Dislocated Worker: What Is It And Why Does It Matter

Formerly displaced worker

There are many essential business terms every good manager should know. Dislocated worker is one of them.

At first glance, though, you may conclude that the dislocated worker classification has to do with geography (like a foreign worker coming to the United States to find work). But the term actually has very little to do with location and more to do with why the worker is unemployed.

In this article, the management experts at Sling explain the dislocated worker category and help you see why it matters to your business.

What Is A Dislocated Worker?

Dislocated workers

The U.S. Department of Labor defines a dislocated worker (sometimes referred to as a displaced worker) as an individual who:

  • Has been laid off or has received a notice of layoff, is eligible for unemployment insurance, and is not expected to be recalled by the employer or does not have the skills to find employment in the same occupation or industry.
  • Has been laid off and is not eligible for unemployment insurance but has been employed for a duration which demonstrates attachment to the workforce, or works for an employer who is not subject to unemployment insurance (such as small businesses or farmers).
  • Is employed at a facility at which the employer has made a general announcement that the facility will close.
  • Was self-employed but is unemployed as a result of general economic conditions in the community in which the individual resides.
  • Is a displaced homemaker who has been providing unpaid services to family members in the home and who (a) has been dependent on the income of another family member but is no longer supported by that income, and (b) is unemployed or underemployed and is experiencing difficulty in obtaining or upgrading employment.

And the dislocated worker classification isn’t just reserved for the private sector. A dislocated worker can also be one who:

  • Is the spouse of an active duty member of the Armed Forces who was forced to leave their job to relocate due to a change in permanent duty station.
  • Is the spouse of an active duty member of the Armed Forces, is unemployed (or underemployed), and is having difficulty finding employment.

So, again, the “dislocated” part of the term has very little to do with location. In fact, you’ll find dislocated workers who have lived in the same place all their lives. What the term does tell you is that the individual has experienced job loss due to circumstances beyond their control.

How Does Someone Become A Dislocated Worker?

Employee and manager

There are many ways a person could become a dislocated worker. Here are some of the more common reasons.

1) Company Closure

A company may close its doors completely or move to a new location (e.g., a new country). In the process, the company has to lay off its employees.

2) Outsourcing

Outsourcing jobs to other countries (while keeping the business open at its original location) is a common reason why employees are laid off and become dislocated.

3) Decreased Demand

A reduction in the demand for a specific product or service (or even an entire industry) can lead businesses to lay off employees in order to keep their doors open.

4) Mergers

When companies merge, employees are often laid off to reduce the duplication of jobs in the new business.

5) Automation

More and more businesses are incorporating automation into their workflow and laying off employees as a result.

Who Doesn’t Qualify As A Dislocated Worker?

Even though there are myriad ways someone could become dislocated, there are two specific instances that don’t qualify. They are:

  • When an employee quits, resigns, or simply doesn’t show up for work anymore.
  • When an employee is terminated due to poor performance.

Neither of these circumstances would qualify someone as a dislocated worker.

Should You Tell An Employee You Lay Off That They Are Now A Dislocated Worker?

Yes, by all means, tell an employee you are forced to lay off that they are now a dislocated worker. Why is that important?

Because many local, state, and federal government programs exist to provide monetary support while the dislocated worker looks for a new job. Some programs even place people in new jobs or help them get the training they need to move into a different career.

All it takes to qualify for these programs is that they didn’t quit their previous job, or that they weren’t terminated due to poor performance.

Telling your employees about these programs during the exit interview is a great way to make a difficult situation a little bit better.

Should You Ask How A Potential Employee Became A Dislocated Worker?

Manager interviewing a dislocated worker

Yes. It’s vital to discern for yourself during an interview why a potential employee left their previous job.

Some job seekers may list “dislocated worker” on their résumé without fully understanding the criteria. You need to ask the right questions to make sure the potential employee wasn’t terminated for poor performance and is now hiding behind this classification.

Take Advantage Of Workforce Management

Sling app

The best way to incorporate a once-dislocated worker is to use software like Sling that streamlines the scheduling and task-management process.

Sling combines the simplicity of a calendar view with the easy distribution of cloud-based technology. You can manage multiple locations from one office (or on the go) and provide employees with access to schedules and tools that will help them perform their jobs better.

Sling app

To make your workday even easier, Sling provides more features, including:

And because Sling is based in the cloud, you and your employees can access all the features anywhere, anytime on an iOS, Android, or Windows device. Try Sling for free today to find out how much easier your job can with the right tool.

For more resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit GetSling.com today.

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