What are Displaced Workers?

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  • Written By: T. Webster
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 02 February 2020
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Displaced workers are people who were gainfully employed but lost their jobs through no fault of their own. This means poor performance was not a key reason for their job loss. Two additional key factors also define most displaced workers. First, they have been permanently laid off. Secondly, they have little chance of returning to their former profession.

Being unable to return to a profession usually is related to low demand for that work. This can happen when an industry is experiencing an overall decline. After a person is laid off from that industry, the chance of finding similar work is limited because of a lack of available positions.

One example of a displaced worker is someone who worked in an auto plant that permanently shut its doors. Journalists who were laid off for economic reasons are also fit this category. Changes in these industries make it difficult for people to return to these fields once they are laid off.

In other cases, a natural disaster such as a hurricane, earthquake or tornado can create displaced workers. Natural disasters can destroy buildings or entire towns. When that happens, the inevitable result is that employees cannot return to work. It is a temporary situation sometimes, but other times, the damage is so great that the situation becomes permanent.


Governments and various charities often offer financial assistance to those defined as displaced workers. This might come in the form of unemployment insurance or assistance for housing and food. Education grants and loans also can help people receive training in another career area and return to the general workforce.

Assistance given to displaced workers is only temporary, however. The emphasis remains on the workers returning to the workforce as quickly as possible. Displaced workers might even have to work for lower pay or in jobs they do not enjoy until they are retrained or find other suitable work.

The cause of becoming a displaced worker depends on how a company structures a layoff. When layoffs are made rapidly and involve hundreds of employees, the company might not have time to conduct a thorough review of every employee’s performance. People might be cut based solely on time served or tenure.

In fact, top performers sometimes are laid off when entire departments or divisions of a company are closed. Still, there is a stigma attached to job loss, even during difficult economic times. This can make it difficult for displaced workers to find another good job.

Other companies and even the displaced worker might wonder if there was another underlying reason that the worker was laid off. Some hiring managers maintain that any company will hold onto its best performers no matter what. Sadness over the loss of work and a lack of confidence also can make it difficult to find another form of work. Support from family members and perseverance are two of the best ways to overcome the losses associated with being a displaced worker.


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Post 1

Been doing a job for two years. During the second interview in two years were told they are not qualified.

Now she is displaced. No other job mentioned until she was asked by manager who did the interview if she can cover maternity for 8 months.

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