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Domestic Violence At Work

In Massachusetts, financial analyst "Melinda," which is what she asked us to call her, remains afraid of her ex-husband, reports CBS News Correspondent Jacqueline Adams.

"When I was pregnant with our first child, he picked me up and threw me to the ground," says Melinda.

She knows that abuse doesn't have to be physical to disrupt work.

"Since he didn't want me to work, so that I wouldn't be independent. He would do things like not pass on messages. If I brought home a disk to work on, he would throw the disk away so that I couldn't find it," she says.

Increasingly, job sites are becoming as much a battleground for abusive relationships as the home. Last year, nearly a million women suffered domestic abuse at the hands of a current or disgruntled lover, and the Department of Labor reports that 96 percent of employed victims saw their abuse problem spill over into the workplace.

"As an employer, you can see the impact of domestic violence in lost productivity, absenteeism, and more sick days," says Jane Randel of Liz Claiborne.

Her company is addressing the domestic violence issue to help both its customers and employees.

"Every year, millions of women are abused," she says. "So, chances are, someone you care about may be getting hurt."

For almost a decade, the corporation has produced public service announcements. The company has also raised thousands of dollars for domestic violence programs by selling special T-shirts and watches. And it offers employees information and counseling, as well as protection from abusive partners.

"If someone's having a problem at home, we want to help them. We want them to be safe in the workplace and in their homes," Randel continues.

Melinda's employer wasn't as understanding. She was fired.

"When I tried to confide in people at work, they told me that I was unprofessional for bringing anything personal at all to the job," Melinda says.

And Melinda's experience is common. Despite the personal and professional costs of domestic violence, a Liz Claiborne survey found that only 12 percent of American CEOs think corporations should be tackling the issue.

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