Linda S. Boatright’s Views on Domestic Violence in the Workplace

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For years Partnership Against Domestic Violence (PADV) has dedicated a conference to highlighting ways to deal with domestic violence in the workplace. This October will be no exception as they bring business professionals together to discuss these issues.

Linda has been the director of employee and labor relations at Kaiser Permanente for the past five years. It was four years ago that she attended her first Domestic Violence in the Workplace (DVIW) conference, and she has made it a point to continue to share what she learned with others at her company.

“Looking at the stats, one in four women and one in seven men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. In my company women represent more than 50-60 percent of the work force, and for that reason we felt very compelled to make sure that our managers, as well as the employees, know Kaiser is a safe haven that they can talk about domestic violence, and the mangers are equipped with the skills to recognize it.”

Working closely with employees, Linda knows the importance of having a work environment that people are comfortable in. “I think domestic violence is that little dirty secret that nobody wants to talk about. I am very committed to being an agent that says let’s change that, let’s give people an opportunity to talk about it.”

Having attended, and even chaired the DVIW in the past, Linda continues to learn and share information with others. Despite the fact that she has experience handling domestic violence situations with employees, the DVIW opened her eyes to issues she had not considered.

“One thing I learned is that domestic violence, like rape, is a power disorder; and many times it’s generational. Intimate partner abuse is clearly an issue too. Victims most often feel they are guilty of something. I want people to know that while it is an issue, there is also a solution, there’s also help. I cannot talk enough about the work that PADV has done in the Fulton and Gwinnett County areas.”

Linda says there are many reasons companies should attend the conference. “I believe that when we don’t talk about things, they become issues for people. These issues then find their way into the workplace. You may see increased employee absence, or see productivity problems. Kaiser is there to support employees and make sure that they have healthy lifestyles and healthy environments. I feel empowered to say let’s turn it around and make domestic abuse something that people feel comfortable acknowledging so they can get help.”

Linda Boatright is Director, Employee & Labor Relations HR, for the Georgia Region of Kaiser Permanente. Boatright has worked with Kaiser Permanente for five years, chaired the DVIW Conference in 2012, and served in an advisory capacity for the 2013 and 2014 conference. 

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