|Suggested Guidelines for Unions|
Domestic Violence: Union Actions
Domestic violence is not a private matter. Domestic Violence is a workplace issue that affects a significant number of union members and that makes it a union concern. One out of three women reported being a victim of violence at the hands of an intimate partner at some time in their lives. We know that when domestic violence follows women onto the jobsite the impacts are far reaching for the worker and her co-workers. In fact it can be lethal.
It’s the law
Bill 168 -- the act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act with respect to violence and harassment in the workplace and other matters took effect on June 15, 2010. The law now says that employers must protect employees from being hurt or threatened by their abuser in the workplace. Here is what it says:
If an employer is aware, or ought to be aware, that domestic violence is likely to expose a worker to physical injury in the workplace, the employer must take every reasonable precaution to protect the worker. (Section 32.0.4)
Domestic violence raises issues for the union:
As with any other health and safety issues, the local leadership can play a key role in stopping an injury before it happens. The onus on ending workplace violence is not solely on the shoulders of the worker who is experiencing domestic violence. Local union leadership, women’s and workplace health & safety committees’ have a key role to create and enforce violence free workplaces.
Domestic Violence is a workplace issue:
Domestic violence and its impacts do follow women to the job. The workplace can be the site of threats and assaults – or of effective interventions that save workers health, sense of security and lives.
Educate Your Members
Negotiate and Advocate
Responding to Members Who Abuse At Work
It is the employer's responsibility to provide a safe working environment. However, in situations such as discipline or job jeopardy, the legal Duty of Fair Representation may require the union to represent perpetrators. Union representatives should review all safe options to reasonably accommodate.
Remember, domestic violence is not a "fight" between two members. Although both members deserve representation, the abuser needs to know that his or her behavior is wrong and will not be tolerated.
Developed by Ontario Federation of Labour, Women’s Committee cope343