Domestic violence and the workplace

By Steven Easton
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/04/2003

Her head bowed in shame, she reaches for her third piece of tissue paper. Her sobs have subsided, only embarrassed silence remains. Her hair — stuck in places on her face where the tears have smeared the makeup on her cheeks — hides her eyes and her humiliation.

Tina, one of your company’s trusted and valued employees walked into your office less than an hour ago. Tentatively, she scanned your face for the signals that would indicate she could open the Pandora’s box that had dominated her life for the last 10 months. You smiled and offered her a seat and a cup of coffee. She took the seat, declined the coffee and stiffly, like a compressed spring, recounted her story.

Characteristically, Tina is an excellent performer. Her supervisors have all given her tremendous praise for the quality of her work and her efficiency. Six months ago, she was slated for a promotion that would have promised her profit sharing, performance bonuses and advanced training in her field. Then suddenly, her performance began to slip. Her projects were completed late and often poorly executed. She became sullen and moody with co-workers.