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#1
Old 10-02-2003, 04:33 PM
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Terminated vs. Laid Off vs. Fired

What is the difference between these terms? Can they be used interchangeably? Can any of these terms legally be used on a résumé if a person has been dismissed or do they have different meanings?
#2
Old 10-02-2003, 04:59 PM
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My understanding;

Laid-Off; Nominally a temporary stae of affairs due to a temporary downturn in emplyment requirements. Its implied you'll be offered an opportunity for re-hire when the work-load picks back up.

Terminated ; Your job function has ceased to exist, so the company no longer needs you

Fired; For cause. E.G. You did something against company policy/procedures.
#3
Old 10-02-2003, 05:07 PM
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And then there are all those weasel words --

downsized
rightsized
made redundant

-- all of which are either barely laugh-tested euphemisms or downright dishonest, like"made redundant." The person doesn't actually become "redundant." All the company did was declare that the person was fulfilling an unneeded function. Redundant, my foot.
#4
Old 10-02-2003, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by bobk2

Laid-Off; Nominally a temporary stae of affairs due to a temporary downturn in emplyment requirements. Its implied you'll be offered an opportunity for re-hire when the work-load picks back up.

Terminated ; Your job function has ceased to exist, so the company no longer needs you

Well, if so, these terms must be relatively loose; when I was divested of my job, it was called "layoffs," but it sounds more like I was terminated, given the reasons I was given... Can anyone confirm the standardization of these?
#5
Old 10-02-2003, 05:34 PM
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Those terms are somewhat nebulous, but do evoke the kind of descriptions bobk2 lists. OTOH, (I-am-not-in-HR), if you were "fired", and say you were "laid-off", I don't think anyone'd have a case against you for misrepresentation.
#6
Old 10-02-2003, 05:35 PM
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I don't think there is a legal basis for one term over the other, but connotations count and "fired" is negative to the employee.

I think "termination" is the most neutral, despite it's Schwarzeneggarian overtones. I've heard people say "The employee was terminated", "The position was terminated", and "The employee terminated his/her employment".

If other words, it can be used in all cases.

On a resume, I would use "eliminated" as in "my position was eliminated". At least that's what I used when my job was shit-canned in January.
#7
Old 10-02-2003, 06:03 PM
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"Made redundant" seems to be the most common term used in the UK - equivalent to "layoff" in the US.
#8
Old 10-02-2003, 06:42 PM
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Well...I was 'terminated' several months ago. When I went to the unemployment office I said I was fired. The lady asked me if I was fired for cause. I said no, we just didn't get along with each other anymore (my employer and I). The unemployment lady said that as far as the state of Illinois was concerned I was laid-off. To them 'fired' meant for cause such as theft, not showing up to work, coming to work on drugs, hitting your boss, etc.. While not liking me is a cause of sorts it isn't what the state considers as 'fired'.

Anyway, clearly there is some ramification in a legal sense to which word is applied. If I was 'fired' the state would have denied or curtailed my unemployment benefits.
#9
Old 10-02-2003, 07:18 PM
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Why would you ever use any of these words on a resume?
#10
Old 10-02-2003, 07:57 PM
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Why would you ever use any of these words on a resume?
____________________________________________________

I have an application that says to list all previous work experience and reason for leaving on a résumé.

____________________________________________________
Well...I was 'terminated' several months ago. When I went to the unemployment office I said I was fired. The lady asked me if I was fired for cause. I said no, we just didn't get along with each other anymore (my employer and I). The unemployment lady said that as far as the state of Illinois was concerned I was laid-off. To them 'fired' meant for cause such as theft, not showing up to work, coming to work on drugs, hitting your boss, etc.. While not liking me is a cause of sorts it isn't what the state considers as 'fired'.
____________________________________________________

I was not aware of this and I live in Illinois. I was not fired for anything illegal. I was just bad at the job. I was granted unemployement, my former employer did not contest the unemployment. So was I laid-off?
#11
Old 10-03-2003, 10:02 AM
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No, it sounds like you were fired.

--Cliffy
#12
Old 10-03-2003, 11:09 AM
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I am not an HR person but I've been a software development manager for over 15 years and I've hired a whole lot of people.

If you're asking strictly because you want to know what to put on your résumé, don't put anything. A résumé does not need to give reasons for leaving a job, although many applications ask for this. The résumé is to get an employer interested enough to interview you, and any mention of an employer-initiated termination will definitely cause problems. Being laid off in a staff reduction in this economny is not the stigma it used to be but there still no reason to highlight it. Most companies that do such reductions are selecting the low performers to let go, even if they are not fired for cause.

By the time an interviewer sees an application, they have already reviewed your résumé and probably conducted the interview. You should be prepared, however, to discuss the point if your résumé shows a gap in employment.

Your application can say something like, "job was not a good fit" or something. If they press the point you can tell them the details.

When you were let go from that job, were you presented with documentation showing that your performance was inadequate, like a performance review or letter of caution? If not, they went through a layoff process to avoid the hassles of terminating you for cause, and you can truthfully say you were laid off.

I would advise you to be completely truthful when asked a direct question, but it will not serve you to volunteer information that is not being asked for.
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#13
Old 10-03-2003, 11:32 AM
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I've been a hiring/firing manager for 20 years, including a two year stint as head of HR in a large organization.

Here in the US, the word termination is generic and pretty much all encompassing. It includes both firing (termination for cause; either performance or illegal/unethical behavior) and layoffs (terminations to simply cut costs). It sometimes is even used if an employee quits to take a different job (their employment is terminated).

By the way, I agree with previous posters' advice about not putting reasons for leaving a job on your resume. And on the application you should also be vague. Be honest in the face to face interviews, though you should come up with an explanation that is both truthful and self-serving in a positive way. This means you may need to become quite creative.
#14
Old 10-03-2003, 02:49 PM
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What a lovely post Algernon - how did you make such a boring subject so conversational? What are you doing in HR. Go write dialogue for the movies or something!
#15
Old 10-03-2003, 03:08 PM
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I'm flattered j.c.. Thank you. That was a very kind thing to say.

To me it's just normal business-like semi-formal writing. It's here at the SDMB that I get blown away with the writing talent that gets exhibited every day. I'm usually green with envy.
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