I saw somewhere on here that was a comment about the original post that said something like “the OP was let go, he was not fired.”

With that being said, is there a difference between being “let go” and being “fired?”

  • 2
    "Let go" is an UK specific euphemism/slang. Jul 8 '18 at 16:16
  • 5
    It's a phrase commonly employed (rimshot!) in the US as well.
    – acpilot
    Jul 9 '18 at 4:40
  • @RuiFRibeiro not a common UK term at all Mar 29 '19 at 18:01

From What is the difference between being fired and being laid off?:

Being fired is reserved for individual personnel issues: performance, behavior, etc. This would be targeted at a single individual.

Being laid off is when the company is having financial issues and needs to remove costs. This is almost never just a single individual losing their job or the suspicion would be that it's actually a firing.

Being let go is informal and can refer to either of the two.

Although I'd say it's more commonly a euphemism for getting fired. This is presumably because firing someone is pretty harsh and being laid off is preferable (so it would make sense to make it clear that someone is being laid off and not fired, when applicable).

  • Made redundant Is the more formal version of let go not that "laid off" is some times used as a synonym for redundancy but that does really have a slightly different meaning. Jul 8 '18 at 21:49
  • In some jobs, "laid off" is also a synonym for being furloughed Mar 29 '19 at 18:38

In the UK they are pretty different:

Fired: refers to disciplinary, personal or poor performance issues and as a result the business have made the decision to dismiss the individual from their role in the organisation.

Let go: is a business lead decision to lay off/dismiss staff due to the financial and economic conditions of the organisation I.e. redundancy.

However depending on the context ‘being let go’ can also be used when referring to being fired, I’ve often heard this when the person disagrees with the firing or considers it harsh or are trying to dull it down.


In some countries, there is a difference between being laid-off/let go and being fired. In those cases, being fired generally means you made a mistake. Whereas being laid-off/let go, it means the company made a mistake, eg. bad business decision that lost them business/money and they cannot afford to keep some employees anymore.

  • laid off actually is different in formal terms you might lay off a night shift with expectation that they would be rehired if economy picks up Jul 8 '18 at 21:50

You are "let go" for no fault of yourself. Someone who is "let go" hasn't done anything wrong. It's just bad luck.

When you are "fired", it's either your own fault, you didn't do your job properly, you did something else that was unacceptable - or you have the bad luck that someone with power in the company strongly dislikes you and got rid of you. It will be held against you.


is there a difference between being “let go” and being “fired?”

Yes, it's more polite to say 'let go'

  • incomplete, but not inaccurate.
    – Ben Barden
    Mar 29 '19 at 17:14
  • This really should be rated higher- there's no difference in result, and the two are used interchangably. You can't rely on one meaning for cause and the other not in either direction. Mar 30 '19 at 9:14
  • Who has downvoted this answer and why? It’s short, succinct and absolutely correct.
    – jmoreno
    Apr 1 '19 at 12:06

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