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- Politics, Law and Public Policy
Rutgers-Camden Law Professor Advises United Nations on Policy for Workplace Violence
CAMDEN — Domestic violence isn’t just something that happens at home. It can also become prevalent in the workplace as some two million American workers are victims of workplace violence each year.
“Domestic or sexual violence can be committed in the workplace itself, or its effects can spill over into the workplace,” says Sally Goldfarb, a professor of law at the Rutgers School of Law–Camden.
Goldfarb, who has written widely on domestic violence, recently was called upon to advise the United Nations on establishing its workplace policy concerning gender-based violence. Goldfarb spent two days meeting with U.N. officials in New York City to create a policy designed to prevent violence, hold perpetrators accountable, and protect the rights of victims.
“U.N. Women, the entity within the United Nations that works on women's issues, wants to create a strong policy for United Nations employees,” Goldfarb says. “Because the U.N. is an international body, its employees are not covered by state or federal laws that grant rights to workers. They are only covered by United Nations policy, so it's important that the policy fully protect the employees’ rights.”
Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at a work site, according to the United States Department of Labor. It can range from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults, and can affect employees, clients, customers, and visitors just as any other workplace health and safety issue.
Goldfarb says employers can protect their workers by creating workplace violence awareness and prevention programs, giving crime victims time off to get legal or medical help, helping workers enforce restraining orders, adopting a policy of non-discrimination against victims, and disciplining or discharging employees who commit acts of violence.
“All employers should be aware of the impact of gender-based violence on their employees and should take steps to address this issue,” she says. “A good policy can help protect workers and enhance the productivity and safety of the workplace.”
Goldfarb previously advised the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (a predecessor of U.N. Women) on how countries should design and enforce their laws on domestic violence, sexual assault, and other forms of gender-based violence. She assisted in drafting two U.N. reports concerning violence against women.
The Rutgers–Camden law scholar has participated in numerous academic symposia on the Violence Against Women Act, women's legal rights, same-sex marriage, and the impact of disasters on women and families. She has served on a number of boards and commissions, including the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Women in the Courts.
Goldfarb teaches courses in family law, sex discrimination, and torts at the Rutgers School of Law–Camden. She received her undergraduate and law degrees from Yale University.
Media Contact: Ed Moorhouse