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Do companies have a duty to help employees through divorce?

When an employee is going through a divorce, he or she may find it near-impossible to come to work every day and perform at the same level as before the split took place. The most obvious reason for this is the many obligations and time commitments that come with divorce, such as meetings with family law attorneys, court appearances, mediation and counseling sessions and the like. But it is the emotional, financial and logistical challenges of a divorce than are often the most taxing and distracting.

If this is the case, it begs the question: do Las Vegas businesses have a duty to help their employees through divorce? Even if no such duty exists, is it simply good for business to offer assistance and empathy to a worker who is struggling through a split?

Yes, says Rebecca Love Kourlis, a former judge and the current executive director of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System. Recent studies have shown that employees who are going through a divorce miss more days of work, make more mistakes, are less productive and project their divorce-related anger onto their customers and coworkers.

In fact, Kourlis says that companies need to take the lead in seeking major reform to the family court system, for the health and well-being of both employees and businesses.

“Businesses have a stake in helping to reexamine the way in which our society unwinds marriages and addresses child custody issues,” she says. “If those processes can be improved – such that they cost less money, take less time, and are less adversarial and inflamed – not only will employees benefit, but so will their employers.”

“Not only is it good practice, it is just good business.”

Source: The Huffington Post, “Your Divorce, Their Business?” Vicki Larson, Nov. 1, 2012

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