THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY
David Briley, Mayor
Subject: Policy on Domestic Violence in the Workplace
I, David Briley, Mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me, do hereby find, direct and order the following:
This Executive Order shall apply to all unclassified employees of the Metropolitan Government except: employees of elected officials, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, Board of Health, Nashville Electric Service, Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency, Metropolitan Transit Authority, Metropolitan Sports Authority, and Metropolitan Hospital Authority. I hereby request that the Metropolitan Civil Service Commission adopt a similar policy for those employees in the classified service, and request the Board of Health to adopt such a policy for its employees. I hereby further request that elected officials, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, Nashville Electric Service, Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency, Metropolitan Transit Authority, Metropolitan Sports Authority, and the Metropolitan Hospital Authority consider developing and adopting similar policies.
II. Statement of Purpose
This policy is part of the Metropolitan Government’s commitment to a healthy and safe workplace climate, and to the prevention and reduction of the incidents and effects of domestic violence. The Metropolitan Government recognizes that domestic violence presents unique issues for the workforce. Incidents of domestic violence are workplace issues even if the incidents occur elsewhere. These incidents cross economic, educational, cultural, age, gender, sexual orientation, racial, and religious lines and occur in a wide variety of contexts. Therefore, the Metropolitan Government will endeavor to take appropriate measures to prevent and/or address such violence in the context of the workforce.
The purposes of this policy are to:
- Create and promote a safe and supportive workplace environment in which employees feel comfortable discussing domestic violence issues and seeking assistance for domestic violence situations;
- Provide victims of domestic violence with referrals to Metropolitan Government and community resources to enhance safety and support for victims and coworkers;
- Empower supervisors and appointing authorities to develop responsive procedures, including referrals and reasonable workplace safety plans, for employees who are affected by domestic violence either personally or involving a person with whom they have a close personal relationship (e.g. family member, coworker, friend);
- Provide referrals and/or disciplinary action for employees who are perpetrators of abuse in accordance with applicable civil service rules;
- Require training for employees about recognizing and responding to domestic violence; and
- Respect confidentiality, to the extent permitted by Tennessee law.
- Domestic violence:
Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behavior, including acts or threatened acts, that is used by a perpetrator to gain power and control over a victim. Domestic violence includes, but is not limited to, physical violence, intimidation, sexual violence or abuse, emotional and/or psychological intimidation, verbal abuse, threats, or harassment, stalking, or economic control. This can include elder abuse involving a caretaker or any of the either past or present relationships listed in Part II, section 2.
- Survivor or victim:
An individual in a qualifying relationship defined by Tenn. Code Ann. §39-13-111(a), who is currently subject to, or has in the past been subjected to domestic violence or stalking.
- Adults or minors who are current or former spouses;
- Adults or minors who live together or who have lived together;
- Adults or minors who are dating or who have dated or who have or had a sexual relationship, but does not include fraternization between two (2) individuals in a business or social context;
- Adults or minors related by blood or adoption;
- Adults or minors who are related or were formerly related by marriage; or
- Adult or minor children of a person in a relationship that is described in subdivisions (a)-(e).
An individual employed by Metropolitan Government.
- Perpetrator or offender:
An individual who is accused of committing, or who commits or threatens to commit an act of domestic violence, regardless of whether the behavior results in a criminal conviction and/or a civil order of protection.
- Workplace Safety Plan: A strategy developed to implement workplace safety options, which may include, but are not limited to: setting up procedures for alerting security or police; temporary relocation of the victim to a secure area; voluntary temporary transfer or permanent relocation to a new work site; reassignment of parking space; escort for entry to and exit from the work site; responding to harassment; and, keeping a photograph of the abuser or a copy of an existing court order in an inconspicuous on-site location and providing copies to designated personnel. Supervisors and/or appointing authorities will take into consideration the victim’s individual circumstances and her/his job duties and, in the discretion of the supervisor and/or appointing authority, make reasonable allowances or workplace modifications that will allow the employee to fulfill her/his duties.
- Workplace: Regardless of where violence occurs, it has detrimental effects on the workplace environment and employees. For purposes of this Executive Order, an employee is considered to be in the workplace when the employee is conducting Metropolitan Government business, is in Metropolitan Government-owned or leased workspace, is using the facilities or services of the Metropolitan Government, is using Metropolitan Government resources or equipment, is wearing a uniform, is using a vehicle that is owned or leased by Metropolitan Government or its agencies, is attending a work-related conference, or is traveling on behalf of the Metropolitan Government.
IV. Persons Covered by this Policy
Persons covered by this policy include full and part-time employees.
V. Statement of Confidentiality
The Metropolitan Government recognizes and respects an employee’s right to privacy and the need for confidentiality and autonomy. The Metropolitan Government shall maintain the confidentiality of an employee’s disclosure regarding violence to the extent allowed by: (1) the Tennessee Public Records Act; (2) state and federal statutes that mandate reporting of behavior indicating risk to self or others; and/or (3) unless nondisclosure would jeopardize the safety of others within the workplace. When otherwise confidential information must be disclosed to protect the safety of individuals within the workplace, the Metropolitan Government shall limit the breadth and content of such disclosure to information reasonably necessary to protect the safety of the disclosing employee and others and to comply with the law.
The Metropolitan Government shall provide advance notice to the employee who disclosed information if the disclosure must be shared with other parties in order to maintain safety in the workplace or elsewhere, or when otherwise required by Tennessee law. The Metropolitan Government shall also provide the employee with the name and title of the person to whom the Metropolitan Government intends to share the employee’s statements, and shall explain the necessity and purpose regarding said disclosure.
