Domestic Violence Spillover into the Workplace: An Examination of the Difference between Legal and Ethical Requirements

Business and Society Review 122 (4):557-587 (2017)
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Domestic violence is a growing societal concern that often spills over into the workplace. However, employers are not recognizing the spillover of domestic violence as a workplace issue. This is problematic considering the serious financial, legal, and ethical consequences for organizations. We analyzed six cases involving domestic violence that were litigated under specific legal bases: Violence Against Women Act, discrimination laws including Title VII, Family and Medical Leave Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Social Security Disability, Occupational Safety and Health Act, and associated state and municipal ordinances. We chose cases that illustrate the problems of companies meeting the legal standards but not necessarily reaching ethical expectations. Our approach is congruent with the perspective that both legal and ethical analyses should be used in organizational decision making. We suggest for future research the analysis of additional litigated cases, other ethical perspectives, and additional sources of data. In addition, we suggest that companies who are striving for corporate social responsibility should integrate the ethical treatment of domestic violence victims.



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