Monday, May 9, 2016

Fired or Laid-Off?

The Carnival
Almost every week, there's a nuclear blog "Carnival"--a compendium of important nuclear blog posts from the last week.  This week Rod Adams hosted Carnival 308 at Atomic Insights.

(I have hosted the Carnivals on many occasions. For example, Carnival 304 was at Yes Vermont Yankee.)

What "Laid-Off" actually means
My recent post on Cinco de Bye-O is one of the posts in Carnival 308. As customary, I sent Adams a link and a proposed  "blurb" about the blog. (The Carnival hosts can edit what they receive, but it is polite to send them something so they don't have to start from scratch, summarizing all the posts.)

Adams edited my description, and I think his edits and comments are worth sharing.  He changed the words "laid-off" to the word "fired."He didn't just do this in a vacuum. Here is his comment on the change.

Aside: I changed the submitted description of the article to use “fired” instead of laid off. Too many people have forgotten that “lay offs” was originally intended to describe a temporary condition in which employees were asked to stay home while waiting for work to return with the season or the end of a sales slump. The 100 people who left the premises of Vermont Yankee on May 5th have no prospect of returning. Their plant’s productive capacity has been destroyed. End Aside.

 I appreciate Rod Adams "Atomic Insights"  of all kinds.

Read the Carnival!
I encourage you to read the Carnival this week.  There are links to posts (and comments about the posts) on interim storage, decarbonizing Britain,  the environmental impacts of fracking, an e-book edition of the book Nuclear Firsts, innovative power plants, and more.  

I think that reading the Carnival is the fastest and most pleasant way to keep up with nuclear industry news.  Read it this week.


Unknown said...

"Fired" vs "Laid-off" vs something else?

I wonder, the term "fired" has historically carried a connotation of fault - that is, someone is 'fired' for incompetence, belligerence, theft/fraud/other illegal behavior, or lack of professionalism.

I think in common American usage, the expression laid off has come to mean people who have lost their jobs not due to any fault of their own, but because of lack of work, regardless of whether temporary or permanent. In the case of a facility being closed (factory, power plant, store, whatever), the term lay off has been used so as not to tar the workers with the negative connotations of the word 'fired'.

Clearly the Vermont Yankee plant workers did a good job for 40 years of running the plant, and don't deserve to be labelled as 'fired', IMHO.

But, perhaps American English needs a 3rd term other than lay off when not describing a temporary lack of work? The Brits use the term "Redundant" or "Redundancy" for such situations, but I find that to be a very awkward use of that word, personally.

Meredith Angwin said...


You are right. "Fired" implies "fired for cause."

It was a great plant with great workers. When the plant closed, they were "permanently laid off. "

I think that should cover it.