10 Common Reasons People Get Fired! (A few are downright laughable, but people actually do things like this!)

Some of the reasons people lose their jobs can appear to be taken from the routines of stand up comedians. Unfortunately, they are truly nothing to laugh at. I have isolated what appear to be things that play a great part in employer decisions to fire certain employees. Any single one on the list is a major no-no and one would think that each of them is really a no-brainer.

When it comes to getting fired, the reasons are usually pretty common, and not always within the employee’s control. People get terminated for reasons such as company reorganizations, company financial setbacks , downsizing and other unexpected company problems. There are, however, plenty of reasons that people get fired that are not related to the company’s troubles, but to shortcomings on the part of the employee.

Check out the list after the jump and see if you find some of them as amusing and incredible as I do. If you know of any other reasons people can get fired, post a comment to add to my list:

1. Forgetting to take a bath. Each of us has had the terrible misfortune to have sat next to someone who has poor hygiene, whether on public transportation, or in the workplace. The offender may appear to be oblivious to the “assault” on co-workers. Clearly, employers and co-workers are not oblivious to it and it definitely impacts on job retention. It is necessary to bathe daily and use whatever personal products that will keep you fresh during the long workday.

2. Talking negatively about anyone – especially the boss. In the workplace, speaking negatively about anyone is a major mistake as it will invariably get back to the person of whom one speaks. Speaking negatively about the individual who signs your check is on or close to the top of the list when it comes to being selected for termination. Workplace information passes at lightning speed. It is essential to keep negative information out of the office “information pipeline.”

3. Drinking on the job. Drinking any sort of alcoholic beverage is absolutely not acceptable in the workplace or during the workday. It impairs judgment, slows down productivity, can make you short-tempered, unreasonable, depressed and overly emotional. It is inadvisable to drink at any juncture of a business day, on your lunch hour or at business lunches, even if offered by one’s employer.

4. Sleeping at one’s desk on a regular basis. Baby up all night? Someone snoring? Financial problems preventing sleep? These are legitimate reasons for being very tired when arriving at work. There are, however, no possible legitimate reasons for sleeping on the job, no matter what the personal circumstances. It is preferable to lose a day’s work to stay home and catch up on rest than to be showcasing oneself in such a compromised, unacceptable and truly unforgettable manner in a professional environment. The employer hires a worker to do a job. Sleeping is, in essence, taking money in exchange for a day’s work and then not delivering the work and one of the most clear cut reasons one can possibly provide to an employer for terminating employment.

5. Coming in late and leaving early. If one is chronically late and repeatedly leaving early, they may feel that it goes unnoticed. Unfortunately, they are incorrect. It surely is noted by co-workers and will be used at some point to discredit that person at a time, perhaps, when they are seeking a promotion, a raise, a special favor. This insidious form of stealing time multiplies on a daily basis and accumulates many hours of diminished productivity.

6. Complaining about the job. If one doesn’t like one’s job, it is recommended that they quit or that they keep that information to themselves. Once someone has agreed to take a job, they have entered into an agreement, irrespective of whether they have it in writing or not. They have made a tacit arrangement to accept payment for services rendered. If one cannot render the services in good faith and feel compelled to disparage the employer, the company, co-workers, patients, clients or customers, they are committing an act of irresponsibility, at best, and being unethical, at the very worst.

7. Falsifying information on a job application. Remarkably, this is a common occurrence and, given the global nature of the internet, one likely to backfire, sooner or later. It makes sense to provide honest information across the board, in terms of resume, job application, interview and on-the-job. No one wants to destroy their personal credibility with a lie that can come back to haunt them.

8. Conducting personal business at work. The average worker, according to a new survey by America Online and Salary.com, admits to wasting 2.09 hours per an 8-hour day, not including scheduled break times and lunch. Surprisingly, accordingly to a poll of 10,000 people, the older an employee is, the less amount of time wasted on the job. (Those born from 1930-1949, waste 0.50 hours a day at work, as opposed to those born from 1980-1985, who waste 1.95 hours a day on personal activities.) Those who are likely to retain employment would clearly be those who fall into the lowest end of the spectrum in relationship to time spent on non-work-related tasks.

