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Top 10 Reasons 21st-Century Employees Get Fired

Ms. Inglish is a successful employment & training pro, setting Midwest regional records with tens of thousands placed in gainful employment.

There are many reasons 21st-century employees get fired. Read on to learn more.

There are many reasons 21st-century employees get fired. Read on to learn more.

Introduction to Employment and Job Retention

The photograph below is a typical bread line or unemployment line back in the 1930s, but we're having these today as well. In fact, every decade—or at least every change in presidential administration—brings with it a change in the economy that results in a recession.

Today, some employees lose their jobs through no fault of their own. However, some other times, there is realistic cause for termination.

Dishonesty, evasion, or lack of integrity on the job can be the culprit that results in termination, as well as lack of training and misunderstandings. It is important to be honest, straightforward, and forthcoming on the job with your management and then to insist on proper training and fair treatment as well.

Reasons 21st-Century Employees Get Fired

  1. Dishonesty, evasion, or lack of integrity on the job.
  2. Lying on a resume.
  3. Refusing to follow directions and orders.
  4. Talking too much and conducting personal business at work.
  5. Inconsistency—unreliable work and behaviors.
  6. Inability to get along with other people/reducing group productivity.
  7. Inability to actually do assigned job tasks.
  8. Performing tasks slowly, with numerous errors.
  9. High absenteeism rate.
  10. Drug and/or alcohol abuse.
Typical Bread Line and Soup Kitchen for the unemployed in the 1930s.

Typical Bread Line and Soup Kitchen for the unemployed in the 1930s.

References and Notes

  • Article text includes data collected from 1995 through 2012 by Patty Inglish. All Rights Reserved.
  • Featured with permission in the textbook Better Business, First Canadian Edition on Feb 28, 2012 and New Edition 2014.

1. Dishonesty, evasion, or lack of integrity on the job.

It is important to be honest, straightforward, and forthcoming on the job with management and coworkers. However, this does not mean that you should blurt out everything you know.

It is important to protect your company's proprietary information, such as copyrighted and trademarked materials, company manuals, program materials, and new projects, services, and inventions in order to prevent corporate espionage and theft. Time sheets and expense reports must be 100% true and accurate, without padding. Projects reports, especially facts and figures must not be faked.

Employees should not use company materials or equipment for their own personal purposes and this includes telephones, cell phones, copiers, laptops, PDAs, iPODs, and the Internet. However, some employers will make an exception in some cases - for example, printing up few flyers for a charity—but ask them first in order to preserve ongoing trust.

Most employers also permit emergency phone calls from and to family members and allow parents to call to check on their children. Absolutely no employee should use company time, equipment, and materials to operate a personal business on company time, such as an Internet sales page, or a Pampered Chef or Tupperware business, etc.

2. Lying on a resume.

Increasing numbers of employers are checking every single reference a job candidate provides, although EEO regulations make this more difficult to complete since the late 2000s. Employee privacy is becoming an issue.

If there are notations on your resume of more than one business "closed down" or one or more employers having died, or there are untraceable educational certifications, you risk being fired for fraud. Be prepared to show some sort of documentation for those closed down business and schools.

Many employers now require that you show them, and provide them a copy of, your High School, Vocational School, and College transcripts and diplomas, as well as certifications and licenses.If you lose any of these, they can be difficult and expensive to replace.

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Read More From Toughnickel

In many companies, reference checking continues after you are hired. Some employers run regularly occurring credit checks on workers more than once per year. Contracts with firms that do bulk credit and background checks make this cheaper to accomplish.

A local retail conglomerate containing a dozen chains of clothing and accessory outlets also owns a financial services division and a credit and collections division. Through vocational counseling duties, I learned that temporary employees in credit and collections sometimes underwent no credit checks, while full-time-with-benefits customer service reps were checked at hire and semiannually thereafter.

The two-art employer rationale often reported, albeit perhaps not a valid one for worker credit checks is

  1. To prevent theft and embezzlement, and
  2. To prevent a] sloppiness and mishandling of funds/resources, and b] low productivity.

In several workforce articles in the body of literature, evidence emerges that the poor credit check does not usually correlate with the problems supposedly linked with it in the workplace.

During a national recession, the poor credit check result may be even more meaningless and hopefully dropped by some companies. Financial and credit services seem to employee credit checks more often than other employers.

As a professional in other industries, I have gathered background checks and these recurring credit checks, and can testify to their time-consuming nature. In my experience, the background check at hire is the more important and should not be eliminated. Credit checks can be eliminated, except perhaps in the financial industry.

If anyone tells you to make up information and add it to make your resume look better, they are either

  1. Naïve or ill-informed, or
  2. Trying to get you into trouble. Some people make it their hobby to hurt others. I was advised twice in the past to add companies and jobs to my resume that I had never experienced. I did not do so, because my resume was already bringing comments of "overqualified" from some HR departments. It was suspicious for anyone to suggest that I add false information.

A Famous Case Example

Following directions and instructions is vital to successful business and your career.

Following directions and instructions is vital to successful business and your career.

3. Refusing to follow directions and orders.

This is fairly self explanatory and yet, some employees do not understand that their jobs require them to follow directions and to comply with the requests of their superiors at work..

Your company pays for (in wages) and owns your working time and you must do everything legal that your supervisors and bosses ask you to do.

If you have a better idea, you must talk to them and go through proper channels in order to "do it your way." If you are asked to do something illegal, unethical, or what you consider immoral, you need to take a stand on that in a professional manner.

Sometimes, people who cannot follow directions simply need to start their own businesses, and that's perfectly OK. It's a part of the Multiple Intelligences phenomenon and absolutely acceptable.

Time wasters at work can ruin your career.

Time wasters at work can ruin your career.

