Laid Off vs. Fired: What’s the Difference?

a man holding a box of his personal belongings in the office

Knowing the difference between getting fired and being laid off can make all the difference in your rights as an employee, whether you're currently employed or seeking new opportunities. While both are unfortunate scenarios, they have different implications, and understanding them is key to protecting yourself from wrongful termination. In this blog, we will explore the differences between getting laid off and being fired in California so that you can be informed of your rights under California employment law.

Getting Laid Off

Getting laid off, also known as a reduction in force or RIF, is when an employer eliminates positions due to economic reasons such as budget cuts, reorganizations, or business changes. California law requires employers to provide employees with advance notification of the layoff and may include severance pay depending on the company's policies.

California also provides additional rights for employees depending on the number of people being laid off, such as the right to receive a WARN notice and other benefits. The WARN Act requires employers to give a 60-day notice to the affected employees, plus state and local representatives, before closing or conducting a mass layoff.

Getting Fired

Getting fired is when an employer terminates one or more employees due to misconduct, poor performance, or other reasons unrelated to economic circumstances. California law requires employers to provide advance notification of termination. California also has laws that protect employees from wrongful termination and discrimination, such as California's Fair Employment and Housing Act. California law prohibits employers from firing an employee for reasons related to disability, race, gender, age, or other protected characteristics.

Protect Your Employment Rights

Although getting fired or laid off can be a difficult experience, understanding the differences between the two scenarios is key to knowing your rights as an employee and protecting yourself from wrongful termination. If you believe you were wrongfully terminated or laid off by your employer, it is vital that you seek legal counsel to best protect your rights. Our team at Polaris Law Group can analyze your situation and help you determine the next best steps.

Contact our team today at (888) 796-4010 to schedule a consultation!