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FormerLegalSecy

Worker Shows Up Looking Battered

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Hello,

 

Question about what to do when a worker shows up repeatedly looking like she's been beaten up:

 

I am not this person's supervisor but she has been temporarily assigned to work on a project I am directing.  I would be, for example, the person she calls if she were calling in sick, and then I would notify her supervisor.  The first time she showed up looking like she'd been in a bar-room brawl I asked her if she was okay and she said "yes."  So I figured, well, she's here and says she's okay and she's doing the work she was assigned so it's none of my business.

 

About 2 weeks later she showed up again with a very poorly disguised black eye and large bruises on her arms which she was trying to hide with long sleeves even though it was a hot day.  I said something to her on the line of, "Oh that looks really painful.  Are you okay?"  She said she was fine.

 

On a couple of occasions she's come to work with her whole face so swollen she's only barely recognizable.  When asked if she was okay she said it was "allergies."

 

I am very concerned about this person.  I know that people who are subject to domestic violence often don't want to admit it for whatever reason.  I don't want to pry illegally into her medical status, and I don't want to butt in to something that is none of my business. But I also don't want to watch somebody who is possibly being the repeated victim of a crime right before my very eyes and be that person who "doesn't notice."

 

I do notice, and I am concerned.  But I don't know what I can, should, or am allowed to do in a workplace setting.

 

Thanks.

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6 hours ago, FormerLegalSecy said:

But I don't know what I can, should, or am allowed to do in a workplace setting.

 

Probably the best thing to do would be to discuss this with someone in your employer's HR department.

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Honestly, there isn't much HR can do if the person won't help themselves and insists everything is fine. If you have an EAP, I would mention it to her in a non-judgmental way in private and let her decide if she wants to make use of the resource. Maybe she is in a bad relationship, and maybe she is an amateur wrestler on the side (true story).

 

If there is an impact on the job, treat it as any other similar situation. Address the performance problem. Send her home if not fit to work, as you would anyone else who showed up too ill or injured to perform.

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1 minute ago, ElleMD said:

Honestly, there isn't much HR can do if the person won't help themselves and insists everything is fine.

 

I agree, but the OP's question was about what he or she "can, should, or [is] allowed to do in a workplace setting."  HR can counsel the OP about what he or she is allowed to do in the context of the workplace.  Beyond that, if the OP wants to hassle this person for details of her personal life, no law prevents him/her from doing so.

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Although you can not definitively assume that her injuries are from domestic violence, that is probably the most likely cause.  Consider sending the person an email or a letter that gives the contact information for one or more of the local domestic violence organizations and let the person know that you are available if she needs a sympathetic ear or if you can help in any other way.

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