Gender-Based Violence and Harassment
Impacts ALL Workplaces

Domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and stalking impact more than 17 million people in the U.S. a year.1 Given its pervasiveness, gender-based violence and harassment (GBVH), including domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and harassment, and stalking, is impacting employee safety, well-being, and productivity.

When workplaces fail to proactively address GBVH, they become less safe and productive; as well as succumb to decreased morale among employees. No workplace will ever be 100% safe for everyone, but no matter where it occurs, GBVH can have impacts for not only the survivors, but also coworkers and the overall workplace. For example, domestic violence accounts for 27% of workplace violence that harms the survivor in addition to coworkers, supervisors, and the workplace environment.2 When this is paired with the knowledge that approximately 30% of mass shootings occur in the workplace3 and 59.1% of mass shooters were found to have a history of domestic violence,4 the likelihood of acts of domestic violence occurring the workplace increases.

Safety concerns are not limited to the workplace of the survivor. Rather, the person causing harm can become so distracted that they can create safety issues within their own workplace: a 2012 study found that nearly 20% of abusers responded that they had almost caused a safety accident due to concentration and distraction issues caused by their desire to control the survivor.5 These safety accidents can increase work stoppages as well as payment from the business for workers comp, health and worksite insurance, and employee leave due to injury. Not only can the harm-doers create an unsafe atmosphere for their coworkers, but many also reported using workplace resources (time, materials, equipment, etc.) to facilitate their harm.6 Overall, when someone is causing harm to another, they are contributing to safety and productivity concerns in their own workplace.

In addition to the safety concerns that stem directly from someone causing harm to an employee outside of work, centering survivors of GBVH can also save a business time and money. It is estimated that every year $137.8 billion is lost in productivity due to the impacts of violence on a survivor.7 This can be in the form of lost or distracted work days, decreased work output, as well as damage to company property due to the actions of the person causing harm.

Gender-based violence and harassment is a workplace issue. If we focus on supporting the safety and wellbeing of workers by understanding the manifestations of violence and trauma, implementing trauma-informed policies and practices, and educating employees to promote awareness and prevention, workplaces can create safer and more productive work environments in which all workers can thrive.

To learn more about how GBVH impacts employees and the workplace, visit:

  1. Leemis R.W., Friar N., Khatiwada S., Chen M.S., Kresnow M., Smith S.G., Caslin, S., & Basile, K.C. (2022). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2016/2017 Report on Intimate Partner Violence. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  ↩︎
  2. Department of Labor. (n.d.). DOL Workplace Violence Program. Retrieved from↩︎
  3. Ladika, S. (2023). Mass Shootings—Many in the Workplace—Are on the Rise. Retrieved from ↩︎
  4. Geller, L.B., Booty, M. & Crifasi, C.K. (2021). The role of domestic violence in fatal mass shootings in the United States, 2014–2019. Inj. Epidemiol. 8(38). ↩︎
  5. Ridley, E., et. al. (October, 2005). Domestic Violence Survivors at Work: How Perpetrators Impact Employment. Maine Department of Labor and Family Crisis Services: Augusta, Maine. Retrieved from ↩︎
  6. Ridley, E. (2004). Impact of domestic offenders on occupational safety and health: A pilot study. Maine Dep’t of Labor & Family Crisis Services. ↩︎
  7. Peterson, C., et al. (2018). Short-Term Lost Productivity per Victim: Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Violence, or Stalking, American Journal of Preventive Medicine 55(1), 106–10.  ↩︎