It’s not what I do.  I don’t perpetrated  it!  It’s what I do, what I am, and what I have a passion for as a Consultant Subject Matter Expert – SME.

Even in company Train the Trainer situations the trained individual will lack the in-depth, expertise, knowledge and experience of the SME.  Worse yet, they may have personal biases to the issue.  They may not be able to answer challenging questions or handle uncomfortable situations.  Their facts and statistics may be out of date; all of which may be reflected in the training itself, the outcome for attendees and long term results for the company.

To bring, or keep, an in-house trainer up-to-speed will cost time and money that detracts from their regular duties. All of that is moot when you bring in an SME whose career is based on:

  • being a problem solver to make an immediate impact with minimal ramp-up time,
  • lowers the client’s risk by conveying correct information,
  • is a valuable information resource and provides a wealth of knowledge and support to clients,
  • may serve as liaison to the functional area from which they obtained their expertise or adjacent resources and industries (i.e. Human Resource Essential’s long-term relationships with EAPs, attorneys and shelters),
  • an SME will have strong expertise in one or more areas directly related to their subject,
  • SMEs are often the “go to” people for assistance and up-to-date information on policies, processes, and critical incidents – for example, our clients are comfortable, and even prefer, their employees contact us directly for information and a place to voice personal issues.

Do you expect your in-house trainer to live, sleep, eat, and breathe domestic violence?

SMEs have a passion for their work.  When it comes to something as emotionally demanding as domestic violence – how the material is conveyed will make a significant difference in the outcome.

I’m always happy to talk with you about improving your domestic violence initiative.  Just give me a call at (480) 726-9833 or send an email to Stephanie@hressential.com. I’d love to hear from you.

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