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Guidelines for Domestic-Violence Training

July 14, 1999
Related Topics: HR Services and Administration, Vision, Policies and Procedures, Featured Article
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INTRODUCTION:
There are occasions, due to family violence situations, when employees will need time off for the purpose of dealing with threats of emotional and physical abuse and also to seek safety and protection.

The following guidelines are offered to supervisors, managers, and Human Resources Administrators to assist employees in managing family violence situations.

The length of time employees are required to be absent from work should be decided by the individual's situation. This time period shall be determined through collaboration with the employee, supervisor/manager and local Human Resource Administrator.

Other internal resources available to employees and supervisors/managers are: the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Medical Department, Legal Department, Compensation and Benefits Department, Security Department and Office of Work and Family Life.

GUIDELINES:

PURPOSE
For several years the company has demonstrated a corporate level of concern for the plight of battered women and child abuse. In support of our employee community, the company has also made every effort to become educated about the devastating effects of spousal abuse on the health of employees and the cost to business operations. It, therefore, makes good business sense to take a "strategic position" in terms of developing guidelines to impact health and "bottom line" concerns on behalf of our employees and the company.

Existing company personnel policies were reviewed and those pertaining to this particular guideline were an added resource toward its development.

TYPES OF ABSENCES/ABSENCE CATEGORIES
Options available to employees are: family emergencies and personal time off with pay, or authorized leave of absence without pay.

  1. A Specific Leave (PP-815) may be granted when the Supervisor and Department Manager agree to bring the member back on the same job, and the Supervisor can make arrangements for temporary coverage of the job. Division Manager approval is required.

Employees should be able to establish a definite date to return. Absences are limited to a maximum three week period.
(Reference: PP-215 and The Polaroid Employee Handbook, p. 17)

If employees cannot establish a definite date to return to work and require more than three weeks, a specific leave of absence may be considered for a three - six month period.

  1. Employees, supervisors and managers are encouraged to explore paid options as they have done previously, which will support employees coping with various family demands without having to take formal unpaid leave. For instance:
    • Arrange flexible work hours so the employee can arrange court appearances, legal housing and child care services.
    • Determine whether the job can be done Full or Part-time.
    • Keep in mind that Authorized Time and Family Emergency are paid time-off options to be considered, especially if requests are for relatively short periods of time.
    • An option also available for unpaid time-off without taking a formal unpaid leave is three weeks of Authorized Time-No Pay in a three week block of time or spread out over a several weeks (15 Days).

If an employee is out for a three-week block of "Authorized Time-No Pay," or if an employee is taking up to three weeks of Authorized Time-No Pay spread out over a number of weeks, then the following occurs:

  • Non-exempt employees will use a "B-No Pay" absence code.
  • Exempt employees should have their supervisor/manager send a memo to Payroll each month.

RECOMMENDED PROCEDURES FOR SAFETY AND PROTECTION FROM FAMILY VIOLENCE SITUATIONS
Outside of Polaroid:

  • Obtain the necessary civil protection order(s) i.e., vacate/restraining order from your local district court between the hours of 9-3 P.M. or local police department after 3:00 P.M.
  • Do not permit the civil protection order to expire.
  • Carry the order with you at all times.
  • Seek emergency shelter if necessary

Inside Polaroid:

  • Notify your supervisor/manager of the situation and need to be absent.
  • Discuss options available with your supervisor and H.R. Administrator.
  • Be clear about your plan to return to work - paycheck.
  • Submit a recent photo of the abuser to corporate security so a possible identification can be successful if the abuser appears at the work site.
  • Maintain communications with the H.R. personnel administrator throughout your absence.

SUPERVISOR/MANAGER:

  • The company shall honor all civil protection orders.
  • Confidentiality should be maintained at all times.

HUMAN RESOURCE ADMINISTRATOR:

  • Responsible for forwarding paycheck
  • Contact EAP Counselor for the purpose of developing a safety plan.

EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM COUNSELOR:

  • EAP and H.R. Administrator should collaborate in all situations.
  • The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) shall continue to be available during the employee's absence, including referral to community family violence services. Once a protection order is obtained, a safety plan should accompany the order. EAP counselors shall be liaisons between local shelter staff and the corporation for the purpose of counseling needs.

THE SUPERVISORS' ROLE IN FITNESS FOR DUTY EXAMS
Fully-functioning individuals are necessary for a safe and healthy work environment. Yet most companies do not have written fitness for duty policies. Also, the determination as to whether an employee is "unfit" is too often passed along in hopes that someone else will make the decision. No matter how unpleasant it may be, the supervisor is the key to fitness for duty evaluation process and must be accountable if an active problem persists.

Fitness for duty exams have a long, functional history in industrial medicine. These tests may take the form of return-to-work exams, periodic physicals, or "for cause" assessments. Most evaluations are rooted in risk management and are driven more by financial and liability considerations than humanistic concern.

Apart from well-established physical measurements focusing on specific organs or structural systems such as the back or circulatory system, a number of behavioral and/or mental health conditions may limit employees in the performance of their assigned tasks. These conditions are potentially more significant to the day-to-day operation of an industrial facility than most physical injuries because, by nature, the source of the condition may not be clearly defined. Moreover, the cause may not be singular, but cumulative over a period of time.

SOURCE: Excerpted from materials from Polaroid Corporation.

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