Blue Shield of California Protects 6,800 Employees with Workplace Domestic Violence Policy Adapted from Legal Momentum's "This Workplace Is a DV-Free Zone" Model Policy

December 9, 2015
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Jean Gazis

Penny Venetis

New York, NY— Blue Shield of California announced Friday that it has adapted Legal Momentum's "This Workplace Is a DV-Free Zone" model policy and instituted a comprehensive workplace domestic violence policy to protect its 6,800 employees.

Blue Shield of California is a not-for-profit health plan with 4 million members and more than $13 billion in annual revenue. The Blue Shield Foundation is California's largest private funder of domestic violence services and prevention.

Domestic violence causes millions of days of lost work and billions of dollars in lost productivity every year. It is estimated that a quarter of workplace violence events in the U.S. each year are related to partner violence. More than one in five full-time employed adults have been victims of partner violence; 64% of them indicated their work performance was significantly impacted. "We recognize that domestic violence—whether occurring at or outside of the workplace—can become a workplace issue that affects the safety, health, and productivity of our own employees," said Paul Markovich, President and CEO of Blue Shield of California.

Although most employers recognize that domestic violence often impacts the workplace, the majority have no formal workplace domestic violence policy. Legal Momentum developed its "This Workplace Is a DV-Free Zone" model policy to bridge this gap. Legal Momentum's policy addresses situations where an employee is either a perpetrator or a victim of domestic violence. The ten-page policy is a synthesis of best practices that is simple, succinct, and beneficial to both employees and employers.

Legal Momentum's President and CEO, Carol Robles-Román, said "Blue Shield of California's commitment to ending domestic violence sets a gold standard that all employers should follow. It has been a privilege for Legal Momentum to collaborate with Blue Shield of California to develop a workplace domestic violence policy that protects all Blue Shield of California employees with a 'DV-Free Zone.'"

Penny Venetis, Executive Vice President and Legal Director of Legal Momentum, said "By implementing this comprehensive workplace domestic violence policy, Blue Shield of California is creating a workplace that is safe, secure, and accommodating for employees who are victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Legal Momentum stands ready to work with employers of all sizes to implement effective workplace policies."

Currently, other employers, municipalities, and nonprofit organizations around the country are in the process of implementing Legal Momentum's "This Workplace Is a DV-Free Zone" workplace domestic violence model policy. For information on how to adopt the policy in your workplace, visit Legal Momentum's website at or email

About Legal Momentum

Legal Momentum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1970 to advance the rights of women across the nation by using the power of the law and creating innovative public policy in three broad areas: economic justice, freedom from gender-based violence, and equality under the law. Successful initatives include judicial education programs on the realities of sexual assault, domestic violence, and their intersection; successful advocacy for the Violence Against Women Act and for expanded protections for Native American and other survivors of violence in its 2013 reauthorization; and representing women who have been subjected to workplace pregnancy and gender discrimination with precedent-setting litigation. For more information, visit or email