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CASE STUDIES: A MODEL RESPONSE TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE GAP INC. Julie East, Gap Inc. Global Senior Employee Relations Manager Dan Schlosser, Banana Republic Regional Loss Prevention Manager David Harris, Banana Republic Field Human Resources Manager
Who is Gap Inc. ? • Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime, Athleta • 3, 170 stores worldwide, nine distribution campuses and call centers, HQ located in SF and NYC • 150, 000 employees worldwide • Gap Inc. strives to create an employee culture and engagement based on our values and policies that support a positive, open work environment.
Domestic Violence in the Workplace at Gap Inc. • Our priorities include: – Safety of all employees and customers – Support and dignity of the victim • Our process includes: – An assessment and EAP referral – Where necessary an investigation – Resolution for the business
Case Study Miguel, a supervisor in one of our Banana Republic stores, notices that Sarah, a part-time sales associate, was not acting like her “usual self. ” She is usually positive, outgoing and always smiling; however, today her behavior is very subdued. Miguel approaches Sarah and asks her if she is OK, to which she responded that she is in a difficult position at home.
Case Study She explains that she lives with her boyfriend, Tom, who physically and emotionally abuses her. Sarah goes on to explain that he got her fired from her last job because he came into her workplace and caused a big scene. Last night he threatened to harm her at work.
Case Study Sarah tells Miguel that she is afraid for her safety. Miguel, in turn, contacts his district manager, Samantha. Although she does not mention it to Miguel, secretly Sarah is afraid for Miguel's safety because Tom believes that Sarah is having an affair with Miguel. Tom had made threats to her, specifically stating that he intended to kill Miguel with the gun he owned. Tom also threatened to beat Sarah so that her face would be unrecognizable.
Assessment 1. Inform appropriate business partners regarding the situation: • District Manager immediately contacts her Human Resources Manager (HRM) and Loss Prevention Manager (LPM); the HRM then reaches out to the Employee Relations Manager (ERM). • ERM / LPM / HRM / District Manager (DM) connect and assess the immediate level of risk to Sarah and the store.
Assessment 2. Assess what we know: • The victim has an immediate concern for her safety. • The alleged has stated he intends to harm her in the workplace. • Alleged has a history of violence and possesses or has access to weapons. • A similar incident has occurred between the victim and the alleged before.
Assessment 3. Assign the case leader: • Based on the initial information provided, the ERM will lead the handling of this situation; LPM will provide assistance in securing the location. HRM will prepare for interviewing Sarah and Miguel.
Assessment 4. Determine immediate steps to support Sarah and ensure workplace is secure: • Approve EAP for Sarah (as a part-timer). Be prepared to explain what support the EAP can provide (counseling, help with a safety plan at home, referral to safe house or other community resources). • Consider work modifications (paid administrative leave for Sarah? ). (continued…)
Assessment 4. Determine immediate steps to support Sarah and ensure workplace is secure • Explore with Sarah what, if any, legal actions she is considering. • Armed Security Coverage • Daily scheduled check-ins to ensure incident has not escalated. (maintain until situation is resolved)
Workplace Violence Assessment Tool
Interim Safety Steps
Security Guard Service Engagement Security Guard Services Offered • On-site armed or unarmed security guards • Security Consulting • Investigation Services including background/data research (HR approval only) • Threat Management • Protection Services
Security Guard Service Engagement Security Guard Consideration Points • The complainant has an immediate concern for his/her safety and cannot be removed from the business. • The threat involves multiple employees in a store or the location (i. e. , employee/non-employee threatens to shoot one or more employees at the location). • Alleged possesses or has access to weapons and/or has a history of violence.
Security Guard Service Engagement Security Guard Consideration Points • A credible threat of violence or harm based on the individual’s past history or involvement in escalated situations is present. • Incident involves a physical act of violence or a similar incident has occurred between the victim and the alleged before. • There has been a business disruption (i. e. , location closure, mall closure, high publicity).
Investigation HRM meets with Sarah to gain further clarity regarding Tom’s background and the threats he made.
Investigation Ask questions to ascertain the relationship between Sarah and Tom: • How long have you known Tom? • What specific actions did Tom say would occur next? • Do you have anything or anyone who ties you to this person (e. g. , children, possessions, etc. )? • Has there been abuse in the past? Verbal, physical?
Investigation Ask questions to ascertain the relationship between Sarah and Tom: • Describe these incidents in which Tom became threatening or physically harmed you in the past? • Have you ever been to the police? If so, what was the outcome? • Have you ever gotten an order of protection (restraining order) against Tom? What happened after the order was administered?
