The Side-Effects of Unemployment

Woman with glasses sitting on a floor with laptop

While many believe that those who are temporarily unemployed are better off and able to relax in fact nothing is further from the truth. People are familiar with the most common side-effect of unemployment, financial loss, not many are familiar with other side-effects, such as health decline, which accompany a period of work absence.

In a day and age where workers associate a nine to five lifestyle with a lack of movement, it is a welcome response to hear that employment actually keeps you healthy.

Employment and Health

Contrary to popular opinion, a desk job is not conducive to obesity. In fact, a desk job may motivate individuals to lose weight given the other tasks involved with a job, such as travel, and workplace events or benefits.

While individuals who work nine to five at a desk may spend more time at that desk, they are less likely to remain stagnant after a shift’s completion, and Huffington Post agrees. Naturally, we want to stretch and get our muscles moving after a long day at the office.

Length of Unemployment vs. Unemployment Lifestyle

Given the rise of online job search resource availability, the unemployed today are more inclined to pursue the internet, rather than in-person job applications, which results in a decline of physical activity. This decline in activity can result in serious consequences.

But it doesn’t stop there. The Canadian Mental Health Association has also recognized unemployment as a health risk on a mental level, stating that “When you lose your job, not only is your usual source of income gone, but also your personal work relationships, daily structures, and an important sense of self-purpose. Unemployment can be, and often is, a shock to your whole system.” (

The Law

The courts have recognized that wherein health issues are involved that an extended notice period is necessary due to the inevitable difficulties an ill or disabled individual faces when seeking re-employment (See Bardal v. Globe & Mail Ltd. [1960], O.J. No. 149 (Ont. H.C.J.)).

Aside from termination based on a disability, one of the more common issues we see at Monkhouse Law is where an employer has terminated a senior employee, effectively forcing them into retirement. This is particularly problematic, given the fact that many of these employees enjoy working and do not want to retire. Many individuals in this position suffer a decline in health due to a drastic lifestyle change.

Employees who have suffered from health issues or developed a recognized disability as a result of forced unemployment or extended unemployment as a result of their prior employer’s actions may be able to claim damages at law. This is contingent on being able to establish that were it not for the employer’s actions, the damages would have never been incurred.

Advice For Employers

The best way to avoid lawsuits or additional damages as a result of terminating one of your employees is to offer career coaching or placement services to terminated employees and to ensure that the severance provided to your employees is fair and adequate. This will establish that you were attempting to prevent an extended unemployment period and will assist in proving that your intentions were to assist the terminated employee with obtaining new work.

Advice for Employees

If you were recently terminated without cause or sufficient severance pay, and have yet to find re-employment, it is best to contact an Employment Lawyer, who may be able to assist you in demanding career services and an adequate severance package.

Different aspects in a wrongful dismissal matter, including the manner in which you were terminated and your employer’s treatment of you and other employees, can increase your total cost award at trial. Contact Monkhouse Law today for a free consultation and see how recent jurisprudence and unemployment statistics can assist you in establishing a greater damages award for your wrongful dismissal matter.

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