White House Establishes Domestic Violence Workplace Guidance for Federal Agencies
On April 18, 2012, President Obama issued a memorandum directing all federal agencies and departments to establish policies to assist federal employees who are victims of domestic violence. The President hoped to establish the federal government as a model for all employers - to respond to the effects of domestic violence on the workforce, and provide a safe workplace and support for victims.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) worked with agency heads and a broad-based working group of domestic violence advocates, including representatives from several states, and with participation from OPDV, to develop a guidance that includes critical issues related to the impact of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking (DVSAS) in the workplace. Issues covered include: workplace flexibilities that can be employed to support a victim of DVSAS, EAP support services, building safety and security considerations, workplace options that should be considered when a potential perpetrator is in the workplace, disciplinary actions and legal considerations, as well as awareness considerations and training possibilities for staff. The guidance also includes available resources for additional information and support.
Federal agencies are urged to respond to this guidance by revising existing agency-specific DVSAS policies or developing a new policy, in accordance with the guidance. Agencies must submit revised or new policies to OPM for review by April 18, 2013. The OPM guidance is due out in January and will be posted on the OPM website.