Can I get fired for grieving? Would you believe that your job really does currently have the freedom to fire you if you take off too much time to grieve. I have heard horror stories where someone loses someone tragically and takes off work only to attempt to return and is told that they have been fired. While it seems like there should be some protection against this there isn’t much legally that you can do.
Are Mental Health Days Enough
Mental health days are becoming more common and more accepted. Mental health is being talked about in the media a lot more. Actors and athletes and other public figures have finally been speaking out about mental health and it has allowed the struggle to be more normalized. Experiencing grief can greatly affect your own mental health. When you have experienced a loss of any kind, grief is sure to follow.
Grief is normal. Everyone experiences grief at some time or another. Have you ever feared losing your job because you needed to take time off to grieve? Have you ever pushed through and showed up when you were barely mentally capable of performing your job because you felt that you had no choice? They wouldn’t understand or care and if you didn’t show up, but would they fire you?
Can I Get Fired for Grieving?
This is a major reality for some people. I would like to believe that more companies are going out of their way to help people and support their mental health. Some definitely are creating healthier cultures and allowing people time off when they need to take the time to grieve. Still there is little protection for those that are not. I have read story after story of grieving people who lost jobs because they couldn’t function at work because they lost a child or a parent. Calling in sick because a loved one is being taken off life support shouldn’t be grounds for firing. In fact it shouldn’t be allowed.
Is Change on the Horizon?
There is legislation being considered right now that has the potential to protect grieving people. The hope for this legislation is to allow up to 5 days of protected days off effective immediately when the employee gets news of losing someone.
So what do you think? Is there enough protection for grieving people at work? If not you can find out how to advocate for grieving people here.
It is important that if you are struggling with grief and struggling to go back to work find support. Grief support is essential in creating a healthy life after loss. Go here for more information on grief support.