For companies to function efficiently, there are certain rules that guide their affairs. Employees are expected to follow these rules and those who don’t are punished or fired for their lack of discipline and professionalism.
Sometimes, these rules are clearly written down in the company handbook, but other times they’re not so obvious. However, ignorance of these rules won’t save you from getting axed if you are found guilty of breaking them or committing certain offenses.
The last thing you want is to find yourself suddenly thrust into unemployment and losing access to the benefits that come with your job. Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent this outcome.
In this article, we’re going to share some of the things that can cause you to get fired in an instant. Avoiding these blunders will help you hold onto your job for longer and even earn yourself commendations and promotions along the way.
If you’re the person who is always looking for a way to avoid not doing tasks or who always has to get their work looked over and redone by someone else, you’re going to get canned.
No company is going to keep paying an employee who consistently does a poor job and isn’t contributing much to the business productivity-wise. It shows that you don’t respect your work enough to do it right and that you don’t care about the company.
If you’ve gotten a few poor performance warnings or reviews recently or you notice that you’re struggling to perform your responsibilities, it’s time to fix up and commit to your work.
Some organizations—government agencies, for example—have stringent rules when it comes to accepting gifts from external parties in the course of carrying out your duties. It might be expressly forbidden or permitted under certain conditions.
The reason for this could be to prevent illegality or avoid a situation where employees can be deemed to be acting against the organization’s interest. So before you receive a gift, make sure you find out about your workplace policy on the issue.
If your employer has a policy forbidding workers from taking gifts and you go ahead to accept one, it can serve as grounds for your termination.
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Companies want workers who can get the job done with as little drama as possible. They don’t want people who have to repeatedly be told what to do, who spend their time gossiping or moving from desk to desk distracting everyone else.
They won’t want to keep you around if you’re the type to constantly argue with your coworkers, roll your eyes when assigned a task, start trouble at any given opportunity, or just be a nuisance to the office. Bad attitudes like these won’t be tolerated for long before you’re shown the door.
While you may be entitled to vacation days, sick days, mental health days, and more, it’s not a good look if you’re constantly requesting time off.
If you’re truly dealing with burnout, health issues, or a series of unfortunate events in your personal life, they may cut you some slack and let you take whatever time you need for a while but they won’t let it go on forever.
It will get to a point where the company will fire you because it’s still a business and it can’t justify keeping you on the payroll if you’re unable to show up and do your work a lot of the time.
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Maybe your boss is an ass. Maybe your job sucks most of the time. Maybe the work environment can be pretty toxic.
Still, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to go about publicizing these facts to anyone who would listen, even if you’re doing it from a personal or private online account.
If you get caught talking about how much you hate your job, coworkers, or manager, it can land you in a whole lot of trouble. You could get suspended, or even worse, have your employment terminated effective immediately.
Unless you already have another job lined up, especially one that doesn’t mind you speaking negatively about a previous employer, it’s not worth it.
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As an employee, you owe your employers a duty of confidentiality even if it’s not expressly stated in your employment contract.
You are precluded from disclosing any confidential information about the company and its products, services, customers, intellectual property, or financial performance.
Breaking this confidence by sharing sensitive information relating to the business publicly is grounds for a dismissal. So be careful of what you say about the company on or offline and ensure that your conversations and opinions are not likely to cause harm to it.
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Giving false information on company documents is a fireable offence, especially if the documents have to do with finance or industry regulations.
Whether your intent is based on personal gain or a misguided attempt at protecting the company, forging records can not only jeopardize your employment, it can also put the entire company at risk.
Depending on the kind of work you do, it can lead to financial losses, litigation, injury, jail time, or loss of life.
Many organizations have policies that regulate how employees are to act in, around, and outside of the office. These policies cover all sorts of situations from what you wear to how you relate to customers, and the way you conduct yourself at company or professional events.
Failing to abide by the rules your company has laid down can get you in trouble with the powers that be. You can get a warning, be suspended with or without pay, face disciplinary action, or even lose your job depending on how serious the policy violation was.
