Women from all backgrounds are attacked each year at work. Among women, murder is the leading cause of death from a workplace injury. Sometimes women are attacked during a robbery. Usually, though, women are hurt by someone they know, like a co-worker, customer, client, or patient. And sometimes attacks are the result of domestic violence that spills over into the workplace.
Here are steps you can take if you are concerned about violence at work:
- Learn how to stay safe. Ask your supervisor about any safety policies and trainings. Make sure you know how to get help in a violent situation. Find out what security services are available, such as a security escort to your car.
- Talk to your supervisor about adding safety tools. These can include panic alarms, closed circuit TV cameras, better lighting, and signs saying that only small amounts of cash are available.
- Report any incidents that worry or upset you. Tell your supervisor about physical or verbal abuse. Also report worrisome behaviors of co-workers, clients, or customers. This can include sexual comments or advances that make you feel uncomfortable. Provide a written report, and keep a copy. You can ask that the report be kept confidential.
- If you are experiencing domestic violence, tell your employer. If you have a court order of protection, share it with your employer, along with a photo of your abuser. If you don’t have a court order, your employer may be able to help you get one. Your employer may be able to help in others ways, too. For example, if your workplace has an employee assistance program (EAP), staff there can provide support and resources.
Remember that you deserve to feel safe at work and your employer has a responsibility to help keep you safe.
Other publications and websites
- Employment Discrimination Against Abused Women (Copyright © Legal Momentum) – This fact sheet discusses laws concerning sex discrimination and wrongful firing as they apply to women who have experienced violence.
- Facts About Sexual Harassment – This fact sheet explains the laws about sexual harassment, including what is harassment.
- Occupational Violence – This website talks about violence experienced at the workplace, risk factors, and initiatives to prevent violence.
- Safety and Health Topics: Workplace Violence – Although there are no specific national standards for workplace violence, this website gives links to state information and national research on violence in the workplace.
- State Law Guides (Copyright © Legal Momentum) – These guides have information about state laws that can help survivors of domestic or sexual violence deal with money issues.
Connect with other organizations
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice
- Office on Violence Against Women, DOJ
- U.S. Department of Labor
- Workplaces Respond to Domestic and Sexual Violence: A National Resource Center
- Women’s Health, (2015), “Violence Against Women At Work.” Retrieved from https://www.womenshealth.gov/violence-against-women/types-of-violence/violence-against-women-at-work.html
- Office on Women’s Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services