Senator Paul D. Wellstone (D-MN) plans to introduce the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act today, which will help protect millions of workers–predominantly women–who suffer from intimate partner violence that follows them from the home into the workplace. The bill prohibits discrimination against victims of intimate partner violence in hiring, firing and promotions, and calls for employers to provide emergency leave for victims, including those who suffer from stalking or sexual assault.
A 1998 General Accounting Office report states that between one-quarter and one-half of victims had lost a job because of intimate partner violence. Between 35 and 56 percent of employed battered women were harassed by their abusers in the workplace.
As the problem gains more attention, the number of U.S. businesses with intimate partner violence policies may rise. Approximately 5 percent of businesses have such policies, including some that require distribution of intimate partner violence information and the instruction of employees on what to do if a woman is being stalked.