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Laid Off vs Fired, What Is The Difference?

California law has several rights and opportunities for employees who meet a certain criteria. For example, full-time employees in California have more rights than a part-time employee does. Similarly, an employee who has been laid off could enjoy more rights than an employee who has been laid off. But, to fully understand what rights you are eligible for, it is very important that you easily identify the circumstance you are in.

Our employment attorneys in California have been representing employees who have been laid off, wrongfully terminated, or fired, for several decades. There are lawful and unlawful ways an employer could let go of an employee. But, when an employer takes advantage of an employee or treats an employee unfairly, they could be liable under an employment lawsuit or claim.

For more information on your specific potential claim, we recommend that you give us a call to discuss your case. Our attorneys are on standby and ready to discuss your claim at any time and anywhere.

What is the difference between getting laid off and getting fired?

Getting laid off and getting fired are both involuntary termination. This means that the employer has decided to let the employee go. But both are for different purposes. There are drastic changes between these two words, but, unfortunately, these words are used interchangeably.

Being laid off occurs when the employer lets go of an employee because of an external reason. This means that it is at no fault of the employee. Some examples of why an employee might get laid off could include:

  • Company mergers: when two companies merge to form one company, there may be a repetition of positions and jobs. In that case, several employees may be let go in order to increase efficiency.
  •  Company acquisitions: a company acquisition occurs when one company buys out another company. When the company is bought out, there may be several positions that the purchasing company will no longer need, and instead will have to let go.
  •  Cutting costs: to reduce costs, a company may have to let go of some employees.
  •  Decrease staff: during hard economic times, companies may try to reduce the number of staff they have on payroll, especially full-time employees since full-time employees may qualify for other benefits such as vacation time, sick time, disability, etc.

An employee could get fired when it is their specific performance that has led to their employment termination. For example, below are some examples of why an employee could get fired:

  • Performing poorly at work: when an employee does not perform the job functions they were hired to do, they could risk getting fired at work.
  •  Theft at work: what an employee steals or embezzles from their workplace, they could get fired.
  • Harassment: workplace harassment has recently been on the rise as many people return to in-person jobs. Workplace harassment could be a means of getting fired

Getting furloughed means that you are still employed by your employer, but you no longer work.  This means that you do not receive pay. Each company has different ways of defining furlough.  For more information, we recommend that you set up a one-on-one with our attorneys. 

What will happen to my reputation after I get fired versus laid off?

Many employees worry about the effects of getting fired or getting laid off. When you are fired at work, you may have to deal with the unfavorable reputation you have at work for your improper work performance. But, when you are laid off at work, it is at no fault of your own, and so it may not have a substantial effect on your reputation. Instead, employees who have been laid off may be able to get a job faster than other employees who have been fired from their previous employment.

Employee packing her belongings after being laid off

Example Of  Getting Fired

Susie has been arriving late to work for the last 4 months. Her manager has spoken to her about her poor performance, however, she still continues to arrive at work late.  Susie would then be fired from her job. This means that she is not entitled to any employment benefits, such as severance packages.

Example Of Being Let Go

Company A has been bought by Company B. Company B already has their set of accountants, and no longer needs Bob from Company A. Therefore, Bob will be let go from company A. Bob may qualify for a severance package since Bob was let go through no fault of his own.

Could I get rehired if I have been let go?

Some companies have a policy of a “ recall list,” which means that an employer could potentially rehire the employee if circumstances have changed. For example, if a company is trying to cut costs, and lets go of a certain department, they could have the department on a recall list and contact them a couple of months later to rehire them.

What should I do after I have been laid off from my job in California?

There are specific steps that you should take to make sure that you exercise all rights and privileges after you have been laid off from work. California offers various different opportunities for employees after they have been laid off from their jobs. But, it is very important that you recognize the benefits.

  •  Make sure that you have your employment contract with you. Your employment contract will specify exactly what type of termination qualifies for severance. For example, it is very important that you establish that you have been laid off rather than fired. You must show that you were laid off and not fired to qualify for compensation.
  •  The employment contract will specify what severance pay you are to receive depending on the amount of time that you were with the company. The contract may also specify when the last date for collecting this payment is. For example, some companies offer it at the end of the week, whereas others offer a severance payment once a week for several months.
  •  In certain cases, an employee could also qualify for unemployment benefits. If you have been laid off from your job, you may be able to recover a portion of your compensation.

 For more information on employment benefits and getting laid off, contact our employment attorneys. Oftentimes, our attorneys have seen circumstances where employers do not pay out their employees a severance package even though their employees deserve one.

Why should I hire an employment attorney?

Sometimes, employment contracts can be so convoluted and hard to understand that you may need an employment attorney to help guide you through the process of filing for severance or unemployment benefits.

Employment Attorneys Near Me

If you have been denied any employment benefits, give us a call today to discuss how you could qualify for back pay. If you have been laid off, and your employer offers severance packages, but you have been denied severance packages, you may have a claim against your employer.

Schedule a one-on-one complimentary case evaluation today to discuss. The way in which you are let go from a company could impact your future employment, along with any financial packages that you could receive.

*** Disclaimer: This page, created by Heidari Law Group, is intended for educational purposes only and provides a broad overview of legal principles. It should not be considered specific legal advice. Your use of this site and review of this material does not establish an attorney-client relationship with Heidari Law or any of its members. Laws are subject to change, and therefore some information presented here may not reflect current legal standards. All logos and images on this site are the property of their respective owners and are used only for illustrative purposes; their presence does not indicate endorsement or affiliation. Please respect the copyright restrictions of these images and logos. If you have concerns about copyright infringement or require proper attribution, contact us immediately. We are committed to honoring intellectual property rights and will respond promptly to any issues.

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Sam Heidari

Sam Ryan Heidari

Sam Heidari is the founding principal of Heidari Law Group, a law firm specializing in personal injury, wrongful death, and employment law with offices in California and Nevada. Sam Heidari has been practicing law for over 11 years and handles a wide range of cases including car accidents, wrongful death, employment discrimination, and product liability. The Heidari Law Group legal firm is known for its comprehensive approach, handling cases from initial consultation through to final judgment. Sam Heidari is dedicated to community involvement and advocacy for civil liberties.

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