Chapter 3.13
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE Revised 1/17

Sections:

3.13.010    Policy. Revised 1/17

3.13.020    Definitions. Revised 1/17

3.13.030    Responsibilities. Revised 1/17

3.13.035    Confidentiality of All Information. Revised 1/17

3.13.040    Dissemination of Policy. Revised 1/17

Cross-Reference:    Chapter 296-135 WAC

3.13.010 Policy. Revised 1/17

The safety and security of the employees of Pierce County and members of the public seeking or receiving County services or using County facilities is of the utmost importance. Pierce County is committed to creating and maintaining a workplace free of acts of domestic violence to employees or by employees:

A.    The County will not tolerate domestic violence occurring in the workplace, or that affects the workplace. The County may, as appropriate, make reasonable effort, when circumstances of domestic violence are known, to:

1.    Take precautions to prevent incidents of domestic violence in the workplace;

2.    Take measures to address the safety and security of employees in the workplace;

3.    Encourage employees who are victims of domestic violence to seek assistance and provide referrals, where appropriate;

4.    Allow reasonable leave from work for employee victims and employees whose family members are victims of domestic violence for reasons permitted by law (see Chapter 296-135 WAC); and

5.    Post information about domestic violence and available resources in County buildings.

B.    The County shall take corrective or disciplinary action up to and including termination against an employee in cases where there is cause to believe the employee:

1.    Used County resources to perpetrate domestic violence; or

2.    Threatened or committed an act of domestic violence in the workplace; or

3.    Engaged in off duty domestic violence that affects job performance or has a nexus (relationship) to the employee's employment as determined by the Human Resources Department.

C.    The fact that an employee is or has been a victim of domestic violence shall not subject the employee to penalty or discipline. However, employee victims of domestic violence will be held to the same standards in regard to personnel policies and disciplinary procedures.

D.    The County shall ensure that employees receive information on this domestic violence policy as needed.

(Ord. 2016-84 § 1 (part), 2016; Ord. 2006-12 § 1 (part), 2006)

3.13.020 Definitions. Revised 1/17

The following definitions apply to this Chapter only:

Child. Employee's biological, adopted, stepchild, foster child, legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis who is:

1.    Under the age of 18; or

2.    Eighteen years of age or older and incapable of self care because of a mental or physical disability.

Dating Relationship. A social relationship of a romantic nature. Factors that may be considered in making this determination include the length of time the relationship has existed, the nature of the relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the parties.

Domestic Violence. Any physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault between current or former family members; sexual assault of one current or former family member by another; or stalking as defined in RCW 9A.46.110 of one current or former family member by another family member. For purposes of this Chapter only, "domestic violence" also includes "sexual assault" as defined in RCW 70.125.030 and "stalking" as defined in RCW 9A.46.110.

Family. Employee's spouse, registered domestic partner, former spouses, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, person with whom the employee has a dating relationship, or child, persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time, adult persons related by blood or marriage, adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past, persons 16 years of age or older who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past and who have or have had a dating relationship, and persons who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren.

Workplace. County facilities, County vehicles, County premises, employer-sponsored, or authorized events, or locations visited while conducting County business. For purposes of this policy only, telecommuting work sites are not included in the definition of "workplace."

(Ord. 2016-84 § 1 (part), 2016; Ord. 2008-106s § 1 (part), 2008; Ord. 2006-12 § 1 (part), 2006)

3.13.030 Responsibilities. Revised 1/17

County officers and employees shall not commit any act of domestic violence in or affecting the workplace. County officers and employees should report any act of domestic violence in or affecting the workplace, whether or not physical injury occurs. Officers or employees who observe, or are informed of, or have reason to believe an act of domestic violence occurred in the workplace shall immediately notify their supervisor, department director, management representative or the Human Resources Department. Insofar as possible, any report of an act of domestic violence shall include the name of the reporting party; the date, time and place of the act; the name or identity of the person alleged to have committed the act; a description of the act; and the names of any witnesses.

All employees, including managers and supervisors, are responsible for using safe work practices, for following all directives, policies and procedures, including, but not limited to, the Workplace Violence Policy (see Chapter 3.15 PCC, Workplace Safety and Violence Prevention), and for assisting in maintaining a safe and secure work environment free from domestic violence.

A.    Employee Responsibilities.

1.    Employees who are the victims of domestic violence are encouraged to take the following steps, as appropriate:

a.    If threat of imminent danger exists, call 911;

b.    Ask for assistance from a supervisor, manager, or Human Resources professional;

c.    Notify the supervisor, manager, or Human Resources professional of any safety or security concerns related to your employment, your work assignment or workstation;

d.    Contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Domestic Violence Help Line and/or other resources for assistance;

e.    If a court order has been issued that prohibits the perpetrator from contacting the employee as a result of an act of domestic violence, provide a copy of the order to the supervisor, manager, or Human Resources professional. Submit a recent photograph or detailed description of the perpetrator to the supervisor, manager, or Human Resources professional; and

f.    Request a reasonable leave of absence from work, if needed for the following permissible activities related to domestic violence (see domestic violence leave procedures, PCC 3.80.065 of the Administrative Guidelines):