VI. Responses to Victims of Domestic Violence
If the Metropolitan Government becomes aware that a person covered by this policy is or was a victim of domestic violence, the Metropolitan Government will not discharge or in any manner discriminate, retaliate against, or disadvantage the covered person because of his or her status as a victim of domestic violence.
The Metropolitan Government will not reprimand or retaliate against a victim of domestic violence for requesting leave or a reasonable workplace modification, regardless of whether the request was granted.
- Leave and Other Reasonable Workplace Modifications
The Metropolitan Government recognizes that victims of domestic violence may need time off to obtain or attempt to obtain a protection or restraining order or any other legal assistance, including, but not limited to, counseling and advocacy services, to help ensure his or her health, safety, or welfare, or that of his or her child. The Metropolitan Government will work in collaboration with the employee in an effort to provide reasonable and flexible leave options when an employee or his or her child is a victim of domestic violence. The Metropolitan Government will work with an employee to provide paid leave first before requiring an employee to utilize unpaid leave.
An employee must provide reasonable advance notice to the employer of the need to take time off unless advance notice is not feasible. The Metropolitan Government may require the employee to provide documentation, if applicable, or other certification verifying that the employee or her/his child was a victim of domestic violence. To request leave, an employee should contact her/his supervisor or appointing authority.
The Metropolitan Government will also make an effort to provide reasonable workplace modifications for a victim of domestic violence who requests a modification for the safety of the victim or to maintain his or her work performance while at work. Reasonable workplace modifications may include, but are not limited to: the implementation of safety measures; assistance with creation of a workplace safety plan; a transfer, reassignment, or modified schedule; changed work telephone; modified or changed work station; lock installation; assistance in documenting the violence that occurs in the workplace; an implemented safety procedure; another adjustment to a job structure, workplace facility, or work requirement in response to the violence; or referral to a victim assistance organization.
VII. Reporting by Employees
Employees who have information about or witness an act of violence perpetrated by an employee, or who have information about or witness violence against an employee, are strongly encouraged to report all information to her/his supervisor or appointing authority.
The Metropolitan Government will not retaliate against, terminate, or discipline any employee for reporting information about alleged incidents of violence, as defined in this policy that may have been committed by any other employee, including a member of management. Prohibited acts of retaliation include, but are not limited to, demotion or withholding of earned pay, as well as acts of personal retaliation, such as those related to an employee’s immigration status or sexual orientation, for example.
Any employee who believes he or she has been subjected to adverse action as a result of making a report pursuant to this policy should contact her/his supervisor or appointing authority.
VIII. Responses to Employees who Commit Domestic Violence
If the Metropolitan Government receives information that provides a factual basis indicating that an employee has committed an act of domestic violence, as defined in this Policy, or if any supervisor receives information that any employee has engaged in any incident of domestic violence, then the matter shall be referred to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department or the District Attorney’s Office for the purpose of investigating the information or allegation. Knowledge regarding an employee’s alleged involvement in an act of domestic violence shall not be imputed to the Metropolitan Government merely on account of the employee’s arrest.
If, as a result of the investigation, the employee is found guilty of a domestic violence crime, or enters a guilty plea or nolo contedere for such crime, then that employee shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination. The employee might also be required to participate in counseling or other remedial measures. Employees are prohibited from utilizing any workplace resources to threaten, harass, intimidate, embarrass or otherwise harm another person.
An employee who is subject to a protection or restraining order, or a named defendant in a criminal action as a result of a threat or act of domestic violence must immediately notify her/his appointing authority regarding the existence of such criminal or civil action. Failure to disclose the existence of such criminal or civil actions in these circumstances may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination from employment.
IX. Reporting by Employees Who are Victims
Employees who are victims of domestic violence and employees who are concerned about coworkers who might be victims are encouraged to provide a report to the Metropolitan Government. Reports should be made to the employee’s designated supervisor or appointing authority. The Metropolitan Government’s designated supervisor or appointing authority shall refer employees to the Family Safety Center and its Jean Crowe Advocacy Center, in order to assist employees with their concerns or experiences regarding violence. If a victim chooses to follow up with services to the referred resources, such services are confidential, to the extent permitted by Tennessee law. The Metropolitan Government’s designated supervisor or appointing authority shall also refer the victim/reporter to the designated 24-hour YWCA’s 24-hour crisis and support helpline at 1-800-334-4628.
X. Reporting Violation of Policy
A person who wishes to report a violation of this policy should contact the Department of Human Resources. The Metropolitan Government will not subject employees who, in good faith, report violence or report a violation of this policy to work related or personal retaliation, as described in Section V. Any allegations of violations of this policy will be investigated by the Department of Human Resources.
The Metropolitan Government recognizes the need for pro-active education and training for employees to help prevent incidents of workplace violence. Toward that end, the Metropolitan Government is committed to providing access to resources and information, and will incorporate mandatory, periodic domestic violence training as part of its on-going training program for employees. This training will include information on how to recognize domestic violence and respond to domestic violence. Additionally, supervisors and appointing authorities will receive specialized training on how to respond to reports of domestic violence and refer employees to resources. This training will be conducted on a rolling basis for existing employees and then every four years following the initial training. Training will be provided to new hires in conjunction with their initial training/orientation period.
ORDERED, EFFECTIVE AND ISSUED:
Metropolitan County Mayor
Date: October 29, 2018