Subject: Abusers’ effect on workplace tracked



Abusers’ effect on workplace tracked

By Alice Gomstyn, Globe Correspondent, 10/22/2002

Domestic abusers are often bad employees as well as bad mates, according to a new study by an advocacy group.

Employers Against Domestic Violence reported that some abusers bring weapons to work, make dangerous mistakes on the job because they are distracted by their situations, and exploit company phones and e-mail to keep track of their victims. They also often use paid work time to attend court hearings on domestic abuse charges.

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino praised the group for raising awareness of domestic violence and urged employers to be vigilant in identifying and taking action against abusers.

"It used to be that people were afraid to get involved," Menino said at a press conference announcing the study. "Well, those days must end."

Since Menino imposed an executive order in 1997, all city employees arrested for domestic violence must undergo counseling or face unpaid administrative leave.

The study of 29 men convicted of domestic violence found that disciplinary action in combination with counseling is a better response than immediately firing abusers, who might blame their victims for their job loss.

Leaders of the antidomestic violence group, which includes 90 public and private employers in Massachusetts, said they hope the study will spur more research on how domestic abusers affect the workplace.

An earlier study conducted by the Bureau of National Affairs found that lost work time, increased health costs, higher turnover and lower productivity of victims of domestic violence cost US companies between $3 billion and $5 billion a year.

This story ran on page C2 of the Boston Globe on 10/22/2002.

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