Purpose

The Research Foundation (hereinafter referred to as "Foundation") is committed to providing a workplace in which domestic violence is not tolerated or excused. The workplace should be a safe environment. This policy is intended to increase awareness of domestic violence and help in responding to the needs of victims.

Applicability

This policy is applicable to all employees of the Foundation.

Definitions

Domestic Violence 
A pattern of coercive tactics, which can include physical, psychological, sexual, economic, and emotional abuse, perpetrated by one person against a family or household member with the goal of establishing or maintaining power and control over the victim.

Family or Household Member 
Includes persons related by consanguinity or affinity; persons legally married to one another; persons formerly married to one another; persons who have a child in common, regardless of whether such persons are married or have lived together at any time; and unrelated persons who are continually or at regular intervals living in the same household or who have in the past continually or at regular intervals lived in the same household, including domestic partners and same sex couples.

Abuser 
A person who perpetrates a pattern of coercive tactics which can include physical, psychological, sexual, economic, and emotional abuse against a family or household member, with the goal of establishing or maintaining power and control over the victim.

Victim
The person against whom an abuser directs coercive and violent acts.

The Foundation, to the fullest extent possible without violating any existing rules, regulations, statutory requirements, contractual obligations or collective bargaining agreements, designates and directs appropriate management, supervisory, and/or human resources staff to implement the following guidelines.

Procedure

Education and Support for Employees Who Are Victims of Domestic Violence

  • The Foundation will make available a list of resources for victims of domestic violence and abusers. This list can be obtained by contacting the Department of Human Resources at (212) 417-8601.
  • The Foundation will make reasonable efforts to provide a safe environment for the victim-employee. Employees are encouraged to bring all court-issued orders of protection (OP) to the attention of the Foundation's Director of Human Resources. Once the OP has been brought forward, the document will be kept in a secure location accessible only to the Director of Human Resources. In the case of a workplace emergency requiring the presentation of the OP to law enforcement, if the Director of Human Resources is unavailable to obtain the document, a designated member of the Department of Human Resources will have access to the secure location. The Director of Human Resources will discuss with the employee a plan on how to best proceed to ensure the safest possible work environment for the employee and the rest of the staff. With the permission of the employee this may include: providing a copy of the OP and/or photo of the perpetrator to security or front desk personnel; a discussion of who should be told if there is no security or front desk staff, including identifying a supervisor or colleagues who would be able to assist with the identification of the perpetrator; blocking the perpetrator from the workplace; and creating a personal workplace safety plan. The employee is responsible for notifying the Director of Human Resources if there are any changes to the OP.
  • The Foundation will not discriminate against a victim of domestic violence in hiring, staffing, or other terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.
  • The circumstances of domestic violence involving an employee will be kept confidential to the extent permitted by law.

Leave Options for Employees Who Are Victims of Domestic Violence

The Foundation will make reasonable efforts to help victims who need time off for medical and legal assistance, court appearances, counseling, relocation, or to make other safety arrangements. To this end, the Foundation will make reasonable efforts to grant leave with or without pay or adjust work assignments.

Employee Payroll and Benefit Change Request

  • The Foundation will make reasonable efforts to get company benefits in the victim-employee's own name when the victim-employee leaves a spouse (or covered domestic partner).
  • The Foundation will process the victim-employee's requests for making changes to his/her electronic payroll transfers.

Performance Issues Related to Being a Victim of Domestic Violence

  • The Foundation is aware that victims may have performance problems such as chronic absenteeism or difficulty concentrating as a result of domestic violence.
  • The Foundation will make reasonable efforts to consider all aspects of the employee's situation and, to the extent possible, utilize all reasonable options to attempt to resolve the performance or conduct problem. 3
  • If reasonable attempts to resolve the performance problems are unsuccessful, the Foundation may decide to terminate the employee or the employee may decide to resign. In that event, The Foundation will inform the employee that he/she may be eligible for unemployment insurance.

Employees Who Commit Acts or Threats of Domestic Violence

  • Any employee who threatens, harasses or abuses a family or household member at, or from, the workplace will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. This includes employees who use workplace resources such as phones, fax machines, email, postal mail or other means to threaten, harass, or abuse a family or household member.
  • Some job positions may give an employee access to certain types of information or resources. If he or she uses this access to enable an abuser to harm the victim, that employee will be subject to corrective or disciplinary action.
  • Some employees may be licensed to possess firearms as a condition of employment. If such employee is arrested, convicted or the subject of an order of protection in a domestic violence related offense the employee's authority to possess a firearm may be unlawful under applicable federal and state law. The Foundation shall be notified by the employee in the event any of these circumstances occur.

Implementation

The Director of Human Resources, or such other individual(s) as the President may designate, shall be responsible for implementation of this policy. The provisions of this policy are effective January 1, 2007.

1. New York State Penal Law §215.14 makes it a crime for employers to penalize an employee who, as a victim or witness of a criminal offense, is required, or chooses, to appear as a witness, consult with the District Attorney, or to exercise his/her rights as provided in the Criminal Procedure Law, the Family Court Act and the Executive Law. The law requires employers, with prior day notification, to allow time off for victims or witnesses to pursue legal action related to domestic violence.

2. §593 of New York State Labor Law regarding eligibility for unemployment insurance includes a "good cause" provision. Under this provision, victims of domestic violence may be found eligible for unemployment insurance.