Experts say the shooting deaths at a Carthage, N.C., nursing home in March 2009 should show employers that domestic violence can and often does affect the workplace. “The Carthage nursing home case is a stern wake-up call to employers that they do face liability if they ignore domestic violence,” said Margee Herring, a public relations consultant. Prosecutors allege Robert Kenneth Stewart was looking for his estranged wife when he killed eight people with a shotgun at the Pinelake Health & Rehabilitation Center, where she worked. Stewart was sentenced recently to at least 142 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of eight counts of second-degree murder. Now, family members of four of the victims have filed suit against Peak Resources, which owns Pinelake, and Stewart’s ex-wife, Wanda Neal. The families claim the company was aware that Neal had left her husband and was concerned he might come looking for her. The suit said Neal was then transferred to work in a locked Alzheimer’s unit on the day of the shootings. The company argues that Neal was placed there because the home was short on staff that day. Johnny Lee, the director of Raleigh, N.C.-based nonprofit Peace at Work, said that domestic violence’s effects on employees reach far beyond the home and into the workplace. One study found that nearly three-quarters of domestic violence victims reported that an abusive partner showed up at their workplace and created problems.
Does your place of employment ignore domestic violence? Should or shouldn’t they?