Facing changes in employment status, whether it's termination, redundancy, retrenchment, or retirement, can bring unique challenges. Understanding how to navigate these transitions effectively is essential for employees. Each situation requires distinct approaches and considerations to handle them gracefully and ensure a smooth transition. Handling these scenarios with grace and practicality is crucial.
Reasons for Employment Termination
There are a number of reasons for job loss that if managed appropriately are reasonable grounds for termination of employment.
During recessions or economic crises, companies downsize.
Mergers, acquisitions, or reorganisations often result in redundancies.
Misconduct normally involves serious or repeated violations of company policies or unethical behaviour.
Sustained poor performance or inability to meet job expectations despite warnings or support might lead to dismissal.
Employee redundancy occurs when an employer decides the job is no longer needed or due to insolvency or bankruptcy. Here, the business is unable to continue operations, leading to employee termination.
Voluntary cessation of work due to age or personal choice.
Employers restructure, leading to role terminations or job elimination.
End of Contract
Contractual agreements reach their termination date, ending employment.
Unfair Dismissal and Wrongful Termination: Understanding the Difference
Sometimes, situations arise that amount to wrongful termination and unfair dismissal. Let's first understand these two terms.
Governed by specific legislation, unfair dismissal occurs when an employee is dismissed without a valid reason, does not follow procedural fairness, or does not meet statutory dismissal laws.
Often termed as wrongful dismissal, it involves a breach of contract or violation of statutory rights by the employer when ending an employee's contract. This less litigated area of employment law focuses on breaches unrelated to unfair dismissal laws.
Understanding the distinction between the two is crucial. Unfair dismissal pertains to statutory protections and specific legal criteria. Wrongful termination, however, often involves contract breaches or issues with contractual rights.
Remedies for unfair dismissal typically involve reinstatement or compensation based on statutory criteria, while those for wrongful termination may vary.
Employers must adhere to employment laws to avoid legal consequences of wrongful termination or unfair dismissal. Seeking legal advice and understanding rights and obligations under employment contracts and relevant legislation is critical for employers and employees.
Psychological Effects of Termination from Work
Job loss can lead to anxiety, depression, and a loss of self-esteem. People may experience grief, anxiety, or practical difficulties like lower employability. People often respond to loss with a range of typical emotions. It can feel like an emotional rollercoaster!
Reaction to Sudden Change
Sudden job loss triggers stress, fear, and uncertainty. It can impact mental health and create challenges in adapting to change .
The stages of grief, commonly associated with loss and trauma, parallel the emotional journey following employment termination. The sequence—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance—often characterises an individual's response.
Initially, there's denial, an inability to accept the reality of job loss. This leads to anger directed at oneself, the employer, or circumstances. Bargaining ensues, attempting to negotiate a reversal or alternative solutions. Subsequently, feelings of depression or sadness may emerge, acknowledging the impact and allowing oneself to mourn the loss.
Ultimately, acceptance gradually arises, embracing the situation and seeking ways to move forward professionally. These stages highlight the emotional turmoil experienced during employment termination, reflecting the complex process of adapting to significant changes in one's professional life.
Normally, the first six to eight weeks are the most intense, but this can be protracted when people do not successfully navigate the challenges and emotions. It can be even made worse when people spiral down by resorting to unhealthy coping mechanisms like consuming substances, withdrawing from others and not engaging in routines, interests and exercise.
Talk to friends, family, or a psychologist for emotional support and guidance. Remember, it is not a weakness to get help; it takes courage! A psychologist is used to assisting people in distress and will help you work through the challenges.
Learn relaxation techniques, mindfulness, flow and other psychological strategies to cope and manage stress.
Manage finances prudently until a new job is secured.
Get Legal Advice
Seeking guidance from an employment lawyer ensures a clear understanding of your rights. They provide insights into potential courses of action available to address your situation effectively.
Use the time to upgrade skills or explore new career paths.
Seeking Professional Help
Seeing a psychologist can provide a safe space to process emotions, develop coping mechanisms, and regain confidence in navigating this challenging period.
We all hate it when someone says, 'Just be positive!'. The problem is that positivity can help optimise outcomes and limit the impact of job loss on mood. Remember, if it hasn't worked out, it is not the end! Also, it is true that every challenge is an opportunity in disguise.
Find a Psychologist
Professional support is available if you or someone you know is experiencing difficulty or you want to optimise your life. Contact iflow Psychology today. Call 02 6061 1144 to schedule an appointment.
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The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only. Before making any decisions, we recommend consulting your treating doctor, health professionals, and legal representatives. This is particularly important if you have health concerns, existing mental health or medical conditions, or if you feel you are not coping.
(c) 2023 Dean Harrison