9. Talking too much or gossiping. Employers take great issue with troublemakers and the surest way to be labeled a troublemaker is to be a gossip. Office politics have always existed and always will. Those who stay out of the line of fire, by being unwilling to carry stories from one person to another, no matter what the temptation, will protect their own reputation and keep out of the line of fire, so to speak. Getting involved in gossip is a sure-fire way to come under scrutiny by one’s employer and set oneself up for possible termination when cutbacks are necessary.

10. Sharing confidential company information.Whether or not instructed to keep company information private, it goes without saying that all information about one’s employer and the company are considered to be confidential. Not only is company information confidential outside of the business, it is also confidential within the various departments. It is a given, although a frequently unspoken rule, that one keeps all information obtained in the workplace as confidential, even after ending employment, either voluntarily or involuntarily. With the HIPPA laws in the medical field regarding patients’ privacy, it is also a natural progression to keep all information about one’s company and employers and co-workers under one’s hat.

67 Responses to “10 Common Reasons People Get Fired! (A few are downright laughable, but people actually do things like this!)”

  1. Subrina Chowtie

    In general I believe poor work performance will get anyone fired.
    I found number one(Forgetting to take a bath) to be amusing, but it does happen;though, I haven’t seen it happen to anyone I’ve known in the past.
    Number ten (Sharing confidential company information), that is a reasonable situation in which one should be fired. This would be going against the company’s policies.
    I think one should be fired if he or she is constently texting or talking on his/her cell phone. At first they would be warned, but it is common sense to know, when you’re at work you shouldn’t be texting your friends, the company is not paying you to text on your cell phone, they are paying to complete specific tasks.

  2. Jan Plummer

    I am currently working in an environment unlike any I have before. Perhaps it is the nature of a media environment to spill the beans on anyone and anything because, quite frankly, it’s a sensational environment. I have to remind myself daily of things that should be communicated and things that should not. When it comes to gossip, the media thrives on it. My newspaper news department is strongly left-side opinionated and offended with a challenge. Plus it is difficult to challenge them, because as an ad sales rep, I can’t possibly have as much information about the subject. I try to remain as neutral as possible without being a complete pushover. Sometimes it helps to just say, ” I don’t know that person or situation at all and couldn’t say” rather than race into speculation about an unknown subject. Thus are the daily events in a small town newspaper, but not so in the professional world so much. There are more codes of etiquette in health care, especially among the professionals and immature behavior is viewed as “simple” by management. I remember in high school that a sociology professor taught me that the lowest form of communication is gossip. Spread that around.
    Jan Plummer

  3. Denise Cunningham

    Falsifying information on a job application is something people do to make themselves look better, but if you say you are qualified to do a job that you are not qualified to do, it will come back to haunt you, it will be embarrassing to say the least when you are expected to do a job that you are not able to do after you said you could. Also it’s not just the things you put in an application but it is also the things you neglect to inform the employer of, like if the application ask you if you have a criminal record. Even though you may not want to include this information it is always best that it comes from you rather than let them find out by checking your criminal background history.

  4. I recently worked with a person who constantly complained about her job and talked negatively about everyone- including our supervisor. Well, she was let go, they told her job performance wasn’t very good. She was a good worker, but her attitude was awful. I warned her not to complain to much because everything you say, postitve or negative somehow always gets back to the “Big Cheese”. Working with a person who constantly complains is a real downer, before you know it you start to feel down and angry and you don’t know why. It spreads like wildfire. It’s like having bad karma surround you.

    • Tasha Washington

      I worked with someone who complained about everything. You wouldn’t believe that this person was preparing for her big wedding day. She not only comlained to the co-workers, she complained to the visitors, and she complained to the boss. She was terminated a week before her wedding because of poor job performance. I think, that no matter what the circumstance or situation may be, a person should be mindful in the way that they carry themselves especially in the work place. I’ve learned that if I’m stressed, or having problems, I leave them at home. I don’t bring my cares of life to work. Remember, if you sow negatively, you’ll reap negatively but, if you sow positively, you’ll reap positively.

