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It's a Human Right: Using International Human Rights Principles to Assist Employees Experiencing Domestic Violence
Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal (2014)
  • Stephen Arnott, Hamline University
  • Margaret C. Hobday, Hamline University
While the legal approach to addressing domestic violence has advanced significantly in the last thirty years, most employers in the United States may terminate an employee experiencing domestic violence. A few states and local governments impose at least limited obligations on private employers to assist these employees, however. Some of these laws, particularly those that require flexible, situation-specific employment accommodations reflect positive values of freedom, individual empowerment, and human dignity that undergird most international human rights principles. The principles are valuable tools in advocating for domestic violence victims, specifically in preventing and redressing domestic violence's effects on employees.

While the United States remains indifferent to many international instruments, state and local governments can, and have been, using them to advance fundamental human rights. Additionally, a recent decision by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights finding the United States in breach of its international obligations to protect against domestic violence by private actors has focused renewed attention on government's responsibilities in preventing domestic violence. While others have advocated for similar employment legislation, this article provides another reason for doing so. Such legislation attempts to take the violence out of the employees' private sphere, encourages a frank discussion about the employees' specific needs, and involves employers in proactively supporting the employees in maintaining their autonomy and right to dignity through work.
Publication Date
Citation Information
Stephen Arnott and Margaret C. Hobday. "It's a Human Right: Using International Human Rights Principles to Assist Employees Experiencing Domestic Violence" Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal Vol. 18 Iss. 1 (2014)
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