CDA Essentials 2018 • Volume 6 • Issue 1

23 Issue 1 | 2019 | I ssues and P eople Barb MacQuarrie Community director of the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women & Children in the faculty of education at Western University. NadineWathen Gender-based violence researcher at Western University and research lead on the DV@Work Network, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Inna Koldorf Labour and employment lawyer and workplace investigator with Miller Thomson LLP’s Labour and Employment Law Group inVaughan, Ontario. Kathryn Frelick Health and privacy lawyer and leader of Miller Thomson LLP’s Health Industry Group in Toronto, Ontario. SCENARIO An employee feels unsafe because of her ex-boyfriend’s behaviour. How would you handle this situation? O ver the past month, you’ve noticed a change in one of the assistants who works at your practice. Usually, Janine is friendly and engaging with the patients, but lately she seems more withdrawn. Her work ethic remains strong, but because you’ve worked so closely with her over the last seven years, you sense that something is wrong. At the end of the day as you are finishing up paperwork, you notice that Janine seems frazzled and out of sorts. Besides you and her, just the office manager remains in the office, so it seems like a good time to approach Janine about your concerns. You ask her if she has a few minutes to talk. She seems slightly surprised but agrees. You open the conversation by stating that there is nothing to worry about with respect to her job. You let her know what you have observed over the last month and ask if there is anything happening in her life that is troubling her, and if she feels comfortable talking to you. Her eyes well up with tears. She tells you that she has recently ended a relationship with her boyfriend and he is distraught. Since the break-up, her ex has been following her on weekends and after work, texts her constantly, and keeps calling the office. He recently made an appointment as a new patient in an effort to try to see her. She tells you that she’s changed her cell phone number and is worried about her physical safety. To date, he has not threatened her and physical violence was not an issue in their relationship, though he was always on the jealous side and wanted to know where she was and what she was doing. After listening to her, you ask Janine what would help her to feel safer at work. Now, you consider this situation and have several questions about your responsibility as an employer, dentist and colleague. • Healthy Workplace Series •