TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Linda Greenstein that would require the Civil Service Commission to develop a uniform domestic violence policy, which all public employers would be required to adopt and distribute to their employees, was approved today by the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee.
“Many times we do not know the pain and suffering of the people we are working withon a daily basis,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer-Middlesex). “This legislation will provide the necessary resources and assistance that survivors need at a critical moment in their lives. Domestic violence can have adverse repercussions on the emotional and psychological state of a person and their family. Since we know that the workplace is often a person’s only safe place, having resources available for them is critically important. Hopefully, this will help more survivors seek the help they need.”
The bill,S-2907, would require the Civil Service Commission to ensure the implementation of the policy with personnel such as human resources officers, law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, social workers, and other individuals trained in counseling, crisis intervention, or in the treatment of domestic violence victims and to review the uniform domestic policy periodically and modify the policy as needed.
Under the bill, the uniform domestic violence policy would be required to include a) a declaration encouraging employees who are victims of domestic violence to contact their human resources officer and seek assistance; b) a confidential method for employees to report domestic violence incidents to human resources officers; c) a confidentiality policy to which human resources officers receiving reports of domestic violence would be required to adhere, unless a domestic violence incident poses an emergent danger to employees and the involvement of law enforcement is necessary; d) a listing of available State and local resources, support services, treatment options, advocacy and legal services, medical and counseling services, and law enforcement assistance services for domestic violence victims; e) a requirement that an employee’s records pertaining to a domestic violence incident or domestic violence counseling be kept separate from the employee’s other personnel records; f) an explanation of the requirements of the “New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act”; and g) a requirement for the public employer to develop a plan to identify, respond to, and correct employee performance issues that may be caused by a domestic violence incident.
The bill was approved by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee with a vote of 5-0. It next heads to the full Senate for consideration.