New executive order protects jobs of domestic abuse victims

Local News
Gov. Mike DeWine

Gov. Mike DeWine

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – As Domestic Abuse Awareness Month comes to a close, Governor Mike DeWine launched a new executive order that expands training and protections to victims as well teaches how abuse at home affect other elements in their life.

DeWine announced Ohio is launching an enhanced training program aimed at educating State employees about domestic violence and, specifically, its impact on the workplace; as well new requirements for how to support employees who may be experiencing abuse.

“Domestic violence is unacceptable and far too common,” said Governor Mike DeWine.  “It is our hope is that this enhanced program will give state employees a better understanding of signs associated with domestic violence, resources available, and how to appropriately report domestic violence.”

The training and related policy was updated to reflect DeWine’s Executive Order 2019-09D. The order expanded the definition of domestic violence to include victims of dating violence.

Ohio agencies, boards, and commissions are now required to maintain and post lists of resources for those experiencing and perpetrating domestic violence.

The executive order also directs all State entities to take necessary corrective actions, up to and including termination, when an employee commits or threatens to commit domestic violence on State property, when using State resources; and to contact law enforcement if an incident occurs

Workplaces are also now required to accommodate special needs such as modifying work schedules, duties, or locations when the partners are employed in the same workplace. Employers must also grant leave requests when needed due to current or past domestic violence.

“One thing that we know,” said Sarah Wolf-Knight, the Grant and Advocacy Manager at the Dayton YWCA, “is domestic violence causes millions of women every year to miss days of paid work. That both harms our economy but also the financial stability for women and families.”

In the WDTN.com Web Exclusive below, Sarah Wolf-Knight explains the need for this type of initiative: 

“As an employer, we are in a unique position to provide a safe and supportive environment for employees experiencing abuse in their relationships and to get them the help they need,” said DAS Director Matt Damschroder. “We can do that by providing our front-line staff and managers with the training and tools they need to address this topic.”

The State policy and training honors the memory of Barbara Warner, an employee of the Ohio Department of Health, who as a part of her job distributed information about domestic violence to others. 

Unknown to her co-workers, Barbara was a long-time victim of domestic violence and was eventually murdered by her husband on May 27, 1997. In the aftermath of her death, her co-workers formed a domestic violence work group that led to many changes at the agency and throughout Ohio, which are all reflected in the new policy and training.

“99% of women who experience domestic violence also experience some kind of financial abuse,” said Wolf-Knight. “Whether that’s keeping them from working, or controlling their assets and income. It’s the number of reason women don’t leave and we want to raise awareness of that.”

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