Domestic Violence

At Queen's University, all students, faculty and staff have the right to pursue their academic or professional careers without domestic violence.

When domestic violence occurs in the workplace as the exercise/attempt to exercise/ threat to exercise physical force, Queen's managers, supervisors and department heads are bound by the Occupational Health and Safety Code to take "reasonable precautions" to protect their employees.

Domestic Violence is an attempt by one person to assert power and control over another person during/after an intimate relationship. It can include any/all of the following behaviours:

  • Physical violence
  • Sexual, emotional and psychological intimidation
  • Verbal abuse
  • Stalking
  • Using electronic devices to harass and control

Domestic Violence often includes elements of harassment and may lead to acts of violence.

The Ministry of Labour offers the following list of signs of domestic violence and stresses that it is important for employers to be able to recognize them in the workplace:

The victim may:

  • try to cover bruises;
  • be sad, lonely, withdrawn, and afraid;
  • have trouble concentrating on a task;
  • apologize for the abuser's behaviour;
  • be nervous when the abuser is in the workplace;
  • make last-minute excuses or cancellations; u
  • se drugs or alcohol to cope;
  • or miss work frequently or more often than usual.

The abuser may interfere with the victim while at work by:

  • repeatedly phoning or emailing the victim;
  • stalking and/or watching the victim;
  • showing up at the workplace and pestering co-workers with questions about the victim (Where is she? Who is she with? When will she be back?, etc.);
  • displaying jealous and controlling behaviours;
  • lying to co-workers (she's sick today, she's out of town, she's home with a sick child, etc.);
  • threatening co-workers (if you don't tell me, I'll...);
  • verbally abusing the victim or co-workers;
  • destroying the victim's or the organization's property;
  • or physically harming the victim and/or co-workers.

The abuser may attempt to prevent the victim from getting to work by:

  • Interfering with transportation by hiding or stealing the victim's car keys or transportation money;
  • Hiding or stealing the victim's identification cards;
  • Threatening deportation in a situation where the victim was sponsored;
  • Failing to show up to care for children;
  • or Physically restraining the victim.

When domestic violence manifests itself as workplace violence (i.e. the exercise of physical force or attempt/threat to exercise physical force in the workplace) employers are bound by the Occupational Health and Safety Code to take "reasonable precautions" to protect its employees. While each case should be treated on an individual basis, and with the collaboration of the employee where possible, it would likely be useful to create a safety plan to protect the employee in the workplace.

In order to provide a safe environment, it is important to learn how to talk appropriately and compassionately with employees who might be experiencing domestic violence in the workplace. This clip, from the BC Worksafe worksite, illustrates how managers should avoid language that unwittingly blames, discredits or belittles the employee.

If you have a question/concern about how to address domestic violence in the workplace or how domestic violence affects workers and the workplace or discuss a concern about domestic violence please contact:

Environmental Health and Safety

Queens' Human Rights Office

Campus Security | Emergencies: 613-533-6111

Queen's Student Wellness Services

Your union representative