  5. Kimberlee

    Coming in late and leaving early should not be tolerated. A warning should be given and if the employee doesn’t comply, they need to be relieved of their position. When a co-worker acts like this, it puts more of a work load on their fellow co-workers and they are not going to put up with it for very long.
    Conducting personal business at work is not fare to the employer. The employer is paying you for your time to do tasks for their company. Personally, this is disrespectful to the employer. The one thing that I have noticed is the abuse of cell phone use while on the job. This seems to be a growing problem.

  6. Patricia Robinson

    I did find these quite amusing and actually did work with people that did some of these things. The funniest one was someone sleeping on the job. They actually fell asleep on the floor in front of the doorway and no one could get in. They thought there was something wrong with her.

    I did want to add one more to the list. You should not do one job while at another job. Nowadays many people have the option of working from home. This certainly does not mean that you can do two jobs at the same time and get paid for each of them. Working from home should be the same as if it were done in an office. It takes a certain drive to work at home and not get distracted from doing other tasks, but it can be done. Even if you have down time, don’t take it for granted and think it is time to do something other than what is expected from your manager. Take this time to improve on tasks that you are required to get done.

  7. Shanikqua Houston

    After reading the 10 common reasons people get fired gave me a great understanding on what not to do and what to avoid in the workplace. I have never been fired or engaged in some of these reasons. All these reasons are nothing to laugh at or to take lightly, as these reasons happen everyday and sometimes unrecognized until it’s too late. All these reasons are valuable to termination and people need to avoid them and take their jobs serious. Reason #1 really caught my attention, it’s quite humorous but unfortunately can lead to termination. I once worked at a job and knew for sure that an employee was fired due to this reason. I’m not sure if he forgot to take a bath or if he was just having some issues but all we knew was he just had a terrible odor and everyone was complaining. After a few verbal warnings from his supervisor and manager, they seem to have had enough and the employee was fired. But did we forget that everyone has their own beliefs or religion? Hmmm….question unanswered?

  8. I like your post , especially the reason forgetting to take a bath, i had the unfortunate experiance of working beside someone who was lets say not too nice on the smelling senses,fortunetley he last only 4 months in the job but that was enough.

    but it is not a reason for someone getting fired the manager should have a quite word about their hygene…

  9. My brother-in-law needs to read # 4. He used to sleep at his desk a lot and snore loud too! He uses CPAP, well he use to use it, he hates it. Most of the time he will not use it because he feels that his snoring is not as serious as it really is and it’s not worth the discomfort. He tried an anti snoring chin strap and he seems to like that better.

    For sure sleeping at your desk will get you fired, this is what happened to my BIL. Now he knows he had a medical problem, but it’s too late to get his job back.

    Thanks for a good read

  10. Blanche

    Those are all common reasons to get fired. But there is another problem out there in the workplace. What if the department has a number of employees who have been there for years and gossips and starts trouble against a new recruit? And what if those individuals are close personal friends of the manager and because of their friendship, the manager never does anything about it? What does the new recruit do then?

  11. I can top anyone’s “I got fired because…” story!

    My sister-in-law is a mid-level manager for an unemployment office in Minnesota and 20 years ago had to process a claim from an individual who claimed they were fired because they refused to use a bathroom where they worked because as a transvestite they felt “uncomfortable” going into either a men’s or women’s bathroom and instead insisted on going home every time nature called.

    Their claim was denied, of course.

  12. I have a coworker that sometimes I wished would get fired for not taking a bath. Here’s on you can add. I just had coworkers fired for filming a sexually suggestive video at work in work clothes and posting it on facebook. The company has zero tolerance for anything that might create a negative image in the minds of customers. Someone told me Dominos pizza had this happen and it really ruined the reputation of the company once the video when viral on youtube.

  13. Terrific post, and certainly true in most instances. As more employers are getting rid of those guilty of any of the above infractions, the job market gets more and more difficult to enter. The competition is fierce nowadays, and job seekers are looking for more and more ways to stand out from the rest.

  14. Michael R. Thomas

    Hi Donna. I really like your post. I’m totally agree with your post. I know most people who are working encounter this issue. I ve been working for almost a year and get fired in some of this reasons: being lazy, not updated, falling asleep and coming late. This are sample that people mostly get fired. They are not responsible in their job even in doing their simple task. They take it for granted. Thanks to your post, i really enjoy reading this wall mounted desk.