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If you take a pen or a notepad home every once in a while, no one is going to write you up for that. But if you were to start taking a carton of pens and dozens of notepads, it becomes a problem that puts you at risk for getting fired immediately should you get caught.
No employer wants to keep a thief around and they expect employees to act with honesty and integrity. When you break that trust by stealing from the company, it brings your entire character into question.
In some cases, depending on the value of what you stole, the company can press charges in addition to sacking you.
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Many companies have a strict no drug policy at work. Some will even perform random drug tests on their employees to ensure that they’re adhering to this policy.
This is because being intoxicated with drugs or alcohol during work hours can increase risk of injury, reduce productivity, and promote a lack of inhibition that can cause damage to the company and its reputation.
So if you get caught being under the influence while at work, you can expect to be fired immediately.
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Embellishing your resume may seem like a victimless offence, but it can lead to a loss of credibility in the eyes of your employers and result in your immediate termination if you get found out.
Don’t say you got a degree from Stanford University if you only took a certification course. Don’t lie that you have a certification if you merely took the course but didn’t complete the exams.
Saying you worked for a company you never worked for is not okay and neither is claiming a bigger title when you held a different or lower position. Just work with what you’ve got.
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Another thing that will get you fired immediately is causing damage to company property. Whether it’s accidental or intentional, ruining an asset that belongs to the organization will be viewed as a lack of respect for the company and a display of poor judgement.
Not to mention that it will cost the business money to replace the damaged item. Also, your actions can result in revenue losses for the company if the property you damaged is integral to it running day-to-day.
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No one likes a tardy employee. Sure, there are unforeseen circumstances that will warrant you to show up late to work once in a while but you cannot make a habit of always arriving late.
Repetitive lateness signals to your employer that you don’t value your work or respect the company’s time, and that you think you’re better than your coworkers who resume at the right time. If you want to keep your job, you have to start getting out of bed earlier.
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If you want to get fired immediately make it a habit of making inappropriate sexual remarks and advances to your colleagues.
Many companies have put in place policies to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace and most will take action against the perpetrator once its reported so they don’t leave themselves open to lawsuits.
So think twice before you comment on that co-worker’s body or make sexually suggestive statements, or even try to make moves on them.
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You might think you’re being smart for using the company’s printer or internet access to work on your side gig or arrange your personal affairs, but this kind of behavior won’t be accepted by most employers.
Company resources—supplies, internet, equipment, offices, time—are meant to be used for company business alone. If you’re diverting it towards non-business related activities or using them for personal purposes, it may be viewed as stealing and you’d be asked to pack up your desk.
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If you have a habit of making false statements or comments about your employers or coworkers that have the potential to damage their reputation, the company might have to take action against you to prevent further harm from occurring.
You may be asked to pack up your desk because your slanderous actions are affecting the productivity and happiness of the party you’re slandering and it can no longer be tolerated.
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When you spend a huge portion of the day interacting with a group of people, especially when you’re working together in a physical location, you’d probably end up learning secrets or hearing stories about each other.
Making it your mission to fabricate or disseminate these juicy bits of information makes you a gossip and it can lay the groundwork for your termination.
This is because gossiping can be considered workplace bullying and it promotes inefficiency and creates an environment for backbiting and slander to thrive.
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Everyone’s personality is different. Some are friendly and outgoing and others are lone wolves who prefer to avoid interactions and just do things on their own.
Regardless of how you are wired, when you work for a company, you need to adjust your actions and temperament and relate civilly to other members of the team.
If you’re constantly getting into arguments or not getting along with your coworkers despite being given feedback and room to change, the company’s final resort would be to sack you.
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Everyone deserves to feel safe, welcome, and respected in the workplace. This right is even protected by law to prevent workers from being discriminated against because of their age, gender, race, disability, nationality, or religion.
If you’re caught practicing discriminatory behaviors at work, you may receive a reprimand and diversity training if the infraction is not so serious. But for major infractions, you are very likely going to be fired right away.
