Whatcom employers honored for workplace DV policies

County Executive Jack Louws will present Certificates of Recognition to eight Whatcom County workplaces that have adopted and implemented comprehensive domestic violence in the workplace policies and procedures.

The presentation will take place during the DV Commission’s meeting on Thursday, Jan. 26, from 10–10:30 a.m. at the Bellingham Police Department’s training room. The eight workplaces to be honored by the DV Commission are:

o   City of Bellingham

o   City of Blaine

o   Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services

o   DSHS Community Service Office

o   Haggen, Inc.

o   Sullivan Plumbing

o   Western Washington University

o   Whatcom County

The Bellingham-Whatcom County Commission Against Domestic Violence (DV Commission) provides leadership in the community’s efforts to reduce and prevent domestic violence, the organization said in a news release this week.

Susan Marks, DV Commission director, said the policies and procedures were developed after a 2008 state fatality report recommended “employers should develop policies and issue guidelines for supervisors and human resource personnel on how to address domestic violence situations in a safe and supportive manner.”

“Based on that report, we worked closely with local human resource professionals and employment attorneys to develop model policies, procedures, and guidelines that could help local employers respond to domestic violence,” Marks said.

Gary Jensen, the owner of Sullivan Plumbing and Mayor of Ferndale serving on the DV Commission, said, “These templates are a great resource for small businesses.”

 “As a small business owner, I appreciate having these tools to help me review my employee manual, address the reality of domestic violence, and do the right thing.  Several employees even thanked me for including these policies, as it had been a reality in their lives,” Jensen said.

Also at the meeting, the DV Commission will kick off its 2012 DV in the Workplace Challenge, an initiative intended to recruit an additional 50 businesses or organizations to adopt domestic violence policies and procedures.

 The template for the policies, procedures, and guidelines can be found on the DV Commission’s website at www.dvcommission.org/resources under “new & noteworthy.” The DV Commission can assist with adapting and implementing policies and procedures for individual workplaces, and with providing training for supervisors and managers.

Employers interested in developing domestic violence policies and procedures for their workplace can contact Susan Marks, DV Commission Director, at smarks@dvcommission.org or (360) 312-5700 x 202.

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