(1)    To seek legal or law enforcement assistance or remedies to ensure the employee's or family member's health or safety, including preparing for or participating in any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to or derived from domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking;

(2)    To seek treatment by a health care provider for physical or mental injuries caused by domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking;

(3)    To attend to health care treatment for a victim who is the employee's family member;

(4)    To obtain or assist the employee's family member in obtaining services from a domestic violence shelter, a rape crisis center; or a social services program for relief from domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking;

(5)    To obtain or assist a family member in obtaining mental health counseling related to an incident of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, in which the employee or the employee's family member was a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking; or

(6)    To participate, for the employee's or the employee's family member, in safety planning, temporary or permanent relocation, or other actions to increase the safety from future incidents of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

2.    Employees who believe they have witnessed or learn of domestic violence occurring in the workplace shall immediately notify a manager, supervisor, or Human Resources professional.

3.    Employees who believe they have witnessed or learned of domestic violence involving an employee outside the workplace are encouraged to notify a manager, supervisor, or Human Resources professional.

4.    Employees who have been charged by the Prosecuting Attorney in criminal proceedings in a matter which would constitute domestic violence under the Definitions Sections A., B., and C. of this policy have a duty to report the fact of the charge to a supervisor, manager, or County Human Resources professional within three working days of the charge.

B.    Manager/Supervisor Responsibilities.

1.    Employees as Victims. Managers or supervisors, who become aware that an employee is a victim of domestic violence in the workplace, or affecting the workplace, should take the following steps as appropriate:

a.    If threat of imminent danger exists, call 911;

b.    Consult with a County Human Resources professional and, if appropriate, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), for advice and assistance in developing a strategy for approaching the victim and, if necessary, offering assistance;

c.    Where appropriate, develop a workplace safety plan in consultation with the employee who is a victim of domestic violence, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), the Human Resources professional, or other appropriate resources;

d.    Encourage the employee who is a victim of domestic violence to seek assistance from the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Domestic Violence Help Line and/or other resources;

e.    For safety or security reasons, or to allow an employee who is a victim of domestic violence to obtain assistance, provide reasonable assistance when requested, if consistent with business needs, including the following possible assistance:

(1)    Adjust or change the employee's work schedule;

(2)    Change the employee's work site;

(3)    Grant use of accrued or unpaid leave within the provisions of PCC 3.80.065 of the Administrative Guidelines to allow employees who are victims of domestic violence or whose family members are victims of domestic violence, for permissible activities related to domestic violence protection; and

(4)    Other assistance as may be deemed appropriate by management.

f.    If provided with a current court order prohibiting the perpetrator from contacting the employee victim, take reasonable measures to facilitate compliance with the order within the workplace; and

g.    To the extent possible, treat information about an employee victim, including the victim's whereabouts, as confidential. Where necessary, apply confidentiality restrictions to internal telephones, electronics, information, department and County publications, etc., to the extent allowed by law.

2.    Employees as Perpetrators. Managers, supervisors, or Human Resources professionals who become aware that an employee may be a perpetrator of domestic violence in or outside the workplace should take the following possible steps as appropriate:

a.    If imminent danger exists, call 911;

b.    Take steps to provide for the safety of persons present in the workplace;

c.    If there is reason to believe a crime has been committed, call the police and cooperate with any police investigation;

d.    If there is reason to believe that there is a nexus with the individual's employment or if the manager is uncertain, contact the Human Resources Department;

e.    Refer to appropriate officials for investigation and/or to conduct an employment investigation, if appropriate, in instances where it will not interfere with a police investigation;

f.    Upon completion of the employment investigation, impose discipline as warranted; and

g.    Provide referrals to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and other resources, as appropriate.

(Ord. 2016-84 § 1 (part), 2016; Ord. 2008-106s § 1 (part), 2008; Ord. 2006-12 § 1 (part), 2006)

3.13.035 Confidentiality of All Information. Revised 1/17

A.    All information provided by an employee victim of domestic violence shall be treated as confidential, including:

1.    The fact that the employee or a family member is a victim; and

2.    That the employee requested or obtained leave; and

3.    Any written or oral statement, documentation, record, or corroborating evidence provided by the employee; and

4.    The identity and identifying information, including address, phone numbers and whereabouts, of the employee and/or family member.

B.    Such information may be disclosed to third parties, including other employees, only if:

1.    The employee requests or consents to disclosure of the information; or

2.    A court or administrative agency orders disclosure of the information; or

3.    Federal or state law otherwise requires the employer to disclose the information; or

4.    The information is needed by other public employees in the performance of their assigned or official duties.

C.    Information and records of employees related to this Chapter shall be treated as confidential to the maximum extent permitted by law.

(Ord. 2016-84 § 1 (part), 2016)

3.13.040 Dissemination of Policy. Revised 1/17

The Human Resources Department will assist in the dissemination of this policy, where needed, providing information, resources, and training on issues of domestic violence in the workplace, assisting managers and supervisors in implementing and following this policy, and posting information about domestic violence and available resources in County buildings where appropriate. (Ord. 2016-84 § 1 (part), 2016; Ord. 2008-106s § 1 (part), 2008; Ord. 2006-12 § 1 (part), 2006)