Usually, companies don’t tolerate employees using the office time and internet to browse websites that are inappropriate or unrelated to the job.
Some expect you to use your discretion while others will go as far as disabling your access to certain sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Twitter, X-rated platforms, and more.
If you get caught surfing these prohibited sites at work, you might be let off with a warning, suspended, or asked to leave permanently depending on the nature of the infraction.
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The workplace is meant to be an environment where people can safely carry out their responsibilities without having to fear being harmed or threatened with violence.
If you go about verbally harassing anyone or you resort to physically attacking a customer or colleague over a disagreement at work, you will be considered a safety risk. Your actions will be seen as a serious offence that warrants your immediate dismissal.
No matter how you feel about someone at work or how heated a disagreement gets, it’s never okay to resort to physical violence or even threaten it. Apart from getting fired, you can also be arrested and charged for the assault.
Keep your personal life at home and shut the door behind it when you leave for work. The office is not the right place to talk about how unhappy you are in your relationship or the mean thing your mother said to you at thanksgiving.
The issues you can discuss with your fellow workers should revolve around your responsibilities at work. Don’t carry over the drama or feelings that have to do with your personal life to your work life or let them affect your productivity.
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You are expected to accurately report your business expenses, when you clock in or clock out of work, and how much time you spend on the job. Tampering with these facts and figures is looked upon as a form of fraud, so you can expect to be fired on the spot if you get caught.
So think twice before you claim that you worked more hours than you actually did or before you expense brunch with your friends as taking clients to lunch.
Trust is the most important currency in employer and employee relationships. Being dishonest or doing things that show that you lack integrity can cause that trust to be broken and lead to you being let go.
As far as employers are concerned, being awake at your desk is the least you can do to show you’re contributing to the company.
Sure, there may be times when you’re so tired from work and your personal responsibilities that you just want to take a nap for a few hours to recharge, but doing this isn’t recommended.
You’re better off loading up on energy drinks or coffee to stay alert and focus until you can go home to sleep. If your employer catches you sleeping at work, they will take it to mean that you’re stealing the company’s time and are unserious about your job.
You might get off with only a warning the first few times this happens, but repeated sleeping will earn you a sack.
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Social networks can be useful for building your network, growing an audience, and connecting with like-minded people, but it can also cost you your job if you go overboard with it.
Companies won’t tolerate you endlessly scrolling through your feed when you’re meant to be working or sharing posts that contravene their social media policy.
So before you sacrifice your job security on the altar of creating content or going viral, thoroughly review and understand what your company’s rules around social media use are.
There will be times when you don’t agree with your boss or when they treat you poorly by lashing out or yelling at you, but you can’t respond by giving them a taste of their own medicine.
You can’t raise your voice, refuse to follow orders, argue disrespectfully, throw a tantrum, or do things that come across as unruly.
Doing so will be considered insubordination and you could lose your job as a result. The best way to handle the situation is to politely share your opinions and report the disagreement to human resources or someone higher up so they can help resolve it.
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Everyone has a past and as long as it doesn’t impede your ability to do the job or endanger customers, other employees, or the business, many companies are willing to look past your criminal history.
However, you have to let them know that you have a record early on, preferably during the interview process or before you accept an offer.
If you fail to disclose and your employer finds out about your criminal past through some other means, you can get fired immediately.
Some companies have and enforce dress code policies to ensure employees maintain an appearance of professionalism and expertise based on their industry. Some others do it because it’s necessary for health and safety reasons.
Refusing to comply with dress code regulations that are reasonable and perfectly lawful will compel your employer to take action against you or even terminate your employee contract.
To avoid ending up in this situation, make sure you familiarize yourself with your company’s dress code rules and follow them.
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No matter how small or important your role in a company is, you have to maintain decorum and professionalism at work to keep from landing yourself in trouble and losing your job.
If you’re guilty of any of these missteps, it’s not too late to amend your behavior before it costs you your paycheck.
Show up every day, do your best work, and abide by the written and unwritten rules of the workplace.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.