News Article



Domestic Violence: The Need to be Proactive

Domestic violence is well reported as a community-wide problem and not surprisingly there has been cases involving partners who work for the same employer. Recently courts have considered if there are any obligations placed on the employer for the creation of a safe workplace.

Australian workplaces are increasingly required to provide protection for workers against health and safety risks arising from domestic violence.

The Royal Commission Into Family Violence Report 2016 noted that workplaces should be a safe and neutral environment where the identification of hazards and risks including domestic violence are addressed.

Security leaders, in assessing health and safety issues across any workplace should remain cognisant that domestic and family violence may infiltrate the workplace through aggressive or demeaning communications, stalking, physical altercations and the like.

In a recent court case an employer suggested to one worker she should leave as her former partner (also a worker at the same business) and her created awkwardness for other workers.  The Fair Work Commission awarded her a monetary sum for unfair dismissal.

Workplace health and safety and the complexities associated with different resourcing levels and structures must be considered in the context of risk. 

The crossover of domestic violence in the workplace has been addressed by some organisations through paid domestic violence leave. However, each workplace present challenges that need to be carefully thought through, often with the assistance of legal advice.