Meet Leticia Ericson of the Lab’s Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office (EEO/AA). The office works to prevent and protect Lab community members from discrimination and ensure their access to equal opportunities. The Lab’s EEO/AA program also oversees Title IX reporting requirements, which includes domestic abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. An increase in domestic violence is an issue that has surfaced as a result of the COVID-19 quarantine. In this 3Q4, Ericson discusses the issue and ways to be vigilant in helping reduce the risk of harm.
Why have domestic violence inquiries increased nationally since the onset of COVID-19?
We face an unprecedented and complex workplace reality, where workers are doing their best to blend daily work into a domestic sphere. This uncertain, somewhat unstable, and changing situation increases stress. Now, layer on what psychologists have previously studied and published about how disasters like hurricanes add high stress on domestic life, and such stress increases domestic violence risk. Taken altogether, this message becomes urgent, timely, and important.
How does the Lab intersect with domestic violence issues?
We’ve always been a Lab community that has a safety-first approach. In this new blended domestic-work environment, there’s a stress related safety risk. In the spirit of our usual safe-work culture, we want to inform our Lab community and ensure folks know about available resources. Beyond this, domestic violence is prohibited by law. The Lab will take immediate action, and engage with the proper resources and authorities to appropriately address reported situations of concern.
What resources are available to provide assistance to those who may be experiencing risks of domestic violence?
First and foremost, domestic violence is a crime and notifying local police authorities, if at all possible, is the appropriate action whenever there is danger of harm and a crime is involved. I encourage folks to familiarize themselves with the curated resources available on the Lab’s Covid site. Also, supervisors soon will be receiving a guide about their support and referral responsibilities. One key resource to place front and center is the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233.