California Law Firm Explains The Difference Between Fired, Furloughed & Laid Off

Companies around the globe are making drastic cuts to their workforces due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some workers are being laid off. Others are being furloughed – either temporarily or indefinitely. And others are being fired. But what do these terms mean? And how do they affect eligibility for unemployment benefits? The legal team at Davtyan Law Firm is here to explain the differences between these terms and what they may mean for your rights. 

The Differences

Furloughed – In short, being furloughed or laid off is due to something happening on the employer’s end. This usually happens during mergers, bankruptcies, and downturns in the economy (like the current pandemic). Furloughs usually exist for a specific amount of time, and then workers are brought back on board. Workers may be able to retain some or all of their benefits during a furlough. In some cases, workers can be forced to use their vacation or sick days during a furlough.

Laid Off – Unlike being furloughed, being laid off terminates the employer-employee relationship. This means employees lose their employment rights and their benefits. Layoffs occur when companies downsize, merge, or close. The current pandemic may be a cause for a lay-off as well, which could result in permanent or temporary lay off.

Fired – Being fired, on the other hand, is the result of the actions of the employee. Typically this means poor work performance, not showing up for work on time or other unsatisfactory actions by the employee, at least in the view of the employer. This is where many employers can run into legal trouble. While there are many reasons an employer can fire an employee, there are also several reasons that they cannot. For example, employees cannot be fired due to discrimination based on things like age, ethnicity, or religion. 

How Does It Affect Unemployment Benefits?

When it comes to collecting unemployment benefits, only workers who were laid off for no fault of their own are typically eligible for these payments. Employees who were fired “for cause” are not always eligible for unemployment benefits in California. However, if you were fired or you quit because of discrimination in the workplace, you may be eligible to file for unemployment. 

Have You Been Wrongfully Terminated?

Unfortunately, many workers in California are fired for discriminatory reasons. In addition, there are many rules and regulations surrounding furloughs and layoffs that employers need to follow. In these situations, it is important to hire an experienced California employment lawyer who can help protect your employment rights. If you have been furloughed, laid off, or fired and you think your rights may have been violated, call Davtyan Law Firm today. 

Based in the Los Angeles area, Davtyan Law Firm focuses exclusively on California employment law and protecting employees’ rights and assists employees all over California. Our legal team handles a broad range of employment disputes, including wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and wage and hour issues.


For more information about the law firm in Glendale, CA, visit Davtyan Law Firm on the web at The office can be reached by phone at (818) 275-5799.

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Based in California, we focus exclusively on employment law, protecting employees' rights. We handle a broad range of employment disputes including wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, retaliation, wage and hour issues, among others.

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