Domestic violence permeates the lives and compromises the safety of thousands of employees each day, with tragic, destructive, and often fatal results. Domestic violence occurs within a wide spectrum of relationships, including married and formerly married couples, couples with children in common, couples who live together or have lived together, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender couples, and couples who are dating or who have dated in the past.
Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of coercive tactics which can include physical, psychological, sexual, economic and emotional abuse perpetrated by one person against an adult intimate partner, with the goal of establishing and maintaining power and control over the victim. In addition to exacting a tremendous toll from the individuals it directly affects, domestic violence often spills over into the workplace, compromising the safety of both victims and co-workers and resulting in lost productivity, increased health care costs, increased absenteeism, and increased employee turnover.
Rockland Community College (the College), to the fullest extent possible consistent with any existing rules, regulations, statutory requirements, contractual obligations or collective bargaining agreements, will take all appropriate actions to promote safety in the workplace and respond effectively to the needs of victims of domestic violence.
Full text of the College’s Domestic Violence and the Workplace Policy.
The Domestic Violence and the Workplace Policy applies to:
- College employees,
- Independent contractors,
- Other visitors who have been retained by the College with respect to the business or operation of the College,
- Students who are employed by the College and acting in the capacity of their employment. Act of violence alleged to have been committed by students are addressed in the Student Code of Conduct.
Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence in the Workplace
Orders of Protection: The College will comply and assist with enforcement of all court orders of protection, particularly orders in which abusers have been ordered to stay away from the work site. If requested by the victim of domestic violence or law enforcement, the College will provide information in its possession concerning an alleged violation of an order of protection.
Workplace Safety Plans: Human Resources and Public Safety will make efforts to consult with victimized employees to develop and implement individualized workplace safety plans.
Confidentiality: The College will make every effort to keep the confidentiality of any person(s) reporting domestic violence. However, the College cannot guarantee unqualified confidentiality as we must also balance the safety of other members in our community. If the College determines that there is the threat of imminent harm to an individual or to the community, information may need to be shared and then only with appropriate individuals. Where possible, the College will provide to the victim of domestic violence notice of the intent to provide information to other employees and/or safety personnel.
Court Appearances: The law requires employers, with prior day notifications, to allow time off for victims or subpoenaed witnesses to exercise his/her rights as provided in the Criminal Procedure Law, the Family Court Act, and the Executive Law [Penal Law §215.14]. Questions regarding leave time under this policy should be directed to the Director of Human Resources.
Employee Benefits: Employees who are victims of domestic violence and who separate from a spouse (or terminate a relationship with a domestic partner, if covered), will be allowed to make reasonable changes in benefits at any time during the calendar year where possible, in accordance with statute, regulation, contract and policy.
New York State law prohibits insurance companies and health maintenance organizations from discriminating against domestic violence victims. The law prohibits designation of domestic violence as a pre-existing condition. An insurance company cannot deny or cancel an insurance policy or require a higher premium or payment because the insured is or has been a domestic violence victim. [§2612 of the Insurance Law.]
Employment Decisions: An employer is prohibited from inquiring about a job applicant’s current or past domestic violence victimization, and employment decisions cannot be based on any assumptions about or knowledge of such exposure.
New York State law provides that a victim of domestic violence who voluntarily separates from employment may, under certain circumstances, be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. [§593 of NYS Labor Law.] The employer must make good faith efforts to provide timely response or information to aide in this process. See https://www.labor.ny.gov/ui/claimantinfo/domesticviolenceanduibenefits.shtm.
Federal Reporting Obligations: The Director of Public Safety, consistent with applicable law and College policy, will provide information about the number and general nature of domestic violence incidents that happen in the workplace, with no personally identifying information, to the US Department of Education as part of the Annual Security Report.
Resources for Domestic Violence Victims
Signs You may be in a Relationship with an Abusive Partner
Examples of Abusive Behavior – The Power and Control Perspective Wheel
Recognizing and Responding to Domestic Violence in the Workplace