Governor LePage Leads Businesses Owners and State Government to Address Issues of Domestic Violence in the Workplace

August 7, 2011

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Contact: Adrienne Bennett (207) 287-2531

Augusta, Maine – Governor Paul LePage today joined State employees, business owners, non-profit organization leaders and community members to announce a new tool aimed at eliminating domestic violence in the workplace. Wednesday afternoon in Fairfield the Governor unveiled a project, “Domestic Violence Abusers in the Workplace” a toolkit which employers can use to discourage acts of abuse.

“Domestic Violence is a pattern of destructive behavior that has an impact on individuals, communities and our entire State,” said Governor LePage. “As a man, it is important to speak up about this. As a man, it is important to say this abuse is wrong. As Governor, it is important to lead by example. Everyone, men in particular, must band together and make domestic violence unacceptable and I am ready, willing and able to lead the way.”

Every day, employers in Maine are faced with concerns that arise from domestic abuse and violence. This toolkit, which includes domestic violence facts, a sample policy for businesses and a video, will help businesses of all sizes recognize and respond to domestic violence abusers in the workplace. In 2010, more than 6000 people were arrested on charges relating to domestic abuse and employers lost millions of dollars in productivity, down time and exposure to lawsuits because of the abuse.

Gary Hammond, owner of Hammond Tractor in Fairfield, hosted today’s event and was the first to receive a domestic violence toolkit from Governor LePage. Hammond began his business in 1983 and unfortunately, experienced a workplace tragedy that prompted Hammond to speak out against domestic violence. “Our company is a small Maine family business, as many others are in Maine. We are like family here,” Hammond said. A few years ago we lost a co-worker to domestic violence. We remember her as “Courageous Linda”. The loss was an unnecessary tragedy. Our company and all other Maine companies need to take affirmative action to discourage and reduce acts of domestic violence.”

The kit is free and was paid for, in part, by the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence (MCEDV) and the Maine Department of Labor Safety Education Training Fund (SETF). SETF pays for free onsite workplace safety consultations to businesses as well as safety training and education programs.

“The issue of workplace response to domestic violence was targeted as a priority initiative because there weren’t a lot of existing resources to help employers respond,” Labor Commissioner Robert Winglass said. “When MCEDV approached us about the video, we thought that our share of the cost was very reasonable and a worthwhile investment.”

"Some issues, such as the safety of our families and communities, are so compelling that they transcend all the things that might divide us,” added Julia Colpitts Executive Director of the Maine Coalition to end Domestic Violence. “This "Abuser in the Workplace" partnership included non-profits, for profit companies, government agencies, community volunteers, Republicans and Democrats--all interested in producing high quality, Maine specific, practical solutions for domestic violence in the workplace."

At today’s event the Governor also signed an executive order which requires Departments of State government to issue a “Domestic Violence and the Workplace” policy. The executive order can be found at http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=GovExecutiveOrders&id=300270&v=article2011

Copies of the toolkit are available at the Maine Department of Labor, 54 State house Station, Augusta, ME or by calling 623-7900.