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Domestic Violence

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SHRM member Ms. Sue K. Willman testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety this week on the issue of domestic violence in the workplace.  A survivor of domestic violence, Willman described employers’ ongoing efforts to respond to workplace violence.

Willman also presented SHRM’s views on pending federal legislation that would require companies with 15 or more workers to provide up to 30 days of unpaid leave for issues relating to domestic violence.  An employment attorney with Spencer Fane Britt and Browne LLP, Willman is pictured with Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), the ranking Republican of the Subcommittee.  

In her written statement, Willman said, “It is SHRM’s view that organizations need domestic violence policies that ensure a consistent and uniform organizational response to domestic violence and limit the occurrence of violent incidents.  …[I]t is critical that employers create workplaces where employees will feel free to come forward by ensuring their situation is handled in a sensitive and confidential manner.”

In addressing certain provisions of S. 1136, the “ Survivors’ Empowerment and Economic Security Act” pending before the Senate, Willman stated that SHRM believes employers should voluntarily provide adequate leave benefits to help employees balance their work and family demands.  She explained that a new federal mandate, such as the one in S. 1136, could limit employees’ flexibility and present challenges for employers.

Coincidently, the hearing took place on the morning after the shooting at Virginia Tech University.  In addition to expressions of sadness and support for the families touched by the campus tragedy, senators and hearing witnesses highlighted recent incidents in Georgia and Washington in which domestic violence infiltrated the workplace.

To view a copy of Ms. Willman’s testimony, please click HERE

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