1. Careers
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Fired vs. Laid Off

The Differences Between Getting Fired and Laid Off


Young business woman made redundant
Peter Dazeley / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

Being fired and being laid off are two distinct ways of leaving a position. Being fired vs. laid off can impact your eligibility for unemployment as well as your hiring prospects for the future.

When an Employee is Fired

An employee is fired when his personal performance is unsatisfactory, or if he does not comply with company standards. When an employee is fired, there is no expectation of being rehired at a future date.

When an Employee is Laid Off

When an employee is laid off, it typically has nothing to do with the employee's personal performance. Layoffs occur when a company undergoes restructuring or downsizing, or goes out of business. In some cases, a layoff may be temporary, and the employee is rehired when the economy improves.

In some cases, laid off employees may be entitled to severance pay or other employee benefits provided by their employer.

Collecting Unemployment

To collect unemployment, you typically need to have lost your job "through no fault of your own." People who are laid off are likely to receive unemployment because they left due to restructuring rather than personal performance.

People who are fired are less likely to receive unemployment because they left due to issues with their personal performance. However, if a fired employee can argue that their firing was unfounded or unrelated to performance, he may be eligible for unemployment.

If you are unsure whether or not you qualify for unemployment, check with your state unemployment office.

Have a Question?

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about termination from employment, including reasons for getting fired, employee rights when you have been terminated, collecting unemployment, wrongful termination, saying goodbye to co-workers and more.

Read More: 50+ Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Fired | Questions to Ask the Employer When You're Fired

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.