Spousal abuse at work

Dec 22 2008 by Derek Torres Print This Article

Today's post can be filed under "things I shouldn't have to tell you, because you're too old and (supposedly) too smart ". OK - let's talk about domestic abuse. Now, perhaps you're thinking that I should pipe down and talk about something related to the workplace. Ok, fair enough: domestic violence in the workplace is on the rise.

A recent report (and an alarming one at that) discussed how spousal abuse, which one used to be the dirty and dark secret that people didn't discuss, is now rearing its ugly head at the office. Don't be fooled into thinking that this is due to married couples who work together and couldn't separate their professional and private lives. I'm talking about enraged spouses (read: husbands) tracking their wives down at their place of business to finish what they started.

I suppose that it's really not surprising. After all, someone who engages in this behavior at home isn't likely to have enough smarts or reason to keep it there. Besides, as the article points out, an abused woman's likely place of peace and normalcy is when she's at work. These guys are now ready to take away even that! One can assume that this is more of a problem in small to midsized companies that do not require employees to badge in or guests to be approved before gaining entry.

In addition to the obvious toll on the victim, it's also a frightful experience for colleagues to witness. Do they jump in and help? What if the abuser is carrying a knife or gun? What happens if it goes from yelling or humiliation to violence? What responsibility, if any, does a victim have to alert their employer that their spouse may be capable of coming to the office to harass them?

Unfortunately, this topic raises me questions than answers. If you have any answers, I'd love to hear them!