Australia Domestic and Family Violence Policy

Purpose 

McLarens is committed to supporting colleagues affected by domestic and family violence. 

A sensitive and holistic approach to supporting colleagues allows them to continue to participate in the workplace during a difficult time. 

This policy provides a framework to support colleagues who experience domestic and family violence. Colleagues who are experiencing, or who are at risk of experiencing, domestic and family violence are encouraged to seek support from the workplace. 

This policy also acts as a guide for National Leadership Team members, Executive Adjusters, Operations Managers and Assistants to support colleagues whose work life is affected by 

domestic and family violence. It outlines support available within and outside the workplace for individuals, their managers, and their colleagues. 

Introduction 

Domestic and family violence is a pattern of abusive behaviour in an intimate relationship that over time puts one person in a position of power over another and causes fear. 

It is often referred to as a pattern of coercion and control. Statistically, domestic and family violence is most likely to be committed against women. Domestic and family violence can include, but is not limited to: 

  1. physical violence
  2. sexual assault or other sexually abusive behaviour; 
  3. emotional or psychological abuse; 
  4. verbal abuse; 
  5. spiritual or cultural abuse; and 
  6. economic or financial abuse 

Employees may sometimes experience situations of violence or abuse in their personal life which may affect their attendance or performance at work. 

McLarens recognises the potentially devastating impact that domestic and family violence can have on the lives of those who experience it, including their capacity to work and their financial security. 

McLarens is committed to supporting colleagues who experience domestic and family violence and providing a workplace environment that promotes flexibility in times of need. 

Immediate Danger 

If you are feeling unsafe in the workplace right now, contact either the Regional Director, Martyn Wicht M: 0403 468 777 or Operations Manager Jason Wyer on M: 0417 668 375 or call 000 for Emergency Services.

Confidentiality 

Information about a domestic and family violence situation should be handled similarly to other personnel and health information. 

Colleagues and Managers must maintain appropriate confidentiality in regard to personal information. Discussions with Executive Adjusters and Managers in the line of reporting or with Human Resources will be on a strictly need-to-know basis. 

Discussion should not include personal information without obtaining prior consent from the colleague. However, the Australian Privacy Principles permit the use and disclosure of personal information in certain circumstances including 

  • lessening or preventing a serious threat to life, health or safety; or 
  • taking appropriate action in relation to suspected unlawful activity or serious misconduct 

Roles and responsibilities 

Colleagues 
Colleagues who wish to access any of the support available within the workplace can contact any of the following people: 

  • their immediate direct line Executive Adjuster or Manager; 
  • Regional Director, Operations Manager and Operations Assistants; or 
  • Our Global Chief Human Resources Officer, Mesale Soloman-Mendes on M: +1 770-680-6758 

Colleagues can also seek assistance from an external service. A list of services, including 24-hour support services, and their contact details can be found at the end of this document. 

Colleagues experiencing domestic and family violence may choose to disclose their situation to a trusted colleague. Where such information is disclosed, the colleague should provide support to the employee by: 

  • listening without judgement and respecting their decisions 
  • maintaining appropriate confidentiality 
  • encouraging them to seek help from a domestic and family violence support organisation 
  • referring them to this procedure, the Employee Assistance Program, or any of the external support services listed at the end of this document. 

Where the colleague is concerned about the employee’s health and safety, they should speak to either our Operations Manager, Jason Wyer M: 0417 668 375 or Global Chief Human Resources Officer, Mesale Soloman-Mendes on M: +1 770-680-6758 

Colleagues who have had information disclosed to them are encouraged to seek support for themselves within or outside the workplace, including through the Employee Assistance Program, Global Whistleblowing Policy or an external support service.

Managers & Executive Adjusters 

The National Leadership Team and Executive Adjusters are responsible for ensuring colleagues are aware of this policy, and providing support, consistent with this policy, to colleagues affected by domestic and family violence. 

They may also be required to coordinate support with Human Resources for a colleague experiencing domestic and family violence. 

Where the National Leadership Team and Executive Adjusters are concerned about the wellbeing of a colleague, they should discuss their concerns with the colleague, encouraging them to use the assistance available if needed, and / or consult with Human Resources. 

Where a domestic and family violence raises work health and safety concerns, Managers and Executive Adjusters should discuss these with Global Chief Human Resources Officer, Mesale Soloman-Mendes on M: +1 770-680-6758 

Managers and Executive Adjusters should facilitate support for a colleague to the fullest extent possible in the workplace. 

If Managers and Executive Adjusters needs support as a result of a colleague disclosing family and domestic violence to them, they can also contact the Employee Assistance Provider or one of the external support services listed below. 

Human Resources 

Human Resources is responsible for providing advice to Colleagues, Managers and Executive Adjusters about this policy. They can also provide information on any other relevant policies and procedures. 

Human Resources is also responsible for coordinating workplace support for colleagues affected by domestic and family violence. This may include: 

  • developing a safety plan with the employee; 
  • coordinating security, support or assistance; and 
  • advising and liaising with the colleague’s line manager. 

