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Maine State Library Policy Concerning Workplace Response to Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking
Given that domestic violence is a serious public policy concern of this State, Governor John E. Baldacci issued Executive Order 25FY04/05 that recognizes the State’s obligation as an employer to provide special assistance to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
The Maine State Library, consistent with the Executive Order, establishes this policy to create a work environment in which employees are comfortable discussing issues of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, and more importantly, an environment in which employees affected by these issues feel comfortable contacting any supervisor or Responder to seek support from the Department and to learn about available resources.
Assistance to employees will be guided by the following policy sections addressing:
- Response and Assistance to Employees Who are Victims
- Response and Assistance to Employees Who are Perpetrators
- Training and Outreach
- Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Batterers’ Intervention, and State of Maine Employee Assistance Program resources are attached to this policy.
This Maine State Library will not tolerate any act of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking in the workplace, and will take action to prevent and correct the misuse of the State’s resources in connection with any act of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, including harassment or violent or threatening behavior that may result in physical or emotional injury to any State employee, while in State offices, facilities, work sites, vehicles, conducting State business, or traveling on behalf of the State.
- An individual who commits domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
- Domestic Violence:
- A pattern of coercive behavior that is used by a person against family or household members to establish and maintain power or control over the other party in the relationship. This behavior may include physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional and psychological intimidation, verbal abuse and threats, stalking, isolation from friends and family, economic control, and destruction of personal property.
- Employees with supervisory responsibility and other designated individuals who will respond to victims and abusers and who will receive comprehensive training on best practices for identifying and responding to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
- Sexual Assault:
- An act of sexual violence whereby a party forces, coerces, or manipulates another to participate in unwanted sexual activity. This behavior may include stranger rape, date and acquaintance rape, marital or partner rape, incest, child sexual abuse, sexual contact, sexual harassment, ritual abuse, exposure, and voyeurism.
- Repeated unwanted contact between two people that directly or indirectly communicates a threat or places the victim in fear. Stalking may occur between intimate partners, acquaintances, or strangers. Stalking behaviors include but are not limited to: following a person; appearing at a person's home or place of business; making harassing phone calls; sending letters or e-mails; leaving written messages or objects; or vandalizing a person's property. In Maine, stalking is a crime and is defined more specifically in the criminal statutes in 17-A M.R.S.A.§210-A.
- State Resources:
- Include are but are not limited to workplace telephones, State cell phones or pagers, facsimile machines, mail, electronic mail, a State vehicle, a State credit card, or other State employees.
- An individual subjected to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
- An employee is considered to be in work status when the employee is conducting State business, is in State-owned or leased workspace, is using the facilities or services of the State, is using State resources or equipment, is using a vehicle that is owned or leased by the State or its agencies, is attending a work-related conference, or is traveling on behalf of the State.
- Workplace Safety Plan:
- A strategy developed in corroboration with a victim to implement workplace safety options, including, but 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 telephone, fax, e-mail, or mail harassment; and, keeping a photograph of the abuser or a copy of an existing court order in a confidential on-site location and providing copies to designated personnel.
III. Persons Covered by This Policy
Persons covered by this policy include Department employees, interns, contractors, volunteers or temporary workers, in any workplace location.
This Maine State Library recognizes and respects an employee’s right to privacy. The Maine State Library will maintain the confidentiality of an employee’s disclosure unless the substance of the employee’s disclosure demands otherwise. Disclosure will be necessary if an abuser presents a threat to the safety of any employee in the workplace.
Whenever possible, the employee will be given notice of necessary disclosures.
V. Response and Assistance to Employees Who are Victims
The Department seeks to offer support and referrals for assistance to victims who disclose concerns or request help. Disclosures may be made to any supervisor or responder with whom a victim is comfortable.
If an employee of the Department has reason to believe that a co-worker is a victim, the concerned employee is encouraged to contact a Responder.
Where the other party in an incident of domestic violence or sexual assault involving a Cultural Agency employee is an employee of another State agency, the Director of Support Services will inform that other agency to assure that appropriate responses to the situation are coordinated, when there is reason to believe a workplace issue exists.
If a survivor discloses domestic abuse the person informed should send the following messages: you are not alone, you are not to blame, there is help available, and I am concerned about your safety. The person may wish to refer the survivor to the resources listed below:
A Responder will provide referral information to victims, which may include:
- Maine State Library Policy Concerning Workplace Response to Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking.
- Local and State domestic violence resources;
- Local and State sexual assault resources;
- Advocacy and legal services;
- Medical and counseling services;
- Capitol Security or other law enforcement agencies; and
- Employee Assistance Program.
If any person is in imminent danger in the workplace, that person, a co-worker, the person’s supervisor, or any other person in a supervisory or managerial position should notify building security immediately, Capitol Security or local law enforcement.
C. Safety Planning
The Department will work with victims to develop an individualized workplace safety plan when necessary. The safety plan may include, but is not limited to, the following measures:
- Screening telephone calls;
- Providing a new work space;
- Setting an alternate work schedule;
- Arranging an escort to and from parking areas; and
- Sharing information concerning the perpetrator with local law enforcement.