Investigation Review Tom’s individual history: • Does Tom have any history of violence? • Has Tom ever been convicted or arrested of a crime to your knowledge? If so, for what? • Does Tom have any association with any gangs or organizations that you are aware of?
Investigation Ask questions to gain any further information: • What are your plans now? Are you planning to change any part of your current situation? • Do you, your family or friends know of the situation? If so, what have they recommended? • Do any of your co-workers or managers know, and can they recognize Tom?
Investigation Capture alleged personal information: • Full name • Date of birth • Address of record • Distinguishing characteristics (for easy identification should alleged come to location) • Request picture of alleged (if applicable)
Investigation Review Next Steps with Sarah: • Offer EAP • Discuss Sarah’s role as it relates to the safety issues – Process forwarding any requested information or documents. – Timeframe and steps that will be taken to assess the risk.
Investigation Review Next Steps with Sarah: • Review confidentiality. • Get the complainant's contact information. • Agree when you will need to speak with the complainant next; provide your contact information.
Investigation Conduct Next Steps • Acquire background check on Tom. • Meet with Miguel. – How long have you known Tom? • Confer with Forensic Psychologist. – Does Tom have any history of violence?
Resolution • Sarah has decided to move with her sister to another state - transfer to another store. Permanent transfer to another location at Sarah’s request. • Temporary transfer of Miguel to another location. • Sarah decided to file an order of protection against Tom. • Continued use of the EAP is provided to Sarah.
Resolution • Establish a commitment letter. – When the alleged is not an employee and recurrence of violence or threats cannot be tracked, this letter is signed by the complainant (EE) as a commitment to provide updated information as it becomes available regarding the alleged or the situation. • Continued LP / Security support for location for a determined length of time.
Question: How were we able to resolve the matter of the safety of the victim and the safety of the workplace as our priorities? Answer: Gap Inc. has created and implemented a formalized program to handle WPV / DV situations. It consists of: – process – role clarity – tools
Process • Our program consists of thinking about a domestic violence or other type of workplace violence situation in three phases: the assessment phase, the investigation phase and the resolution phase. • Development of a process map, which details the steps that occur and the tools that are utilized within each phase. • Education sessions with all ER / HR / LP leaders that would utilize the WPV program.
Phases ASSESSMENT PHASE Understand the issue in order to take interim steps to secure the safety of employees, customers and the workplace and provide support to the victim of domestic violence. INVESTIGATION PHASE Gain information to evaluate the situation and move to resolution. RESOLUTION PHASE Resolve the situation in a manner that is consistent with the company’s values and ensures the safety of all employees and customers.
Role Clarity for Internal Business Partners Employee Relations - Responsible to ensure appropriate case management, investigation and resolution. Escalate to appropriate internal experts for consultation (e. g. , Crisis Management, Legal). Involve external resources for consulting, as needed (e. g. , Dr. Madero, outside counsel). Responsible to inform ER leadership of case progression.
Role Clarity for Internal Business Partners Human Resources - Responsible for communication and information to and from the employee - and to ER, LP and Business Leaders. Provide recommendations during investigation and at resolution. Responsible to inform HR leadership of case progression. At times, may be the primary investigator and point of contact for involved employees.
Role Clarity for Internal Business Partners Loss Prevention - Ensure safety and security of employees, customers and store environment. Gather relevant information from local authorities. Engage and manage outside security vendor. Assess and consult during investigation and at resolution. Responsible to inform LP leadership of case progression.
Role Clarity for Internal Business Partners Business - Fact gatherer and conduit for information in and out and up and down. Executor of corrective action/outcome. Responsible to inform Business Leadership of case progression. At times, may be the primary investigator and point of contact for involved employees.
Tools Our program consists of tools which provide a construct for the appropriate expert to utilize during their involvement in handling a WPV / DV situation. Assessment: – – WPV assessment tool Interim safety steps Interim steps execution and conversation guidance Paid admin leave / Victims of Domestic & Sexual Violence Leave
Tools Investigation: – Handling investigations note taking – WPV / DV intake questions – WPV resource guidelines – Security guard service engagement
Tools Resolution: – WPV resolution options menu – Resolution conversation guidelines with complainant and alleged
Tools Other: – WPV policy and process map – Escalated issues monitoring and follow-up process – Indirect civil disturbance or incidents procedures – Commitment letter sample – Memo to file sample
Things to Think About • What culture have you established at your organization that enables your employees to approach their supervisors in situations such as WPV or DV? • Do you know the services provided by your EAP? Do they screen for domestic violence during intake?
Things to Think About • Are your people clear on what to do when they heard of domestic violence cases? • Do you have a process to assess and investigate (if necessary) with roles clearly identified? • Do you know all the options to consider? • Do you have an expert with which you can consult?