Domestic violence is a complex problem with no simple, single solution. Preventing and addressing domestic violence requires effort at many different levels. Collective bargaining can play an important role in keeping people safe and supported at work. It provides unions with a powerful tool to secure workplace support and policies and to hold employers accountable. By negotiating language on domestic violence, unions also send a strong message that domestic violence will not be tolerated and may help members feel more comfortable disclosing their situation and getting the help they need.
Principles for collective bargaining
The CLC strongly encourages unions to include provisions designed to protect and support employees who are experiencing domestic violence in line with the following principles. Collective agreement language should, at a minimum, do the following:
- Provide dedicated paid leave for employees experiencing family or domestic violence;
- Disclose information only on a “need to know” basis to protect confidentiality while ensuring workplace safety;
- Implement workplace safety strategies, including risk assessments, safety plans, training and a timely and effective process for resolving concerns;
- Provide for counselling and referral to appropriate support services;
- Provide appropriate training and paid time off work for designated support roles (including union health and safety representatives);
- Provide employees experiencing domestic violence with flexible work arrangements, an advance of pay, and other accommodations; and
- Protect employees from adverse action or discrimination on the basis of their disclosure, experience, or perceived experience of domestic violence.