One of the unfortunate downsides of getting divorced is that it often affects your productivity at work. A contentious divorce can cause a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety, which can, in turn, affect your ability to focus on your job. But can you get fired because you’re going through a bad divorce?
The short answer is no. Your employer cannot use your divorce, no matter how contentious, as the reason for terminating your employment. However, there’s more to the story.
Divorce And Work Performance
Even though your employer can’t fire you for getting divorced, your divorce could still end up costing you your job. Your employer can fire you as a result of any of the following:
If your work suffers: Divorce affects everyone a little differently, but it takes an emotional toll on everyone. If you start missing meetings, turning work in late, or have trouble completing day-to-day tasks, you could end up getting the ax.
If you miss too much work: Frequently missing work altogether is often the fastest way to get fired. While many employers will be sympathetic to your need to attend court during the normal course of your divorce, missing excessive amounts of work for personal reasons is unlikely to go over well with your employer.
If you portray your employer negatively: It’s common for a contentious divorce to have multiple battlefronts, so to speak. In addition to what’s happening in court, many couples fight a war of words on social media.
No matter how satisfying it may feel to post something nasty or demeaning about your ex-spouse on Twitter or Facebook, don’t do it. Posting mean things about your ex can get you fired in two different ways. First, if you’re busy posting about your divorce during work hours, you could get fired for that.
Second, if what you say is particularly offensive, it may reflect poorly on your employer, and they may decide to let you go.
Don’t think your employer can fire you because of a personal tweet or Facebook post? Think again. They absolutely can, and will, if they decide you are casting the company in a poor light.
How To Avoid Getting Fired During Divorce
If you’re worried about your divorce having an impact on your work performance, there are several things you can do to mitigate the impact. The best thing you can do is to hire an experienced attorney who will handle the bulk of the process for you. When you work with an attorney that you trust, it can relieve a lot of the stress of the day-to-day minutiae of your legal proceedings.
Additionally, speak with your employer ahead of time if possible. This way, if your work is affected at any point in the divorce process, your employer is more likely to be understanding and supportive. If you keep them in the dark, they may assume your poor performance is due to another reason entirely and could fire you without ever knowing the truth.