Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

Information for Professionals


Q&A about Domestic Violence and the Workplace

"How does domestic violence affect business?"
Domestic violence costs businesses a lot of money in increased health care costs, lost productivity, increased absenteeism, and increased employee turnover. The Bureau of National Affairs estimates these losses at $3 billion to $5 billion annually. In addition, there is a risk of violence at the workplace, to the victim and co-workers. The abuser's stalking, threats, harassment, intimidation and physical violence can follow a victim to work.
"What can a small business do to address this problem?"

Nearly 90% of the businesses in New York State have ten or fewer employees (NYS Department of Labor). The model policy in this handbook was developed for all businesses. Mindful of the fact that small businesses may have fewer resources available than larger companies, there are still many things you can do.

"Why should I have a policy?"
It is becoming accepted that employers have obligations to provide a safe and helpful work environment that responds to their employees' needs. By implementing a policy, employers may limit potential legal liability issues and maintain productive employees.
"What is a model policy?"
A model policy provides guidance, direction and recommended standards that can help you develop general policy statements and specific requirements.
The bottom line
Domestic violence is a societal problem with serious consequences. It's important for everyone to do what he or she can to help put an end to domestic violence. It makes sense to address the issue of domestic violence and to figure out how you can minimize the risks while maximizing the benefits for your business. Whenever an employee is unproductive or absent, you lose money. When there is employee turnover and you need to hire and train a new employee, there are costs. There might be physical risks to your employees and customers.