Domestic abusers make bad employees: study

Abusers bring weapons to work, make dangerous mistakes and exploit phone and e-mail systems to harass victims

Domestic abusers aren’t only a problem in the home — they’re often bad employees, according to a new study.

Employers Against Domestic Violence (EADV), a Massachusetts-based advocacy group, looked at 29 men convicted of domestic violence. According to EADV, abusers bring weapons to work, make dangerous mistakes on the job because they are distracted by their situations and exploit company phones and e-mail to keep track of victims.

The study also came up with recommendations on how to deal with staff with a domestic abuse problem. Firing those convicted of domestic violence isn’t recommended, the study said, because abusers might blame their victims for their job loss. The study found that disciplinary action, in combination with counselling, is a better response than immediately firing abusers.

An earlier study conducted by the U.S. Bureau of National Affairs found that lost work time, increased health costs, higher turnover and lower productivity of victims of domestic violence cost U.S. companies between US$3 billion and US$5 billion a year.

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino praised EADV for raising awareness and urged employers to be vigilant in indentifying and taking action against abusers.

“It used to be that people were afraid to get involved,” Menion told the Boston Globe. “Well, those days must end.”

In 1997, Menino imposed an executive order stating that all city employees arrested for domestic violence must undergo counselling or face unpaid administrative leave.

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