The domestic and family violence contact officer in Human Resources is Global Chief Human Resources Officer, Mesale Soloman-Mendes on M: +1 770-680-6758 

Support 

Colleagues experiencing domestic and family violence may require a range of support. This may include: 

  • Flexible working arrangements. An employee experiencing violence from a member of their family has a right to request flexible working arrangements. These requests can only be refused on reasonable business grounds. Such requests could include: 
    • A change of hours to allow the employee to meet family commitments 
    • Changes to work location (where we have the accommodation for further staff members) or 
    • Relocation to suitable alternative employment where this is able to be identified 
  • Secure parking and other security measures where possible and as required; 
  • Change of phone number and email address to limit unwanted contact, or screening or blocking calls and emails; 
  • Contact with police on the colleague’s behalf where appropriate 
  • Flexibility in performance management—domestic and family violence should be acknowledged as a potential mitigating factor if performance has been affected. Executive Adjusters and Managers should: 
    • Continue to have regular, sensitive conversations with the colleague about the job requirements, performance expectations, and development opportunities of that performance cycle; 
    • with assistance from Human Resources, offer to develop workload strategies for work to be managed and performance assessed having regard to the colleagues circumstances; 
  • a mobile phone loan scheme to provide employees with a secure means of communication; 
  • emergency financial assistance by means of a salary advance that is repaid over an agreed period, e.g. to assist with relocation costs; 
  • Referral to external support through the Employee Assistance Program; 
  • Access to leave entitlements in accordance to the McLarens Employment Agreement; or 
  • Any other measures or changes to normal arrangements that are considered appropriate by McLarens. 

Leave 

Leave is provided in accordance with McLarens Employment Agreement and Leave Policy. 

These documents contain leave entitlements designed to assist colleagues and allow them flexibility to deal with personal crises, such as being affected by domestic or family violence. 

McLarens is committed to supporting colleagues experiencing domestic or family violence. A flexible and supportive approach will be taken to management of leave for colleagues affected by domestic or family violence. 

Colleagues who are affected by domestic or family violence may be granted leave for reasons including: 

  • Attending medical or counselling appointments; 
  • Moving into emergency accommodation and seeking more permanent safe housing; 
  • Attending court hearings; 
  • Attending police appointments; 
  • Accessing legal advice; 
  • Organising alternative care or educational arrangements for their children; 
  • Reasonable recovery periods. 

Personal / carer’s leave entitlements should be used: 

  • for illness or injury affecting the colleague resulting from domestic or family violence; 
  • to provide care or support to a family or household member who is ill or injured as a result of domestic or family violence; or 
  • to provide care or support to a family or household member who is affected by an unexpected emergency as a result of domestic or family violence. 

In circumstances where personal / carer’s leave does not apply, or if a colleague has exhausted their personal / carer’s leave entitlements, McLarens will make reasonable allowances, subject to the Employment Agreement and Leave Policy. 

This may include the colleague accessing other leave including annual leave, long service leave or miscellaneous leave. Miscellaneous leave may be approved with or without pay depending on the reason for and length of leave. 

Colleagues may be given flexibility in work hours and may be allowed to make up time where leave cannot be used. 

Where a colleague’s absence for reasons associated with domestic and family violence needs to be supported by evidence, the delegate will discuss with the colleague the available options, such as a statement from a legal representative or court. 

Recording absences 

The recording of absences will balance the privacy of the colleague and the need to monitor and report on leave usage. 

All records are to be kept securely and confidentially according to the McLarens Privacy Policy. 

McLarens may take a range of approaches to ensuring the employee’s confidentiality. These may include: 

1. ensuring that leave management systems include an ‘Other’ category where a reason must be specified for personal or miscellaneous leave 

2. having the delegate or the domestic and family violence contact officer in Human Resources facilitate the leave application. As an example: 

To ensure confidentiality, Global Chief Human Resources Officer or Operations Manager will advise the colleagues line manager that Miscellaneous Leave—Other has been approved and will organise for a leave form to be submitted on behalf of the employee. 

Perpetrators of Domestic and Family Violence 

Perpetrators of Domestic and Family Violence may be investigated for a potential breach of the Code of Conduct. 

McLarens understands that the workplace may include not only colleagues who are victims of, or affected by, domestic and family violence, but also perpetrators—and that this must also be handled appropriately and sensitively. 

McLarens will not tolerate domestic and family violence being perpetrated in or from the workplace. 

McLarens Code of Conduct requires colleagues, when acting in connection with their employment, to treat people with respect and courtesy and without harassment. 

Any colleague who: 

  • threatens, harasses or abuses a partner, ex-partner, family or household member at, or from, work or 
  • uses workplace resources such as phones or email to threaten, harass or abuse a family or household member

A colleague suspected of perpetrating violence will also be referred to the relevant support services, including the Employee Assistance Program. Domestic and family violence is a criminal offence and is subject to the relevant state or territory laws. 

The police should be notified of any incidents of domestic and family violence in the workplace. Colleagues can also report their concerns in line with the McLarens Whistleblowing Policy. 

Further assistance 

For any queries regarding the operation of this policy please contact Human Resources. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic and family violence, or you simply want to find out more, the following external services are available to provide information and assistance: 

  1. 1800Respect – National sexual assault, domestic family violence counselling service: 1800 737 732 
  2. McLarens Employee Assistance Program 
  3. Lifeline: 13 11 14—24-hour crisis support and referral 
  4. Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277 
  5. Mensline: 1300 789 978 
  6. EveryMan: 6230 6999 
  7. Department of Human Services Family and Domestic Violence Services
  8. Department of Social Services – Family Safety Pack 
  9. Domestic Violence Crisis Centre 
  10. National Disability Insurance Scheme – information for employees with a disability 
  11. Safesteps 
  12. Australian Indigenous Health Infonet – Family violence
  13. Another Closet – Domestic and Family Violence in LGBTIQ Relationships: 1800 65 64 63 
Document Control & Records Management History 
Prepared by Jason Wyer 
Authorised by Authorised by Martyn Wicht and Liz Tubb 
Updated 
Changes 
Effective date 05/06/2020 
Review Date 
Change Description 
Reference Number