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Making the ethical case for effective domestic abuse policy and practice: the role of trade unions

Tony Bennett (iROWE (Institute for Research into Organisations, Work and Employment), Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise, University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), Preston, UK)
Gemma Wibberley (iROWE (Institute for Research into Organisations, Work and Employment), Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise, University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), Preston, UK)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 27 December 2022

43

Abstract

Purpose

This paper focusses on the role of trade unions in policy and practice designed to address the workplace impact of domestic abuse. The paper aims to examine this union remit through the lens of corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Design/methodology/approach

In-depth interviews were conducted with 39 union representatives in a region of England to capture their views on and experiences of supporting members experiencing domestic abuse.

Findings

There is a clear ethical model by which the unions might articulate the key moral, legal and business drivers in determining effective domestic abuse policy and practice. Furthermore, the degree of “proximity”, in terms of union deliberation with employers and particularly joint action following disclosure, suggests that unions could play a key part in achieving “substantive” domestic abuse policy and practice within organisations.

Originality/value

Despite unions' capacity to offer significant support to employers and employees, the role of unions in addressing the workplace impact of domestic abuse is under-researched. With reference to the concept of CSR, the article adds to the knowledge of how to address the workplace impact of domestic abuse.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank all participants and the TUC for the co-operation with the research study. Dr Carol Jones was integral in the research design, development and process but left before the paper was developed. The authors would also like to thank the reviewers and editor for the support with this paper.

Funding: The project was conducted with the kind support of the TUC and funded by Higher Education Industry Funding (HEIF); Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise, University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University.

Conflict of interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest.

Citation

Bennett, T. and Wibberley, G. (2022), "Making the ethical case for effective domestic abuse policy and practice: the role of trade unions", Employee Relations, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ER-05-2022-0214

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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