An employee who is separating from a partner is receiving threatening phone calls and messages and unsolicited visits while at work. What should we do as a business?
While there are legal obligations to ensure an employee is safe at work, there are also practical benefits that can result from being proactive in assisting and supporting employee’s experiencing family or domestic violence and other similar such situations.
The employer should reassure the employee that in accordance with the relevant company policy, they can access a range of options to assist them during this difficult time. These might include, but are not limited to:
- flexible working arrangements
- counselling services or employee assistance programs (EAPs)
- assess to accrued leave entitlements as required
- access to authorised unpaid leave where paid leave is exhausted (this would be at the employer’s discretion)
- access to legal assistance and support networks.
If an estranged partner of the employee attends the workplace and behaves inappropriately or aggressively, management should be present and request they leave the premises immediately.
If they refuse, management may consider calling security or the police for assistance to resolve the matter.
It may also be prudent to create a procedure for dealing with aggression towards staff from clients or visitors and educate staff and management on their rights and obligations in this regard.
Screening of phone calls, introduction of security passes or access codes, putting protocols in place for staff working out of hours with limited people in the building and steps for ensuring staff get to and from their vehicle safely where they are not parked in the building are all considerations that could be made.
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