Helping an employee through divorce (Guest commentary)

Breakups can take financial toll on employers, emotional toll on colleagues
By Deborah Moskovitch
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 01/26/2012

Divorce or the breakdown of a relationship is an extremely emotional process. People are often confused, filled with fear and unsure of how to navigate the process. Their world is turned upside down, triggering unsettling and distressful emotions. The effects of the emotional distress in the workplace can be devastating.

Close to 50 per cent of marriages in North America end in divorce. The divorce rate rises to a staggering 60 per cent and higher for subsequent divorces by these same individuals. Clearly, we need to employ strategies that will get everyone, including those caught in the middle — often the children — off the “divorce-go-round” and on to a better life. We need to encourage healthy new beginnings, even when divorce looks like an end.

On a classic rating scale of stressful life events, divorce consistently ranks number two — second only to the death of a spouse or child. People often feel overburdened and lack confidence so it’s not surprising many buckle under the pressure.