Employers Know Best? The Application of Workplace Restraining Orders to Domestic Violence Cases
48 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2021
Date Written: August 1, 2014
Domestic violence is often thought of as a private matter that occurs within the home. But when domestic violence impacts the workplace, employers are faced with a difficult choice: they must consider employee productivity and safety, as well as company finances, while also balancing the safety and needs of the domestic violence victim. Ultimately, employers may turn to workplace restraining orders to protect their employees from an abuser. Sometimes, employers consult the victim of domestic violence before seeking a restraining order; other times, employers do not.
This Article addresses workplace restraining order legislation and argues that states should adopt a new model: one that requires an employer to inform the victim when the employer seeks a workplace restraining order. Failing to include the victim in the decision is inherently paternalistic, revoking any agency that she might have had, and could endanger her in her relationship. Nevertheless, because an employer must balance competing needs-including the safety of its other employees and its own productivity requirements-this Article argues that an employer should not be barred from seeking a workplace restraining order, even if the victim disagrees that it is necessary. An employer's intervention by consulting the victim may have positive, life-changing consequences; at the very least, it will allow a victim of domestic violence to feel included in decisions about her own life and take any necessary safety precautions.
Keywords: domestic violence, criminal justice
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation