Intimate Partner Violence and Economic Security: An Analysis of State Employment Statutes for Victims of Intimate Partner Violence

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In the past decade, few studies in the U.S. have focused on the consequences of partner violence on the victims’ employment and the places where they work. Even fewer have examined state employment protection policies for victims of intimate partner violence (IPV). A first step in determining how and whether employment protection policies are effective in shielding victims of partner violence from the economic consequences associated with this social problem is to identify which states have implemented employment protection legislation. A systematic content analysis of state employment protection policies for victims of IPV was conducted to identify the states that have statutes that protect IPV victims’ employment, and to determine the parameters of these employment laws. Preliminary results suggest that states have passed a variety of employment protection laws, but the types of statutes vary significantly across the 50 states. Employment protection policies fall into three broad categories: work leave policies, protection services policies, and education policies. Work leave policies focus on the circumstances under which a victim can take time off. Protection services guard the victims against employment discrimination, penalize the non compliant employers, provide unemployment insurance benefits, and offer workplace restraining order. Finally, education policies make it obligatory for employers to provide domestic violence employee awareness and assistance policies. Certain provisions and qualification parameters must be met for the victims to be eligible for work leave or protection services. For instance, to be eligible to take a leave of absence from work approximately 8% of states require that the victim give advance notice to the employer unless not feasible because of imminent danger. Findings from this study have important implications for employed victims, victims’ advocates, workplaces and state policy makers.


Keywords: Intimate Partner Violence and Workplace, Intimate Partner Violence and Economic Security, U.S. Employment Protection Policies for Partner Violence Victims
Stream: Sociology, Geography
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Jennifer Swanberg

Associate Professor, College of Social Work, University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY, USA

Jennifer E. Swanberg, Ph.D., is the executive director and founder of the Institute for Workplace Innovation (iWin) at the University of Kentucky (UK), an associate professor in the UK College of Social Work with joint appointments in the Colleges of Medicine and Public Health, and a faculty affiliate with the UK Center on Poverty Research and the Center for the Advancement of Women’s Health. Dr. Swanberg is also a Research Fellow of the Boston College Work & Family Roundtable. Her principal research interests include the development of quality workplaces as a business and work-life effectiveness strategy, access to workplace flexibility among under-represented working populations, and the use of human capital and quality workplaces as an economic development strategy. She has been recognized by Alliance of Work-Life Progress as one of the profession’s Rising Stars, and her research has been selected as one of the top 10 research articles by the Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research. Dr. Swanberg serves on the boards of Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation, and the University of Kentucky Center on Poverty Research.

Mamta Ojha

Doctoral Candidate, College Of Social Work, University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY, USA

Mamta U. Ojha is a research fellow at the Institute for Workplace Innovation (iWin). She is engaged in a state policy analysis of the employment protection supports available for victims of intimate partner violence. As a research fellow her responsibilities at iWin include project and data management, survey instrument design, data analysis, and literature review. Ms. Ojha has a B.A. in psychology from Lucknow University, India, and an M.S.W. from the University of Kentucky. Currently she is pursuing her doctorate at the College of Social Work, University of Kentucky. Her primary research interests include work-life issues of immigrant workers.

Ref: I08P0250