D. Reasonable and Necessary Leave
Employees who are victims may need leave time.
Leave will be consistent, at a minimum, with 26 M.R.S.A. §850, which requires employers to grant reasonable and necessary leave from work, with or without pay, for an employee to prepare for and attend court proceedings; receive medical treatment or attend to medical treatment for a victim who is the employee’s daughter, son, parent or spouse or obtain necessary services to remedy a crisis caused by domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. The leave must be needed because the employee or daughter, son, parent or spouse is a victim of violence, assault, sexual assault, stalking or any act that would support an order for protection.
Leave benefits may include, as applicable:
- Sick or vacation leave;
- Family and Medical Leave Act;
- Unpaid leave; or
- Catastrophic Leave Bank.
E. Court Orders
- Victims are encouraged to disclose the existence of Temporary or Permanent Orders for Protection from Abuse or Harassment to any departments supervisors or a Responder, particularly where the order includes a provision that the perpetrator is not to have contact with the victim at the victim’s place of employment.
- The Maine State Library Director of Support Services will develop and implement necessary protocols related to orders. Under no circumstances will these orders be placed in an employee’s personnel file.
F. Work Performance
- When a victim has performance or conduct problems as a result of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, the Department will offer support and an opportunity to correct the problems. Supervisors may develop a work plan with the employee to assist and support the employee in meeting performance expectations.
- Nothing in this policy alters the authority of this Department to establish performance expectations, counsel employees, impose discipline, reassign duties, place an employee on leave, or take other action as it deems appropriate.
- Information or documents pertaining to a victim’s involvement in a domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking situation will be kept separately from the employee’s personnel records and will not be considered for purposes of hiring or promotion.
- In the event that an employee is ultimately unable to maintain employment with the Department as a result of domestic violence, the employee will be provided with information about Title 26, M.R.S.A., §§1043 and 1193 (Unemployment Compensation Disqualification and Misconduct Clauses) which provides victims with the right to collect unemployment benefits if they leave their employment in order to preserve their own safety, or if they have been terminated because of performance issues stemming from domestic violence.
VI. Response and Assistance to Employees Who are Perpetrators
The Department encourages employees who are perpetrators to voluntarily seek assistance from any of the resources listed at the end of this policy or the State’s confidential Employee Assistance Program.
Employees who engage in behaviors on-duty that constitute domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination. In some cases, where there is a connection between off-duty conduct of this nature and one’s employment with the State, that off-duty conduct may lead to discipline, up to and including termination.
Any retaliatory action resulting from an employee making a complaint or observation of domestic violence, or otherwise asserting rights or responsibilities under this policy or relevant laws is a serious violation of this policy and will be subject to disciplinary action.
If an employee is concerned that a co-worker is a perpetrator of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking the employee should discuss their concern with the proper Human Resources staff who will determine the appropriate action. The employee is discouraged from confronting the co-worker directly.
A. On Duty
Any employee who commits domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking in the workplace (see definition) will be subject to corrective or disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
In addition, any employee who uses any State resource (see definition) at any time or place to commits domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking will be subject to corrective or disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
B. Off Duty
Any employee who is: (i) found by the Department to have engaged in domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking; or (ii) arrested, convicted, or named as a defendant in a protective order as a result of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, may be subject to corrective or disciplinary action, up to and including termination when such action has a nexus/connection to their employment with the State.
C. Protective Orders
Any employee who is named as a defendant must disclose any order from protection from abuse or harassment, or any condition of bail or probation applicable to the employee that includes:
- Conditions that may interfere with the employee’s ability to perform job duties;
- Conditions prohibiting or limiting contact with other employees of this Department; or
- Conditions prohibiting or limiting contact with State employees of other Departments with whom there is a work relationship.
The employee must disclose the above information to their Bureau or Division Director or any personnel staff in the Division of Support Services at the beginning of the employee’s next scheduled work day.
Failure to provide the above information may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.
VII. Training and Outreach
A. Policy Distribution
This policy will be distributed to all persons covered by this policy, will be posted at all Cultural Agencies’ facilities, and will be posted to the Department’s web site at: www.maine.gov/msl/policies/
Each person covered by this policy shall sign a statement acknowledging that the person has received and read the policy. Employees’ statements will be retained in personnel files. Statements signed by other persons covered by this policy will be retained by the person’s primary contact at the Department.
- All current employees will receive policy awareness training. All new employees will receive training as part of New Employee Orientation.
- Persons who must attend specialized training designated by the Department focusing on identifying and responding to issues of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking in the workplace include:
- All employees newly hired or promoted into managerial or supervisory positions;
- All current managers and supervisors; and
- To carry out the purpose of this policy, the Department will establish an ongoing Training and Outreach Committee. The committee will provide opportunities for education and discussion on domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking issues.
- Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Batterers’ Intervention, and State of Maine Employee Assistance Program resources are provided at the end of this policy.
The State of Maine also has policies covering Equal Employment Opportunity/ Affirmative Action, Harassment, and E-Mail Usage and Management.
The Maine State Library is sensitive to the needs of employees affected by domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. The Department will strive to heighten awareness among staff and provide ongoing training and resource information.