  15. Good post Donna, I totally agree with the reasons for getting fired and it seems more and more people are getting fired for more that one reason on the list.

    That’s the gem of working for yourself!


  16. College students need to have information like this before they get their first professional job. Parents need to reinforce work ethic at home with discussions and by setting an example.

  17. One other thing that I have seen ppl get fired is employee theft. Most employers have ZERO tolerance policy for this type of behavior.

    Theft can be in many forms… incl taking office supplies home, taking long lunches/breaks, using office equipment to do personal stuff…etc

  18. Nr.1 reminds me of a guy who used to do static calculation for me.He used to ride bicycle to get to wotk,but never actually took shower after arriving to the office.Everytime I went there I had to take deep breath before entering office and it was not really pleasant experience.There were 3 more people sitting in that office so I was really sorry for them

  19. From what I’ve seen, it is inability or an unwillingness to focus and complete the most important task at hand. As a result, they gossip, check facebook, sleep, complain etc.

  20. I found this article hilarious! Especially the first item “forgetting to take a bath”!! i cant believe anyone would go in to work with out showering first. The others seem like common sense to me but clearly some people have no grasp of that.

  21. I agree with you Rift! it sounds funny in a way.. but in reality it really happens… taking opportunities for granted. I just felt that there are lots of people looking for a job and so much willing to work very hard but still can’t get hired, while some people who are hired were neglecting their jobs..

  22. Thanks so much for this post.

    Over the years, I’ve encoutered almost all of these (yep, including the “odorous” co-worker . . . the toughest part is “gingerly” having a conversation with them about it).

    But I wanted to comment specifically on #8 because it seems that the boundaries between personal/work are slowly dissolving. Case in point, I am constantly amazed at the number of younger folks who think its OK to text, web search or even manage fantasy sports trades during work hours.

  23. In my mind, it is the current culture to cheat on the employer. You see it in TV shows and movies all the time.. So after awhile that becomes the standard, expected behavior. Pretty soon you are getting in trouble with the other workers for doing too good of a job – “hey, are you trying to make US look bad”…

  24. I had a co-worker that had the sleepy head at the desk problem. I would just quietly go over and tap her on the shoulder. It was almost and everyday occurrence, but I did look out for her and made sure she didn’t hit her head against the computer monitor. :-)

  25. Drinking on the job is a big problem in the place i live. People use an alcohol at every day of they work days, not sure how to solve this problem. When we ask why they doing this, they tell us that it relax them and its easier to do the job, i have already paied few penalties for these people. Its hard to drop them out, cause they have family they have to feed them.

  26. I think that complaining about the job is one of the most important reasons of loosing the job. Unfortunately in most of cases people that complain about their job are right. This is of course my personal point of view

  27. It problems me personally when i observe this particular lack of determination coming from students thus to their employment whenever you will find numerous jobless those that have people that might bounce with the prospects for a career.

  28. After reading this I’ve come to the realization that most people in my office should be fired! A few of these make sense, like sleeping on the job, sharing company information, ect. Being fired for complaining about a job should not be justifiable, im sure the vast majority of workers complain about one or more aspects about their job.

  29. Some are very obvious, while others not so much. Incredible about people who come chronically late to work and think others don´t notice or don’t care, but it is true. I’m sure this post has helped a few to not get fired already.Drinking on the job is a big problem in the place i live. People use an alcohol at every day of they work days, not sure how to solve this problem. This is of course my personal point of view

  30. Most of the time employees thought that bad work performance is major reason to fire someone. But actually it is not true. Your boss will encourage you, scold you to improve your work performance but will never fire immediately. This article shows the major reason for which employees are suspended or fired from job place. I think every professional person should go through this article for improvement and career growth.

  31. Well, maybe this is my version for why employees get fired:

    Damaging Company Property
    Drug or Alcohol Possession at Work
    Falsifying Company Records
    Poor Performance
    Using Company Property for Personal Business
    Taking Too Much Time Off
    Violating Company Policy

  32. “5. Coming in late and leaving early.” I’ve had a friend get fired for being 7 minutes late to work. It felt to him that it was more of an excuse to get rid of an employee to the manager. But it was enough. Good article and good advice.

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