Resources about Dismissal

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The loss of a job through a dismissal, termination, or layoff can be a severely traumatic event for any professional. We often wrap our identities up with our careers, so it is understandable that being let go is often so shattering. There are many resources on the web to explore: Job boards, employment guides, career advice sites, and social networks all offer valuable resources to the newly laid off and/or unemployed.

Dealing with job loss can and should involve not only your own efforts to recover emotionally as well as professionally and, if need be, financially, but also the help of recruiters, friends, career counselors and networks. You are not alone!

The termination of employment at the will of the employer and against the will of the employee is known formally as a dismissal but is more frequently called simply "firing" or "sacking." Although one may be let go for a whole variety of reasons that can span the spectrum from overall economic difficulty to bad investments on the part of the employer to poor performance on the part of the employee being fired, dismissal almost always carries with it a serious social stigma-even if only in the perception or imagination of the one who has been dismissed.

In many cultures and social circles to be fired as opposed to leaving on one's own volition (especially if one is given the chance to do so) is often perceived as being the former employee's fault and so is generally regarded-rightly or wrongly as a serious sign of failure, despite obvious circumstances in which the dismissal positively attests the employee's upright character, e.g., the dismissal of a whistle-blower who exposes corporate wrongdoing.
Oftentimes it is quite difficult to find new employment after being fired, especially if the termination was due to job performance, inappropriate conduct, especially if the person either didn't hold the job for long or already had a prior history of being let go.

Typically those seeking work do not include jobs from which they have been fired on a resume or job application and consequently long and unexplained gaps in one's employment history are generally seen as a kind of hiring red flag.
At-will employment contracts, which have been adopted by most US states, allow employers to dismiss employees without having to offer any justification whatsoever for the dismissal, including instances in which an employer can hire a younger, less-experienced person for the same position whom they do not need to pay as much.

In some cases, because the euphemism "layoff" sounds better to the employee and is less likely to lead to litigation, terminations are sometimes handled as layoffs. By way of contrast, in France and many other EU nations termination is always subject to a formal process which requires the establishment of a just cause.
  • Redundancy

    Imagining what it means to become a "redundant" employee, an American worker is likely to think of "redundancy" as the condition of having too many people doing his or her job, which means a risk of being laid off. However, in the UK, it does mean being laid off-precisely because of being a superfluous worker.

    Unfair Dismissal

    The idea of unfair dismissal is subject to two interpretations: legal and moral. Although a specific instance of employment termination may seem "unfair" for moral (or morally-associated emotional) reasons, e.g., as a betrayal of years of loyal service, in the strictest and fundamentally most important sense, unfair dismissal is a legal matter...


    Having to worry about being fired is, depending upon the jurisdiction, not the same thing as having to worry about being dismissed. "Dismissal" is a broader concept than "firing", even though both boil down to getting the boot, the sack and the ax from an employer...

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