A recent shooting tragedy at a company Christmas party in Vancouver emphasizes the need for employers to be highly sensitive to employees’ emotional state when timing a layoff.

According to news reports, an employee, who had been let go the day prior to the Christmas party, allegedly shot and killed the owner of his former employer.

While the reason for the shooting has not been confirmed, we note that the holiday season can be a stressful time, and it is best to avoid layoffs in December when possible.  One reason is that the stress of losing one’s job can lead to people to engage in dangerous, erratic or emotional behaviour.  The killing of a boss is an extreme outcome, but there are many past examples of employees resorting to violence after being laid off, especially when leading up to the holiday season.

When conducting layoffs, be sensitive to the timing of the announcement, and consider having outplacement counseling services available on site to assist employees in dealing with their feelings after being let go.

We offer our thoughts and condolences to the Banky family and the employees of TallGrass Distributors.


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