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The different ways of losing your job

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2020 | Wrongful Termination |

There are many different terms that people use to describe job loss. Many of them are slang terms that are more or less interchangeable. However, there is an important difference between a lay-off and a firing. If you are unsure which applies to your situation, you should ask for clarification from your employer.

The circumstances under which your job came to an end can affect your eligibility for benefits as well as your ability to find a new job. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the reason for your dismissal and use the correct term to define it.


According to U.S. News and World Report, a lay-off occurs not because of anything that you did but because your employers decided to make changes at the company. As a result of the changes, your job no longer exists.

Companies that are struggling financially may have to go through downsizing or restructuring procedures that result in lay-offs. Because a lay-off is due to circumstances beyond your control, you may be eligible to collect unemployment benefits as a result.


Unlike a lay-off, which happens due to circumstances unrelated to your job performance, firing is a punitive measure in response to behavior that your employer finds unacceptable. You may not be eligible to collect unemployment after a firing because your job loss was your own fault.

In an at-will employment state, your employer has great latitude and can fire you for almost any reason. However, there are some protected activities that are not valid reasons for firing an employee. If your employer fires you, you should ask him or her to give you a reason. You may be able to claim wrongful termination if the reason your employer gives for firing you is not lawful.