• English Business Vocabulary: Fired or Laid Off?

    I was helping a student prepare for an interview the other day and, while doing so, we began discussing working conditions in his country. We came across two similar business-related English vocabulary words: being fired and being laid off. Do you know what the difference is between them?

    Let’s explore this now.

    What does it mean to be fired?

    Being fired suggests that the employee is parting ways with his/her job permanently or for good. The term may also imply that misconduct on the employee’s part was behind the firing. Misconduct in the workplace includes arriving at working late repeatedly, fraud and misuse or theft of company property.

    What does it mean to be laid off?

    If an employee is laid off, it can mean that he/she is losing his/her job because there isn’t sufficient work available to justify the salary. It can also mean that he/she might be re-employed by your company when the situation improves. Being laid off can mean that the job was lost through no fault of the employee.

    The difference between the two words can also be important if you are applying for unemployment benefit from the company afterwards. In some cases you will be given this benefit if you are laid off (through no fault of your own) but you will be denied it if authorities suspect misconduct.

    Let’s look at the following photograph about being laid off:

    What does this image depict?

    Do you agree with the sentiment expressed by the caption?

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