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Domestic Violence is a Workplace Issue

BY PAUL MARKOVICH – Today, Blue Shield announced the launch of its Workplace Domestic Violence Policy that applies to all employees.

The program builds on Blue Shield’s existing Code of Conduct policy established to ensure employee’s safety by providing specific assistance for domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking victims and increasing awareness through advocacy and education.

In the United States, more than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced violence from intimate partners, according to a survey from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Domestic violence is much more than a private issue; it is a social problem that affects the entire community, including the workplace.

Sadly, most victims are not comfortable talking with their employers about the violence in their lives. When they do, more than 70 percent of companies don’t have a domestic violence policy in place to provide minor accommodations (such as time off to go to court or to meet with law enforcement).

Blue Shield of California and its Foundation have a long-standing commitment to ending domestic violence. Through the Foundation, Blue Shield is the state’s largest private funder of domestic violence services and prevention. Since 2003, the Foundation has provided funding for every shelter in the state. The grants have helped spur innovative solutions and partnerships that bring us closer to ending domestic violence.

As an employer and a health plan, Blue Shield believes that it is our responsibility to apply what we’ve learned from our various partnerships with domestic violence shelters and provide our own employees with accommodations, resources and education to help stop the cycle of domestic violence.

We will continue to invest in solutions that ensure individuals have access to care when they need it. And, we encourage more companies to implement workplace policies that allow reasonable accommodations so that victims of domestic violence can stay at work while taking care of themselves and their family.

Paul Markovich is president and CEO at Blue Shield of California