Domestic violence afflicts millions of working men and women. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men will experience domestic violence in their respective lifetimes. SHRM reports that, in the United States, victims of domestic violence lose nearly eight million days of paid work per year, resulting in a $1.8 billion loss in productivity. Given these statistics, every company is likely to employ workers who experience domestic violence.

Michelle Johnson, Partner, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, Atlanta (Courtesy photo)

Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of abusive behavior or coercive control in any relationship that is used by one person to gain or maintain power and control over another. Domestic violence may be physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, or economic in nature, and often occurs in private. Victims may feel compelled by fear or shame to keep the abuse a secret. Thus, employers should not wait until an employee reports domestic abuse. Instead, they should take a proactive approach in planning to support victims and to keep them safe.

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