Washington State University will not tolerate domestic violence in the workplace, including offices, facilities, work sites or any other locations where university business is conducted. The University is committed to establishing and maintaining a safe work environment. Therefore all employees of WSU have the responsibility to immediately report threats, acts of aggression, or acts of violence at the University to their supervisor, University Police Department and/or local law enforcement agencies, or Human Resource Services.
Definition of Domestic of Violence
Domestic violence is abusive behavior that is either physical, sexual, and/or psychological, intended to establish and maintain control over a partner or family or household member. Chapter 26.50.010 RCW
(1) “Domestic violence” means: (a) Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, between family or household members; (b) sexual assault of one family or household member by another; or (c) stalking as defined in RCW 9A.46.110 of one family or household member by another family or household member.
(2) “Family or household members” means spouses, former spouses, persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time, adult persons related by blood or marriage, adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past, persons sixteen years of age or older who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past and who have or have had a dating relationship, persons sixteen years of age or older with whom a person sixteen years of age or older has or has had a dating relationship, and persons who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren.
Victims of Domestic Violence
Employees will not be penalized or disciplined solely because they are victims of domestic violence. WSU will make reasonable efforts to provide support and assistance for employees who are affected by domestic violence. These efforts may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Referrals to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
- Information about community resources available to assist victims of domestic violence
- Work schedule adjustments or leave, as needed to obtain medical, mental, health, legal assistance and/or confidential secure shelter.
- Development of a workplace safety plan that seeks to minimize risk to the victim.
Perpetrators of Domestic Violence
Employees who participate in domestic violence activities from the workplace, using University resources or other means, or violate the Workplace Violence Policy 50.30, may be subject to corrective or disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Corrective or disciplinary action may also be taken against employees who are convicted or issued an injunction as a result of domestic violence when such action has a direct connection to their duties at the University. Criminal prosecution may result if federal, state or local laws are violated.
WSU encourages employees who are perpetrators of domestic violence to seek assistance. The University will provide the following:
- Referrals to Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
- Information about certified domestic violence perpetrator treatment programs through EAP
- Work schedule arrangements to permit receipt of such assistance
Domestic Violence Prevention
WSU seeks to enhance workplace safety by educating employees about domestic violence and its possible risks. Information about domestic violence and available resources will be posted in work areas where employees can access the information anonymously.
The following behavior patterns, whether exhibited subtly or overtly can serve as warning signs of potential domestic violence. These indicators should be examined as a whole and provide a frame-work to assess the extent to which a problem may exist.
Victims of domestic violence may exhibit the following behavior patterns:
- Repeated unexplainable injuries
- Inappropriate clothes for the season and unusually heavy makeup
- Signs of being frightened and anxious
- Changes in job performance
- Changes in personality
- Unusual number of telephone calls from family members
- Sensitivity about home life or hints about turbulent home life
Perpetrators of domestic violence may exhibit the following behavior patterns:
- Theft or damage of company property
- Frequent accidents at work
- Substance abuse problems
- Frequent angry outbursts or “temper tantrums”
- Belligerence with supervisors and co-employees
- Threatening or intimidating behavior
Employees who know or believe that a co-worker is a victim of domestic violence should communicate their concern for the co-worker’s safety. Employees should refrain from diagnosing or counseling a co-worker. Rather they should encourage the co-worker to seek out resources that are available to the WSU community.
When a Co-Worker May be a Victim
- Encourage the individual to contact a community or state agency for information, guidance and support (see Resource list).
- Encourage the individual to talk with their supervisor, EAP or HRS regarding workplace related concerns about domestic violence
- Report any threats of violence that you experience or witness at the workplace to your supervisor, University Police Department and/or local law enforcement agencies, or Human Resource Services.
Guidelines for Managers and Supervisors
Supervisors and managers need to be aware of physical or behavioral changes which may indicate that an employee is experiencing domestic violence.
These indicators may include, but are not limited to chronic absenteeism, repeated physical injuries, inappropriate/excessive clothing, isolation and emotional distress.
If the supervisor/manager suspects that an employee is a victim of domestic violence, but the employee has not disclosed this information, the supervisor/manager should only address job performance issues and inform the employee of EAP resources. Consult with Human Resource Services for further guidance in addressing performance problems that may be related to domestic violence.
When an Employee May Be a Victim
- Maintain the confidentiality of information that a victim of domestic violence may share. Information should only be given to others on a need-to-know basis.
- Contact your area’s Human Resource Consultant who can bring the necessary resources together to help evaluate risk and formulate an appropriate response or action plan.
- Respect the victim’s assessment of risk to self or others in evaluating the need for a workplace safety plan.
- Be as flexible as possible in accommodating a victim’s need for leave or work schedule adjustments.
- If the victim needs to relocate, discuss the situation with your unit’s Human Resource Consultant to determine what additional assistance may be available
When an Employee May Be a Perpetrator
- If an employee who may be a perpetrator asks for help, refer the employee to WSU’s Employee Assistance Program.
- EAP counselors can make referrals to a certified domestic violence perpetrator treatment program.
- Discuss any actual, reported or suspected improper conduct with your area’s Human Resource Consultant to determine the course of action that is most appropriate.
- Document and maintain records of any times the employee may have used University resources such as work time, electronic communication technologies, mail etc. to engage in harassing, threatening or abusive behavior.
Workplace Safety Plan
Employees who are in a harassing or abusive relationship should work with their supervisor and Human Resource Services to develop a personalized Workplace Safety Plan. The intent of the plan is to minimize the risk of harm to the individual employee, as well as to co-workers and other members of the University community. Victims of domestic violence should consider the following when developing a Workplace Safety plan:
- Obtain a cellular phone and keep it with you at all times.
- Obtain civil orders for protection and ensure that orders remain current and in your personal possession at all times. A copy of the order should be provided to the employee’s supervisor, reception area, the child care provider, if applicable, and the University and/ or local police if there is a concern about the harassing and/or abusive partner coming to the work site.
- Provide a picture of the perpetrator to your supervisor, reception areas, University and/or local police, and, if appropriate, your child care provider. This aids in identifying the abuser should he/she appear in the workplace.
- Request a change of schedule or location.
- Review the safety of your parking arrangements and make changes if necessary.
- Identify an emergency contact person in the event that your employer is unable to contact you.
- Identify the steps that need to be taken to provide for the safety of other employees and members of the University community.
This guide has been developed in accordance with the State of Washington Executive Order 96-05.