4. Talking too much and conducting personal business at work.

Don't be guilty of misusing company resources, including the Internet, office supplies, and especially telephones; too much idle (personal talking) with coworkers. Non-business talking wastes more company dollars than any other activity. It should be saved for lunch and break times. This includes talking on the phone/email with stockbrokers, travel agents, hairdressers, bankers, etc.

In the 1960s and into the early 1970s, many offices and factories did not allow any conversation - employees were to work, not talk. This policy loosened somewhat in the 1980s and 1990s and then as employers discovered how much talking costs them, they began laying off the talkers. HOWEVER, some employers allow a certain amount of this type of activity and it is important to understand YOUR company policies and follow them.

5. Inconsistency—unreliable work and behaviors.

Employees must be stable and consistent in behaviors and productivity in order to benefit the company and produce profits or positive outcomes.

While most people have ups and downs in energy, if these interfere with productivity and accuracy in their jobs, they need to contact their Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or seek professional help.

If employee reviews are given regularly, these trends can be caught in time to be guided into something more positive. If you are not receiving employee reviews, ask for one.

Getting along with colleagues is a must.

Getting along with colleagues is a must.

6. Inability to get along with other people/reducing group productivity.

Some people have a lower "Social IQ" than others, some are loners, and some are sociopathic or have personality disorders. Unless there is a mental health disorder present (like the sociopathic or personality disorder symptoms) people can learn to be civil and have productive conversations—even those with Asperger's syndrome and other autism spectrum disorders.

Management should notice extreme problems with employee's getting along with others and intervene professionally with a referral to the Employee Assistance Program for consultation and help or the Professional Development Program for training like awareness and communications education.

Without these latter two programs, many more employees would be fired and end up possibly in jail or homeless.

Inability to perform a job is a career killer.

Inability to perform a job is a career killer.

7. Inability to actually do assigned job tasks.

If employees lie convincingly enough during an interview or on a resume, stating that they can do certain tasks, but proving unable to perform these duties on he job, they will likely be fired if they cannot learn to do them very quickly.

However, some tasks that require certifications and licenses cannot be quickly learned on the job during the first weeks. These deficits will expose the employee as unable to perform assigned duties and having lied during the application process .

However, occasionally there is a lack of initial orientation and training on the job and the employee needs to ask for help early on. Sometimes, through misunderstanding, an employee will be assigned tasks that are beyond their training or education or in an entirely different field.

This is certainly a mismatch. Such an employee needs to speak up right away in a professional manner and ask for help or reassignment. These employees may need to report their circumstances to Human Resources, an Employee Assistance Program, a Union Steward, or their attorney if the situation escalates..

8. Performing tasks slowly, with numerous errors.

Some employees are sloppy and not invested in doing a good job. Unless their attitudes change for more productive beliefs, they will likely be fired.

On the other hand, and unwisely, some employees try to "string out" their work and make it last longer in order to have job security. This is dishonest. A better plan is to finish their tasks at an acceptable rate and ask coworkers if they can help them, and after that, go to the boss and ask for more work. Not only is this honest, but it lets the boss know that you are a good worker and deserving of raises and promotions.

Unfortunately, some companies do not have adequate training and follow-up programs in place, leaving employees to figure out their jobs on their own. In these cases, slow work and high error rate are not actually the workers' fault.

Alternatively, some people are simply in the wrong job for them and they need to be placed into jobs in which they can excel. These people need to ask for help from their supervisors and bosses and these management persons need to notice the problem and be prepared to help, either with training and coaching, or a job change.

Employers need workers who can perform accurate work according to a set timeline.

Employers need workers who can perform accurate work according to a set timeline.

9. High absenteeism rate.

When you are hired as an employee, your company owns the time that you are at work, except for lunches, breaks, and authorized time off.

It is not a sign of integrity to take every minute of sick time you have, just because you are allotted that amount and are not actually sick. Some employers have solved this problem by lumping vacations, mental health days, sick time, holidays, days for family funerals, and personal days into one category called "Time Off" or similar. You don't have to give any explanation. Longer family-leave and parental leave time usually requires previous authorization though. However, if you need to take sick time for another reason, confide in your bosses and they may make an accommodation for you.

If an employee is having problems with job burnout that often manifests as absences and tardiness or is suffering frequent accidents, drug/alcohol abuse, family difficulties, or other mental health or physical issues, many employers have Employee Assistance Programs to help guide and treat these problems. Employees should take advantage of this help to 1) increase the quality of their own lives and 2) become more consistent and productive workers.

10. Drug and/or alcohol abuse.

This leads to inconsistent work, errors, accidents, poor interpersonal relationships, increased absenteeism, lower morale among coworkers and supervisors, bad publicity for the company, and other negatives. Drug and alcohol problems both are usually only one of a set of serious disorders known as Co-Occurring Disorders, so there is usually much more to the problem than drug use or drinking that got out of hand.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2007 Patty Inglish MS


Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on November 17, 2014:

Thanks for those thoughts and suggestions. They might lead to some interesting findings.

Robert Sacchi on November 17, 2014:

No, I think the number is small, but the consequences for those unfortunate few could be grave. I think that may be a good survey question for your article; Has an employer/superior ever asked you to perform an illegal task? Thank you for answering question 2. Unless it was understood as a job where such credit checks are routine it would seem a case of an employer making what they pay their employee worth less.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on November 17, 2014:

@Robert Sacchi - Do you think a large number of employers fire workers for refusing to perform illegal tasks? I'd like to know if that could be true.

Frequent credit checks by an employer - These would appear on the credit file and could harm the workers' credit standings.

Robert Sacchi on October 27, 2014:

Interesting article. If asked to do something illegal the smart move would seem to be to inform law enforcement immediately. If an employee refuses to do something illegal, unethical, or immoral and the employer fires them because of it, the employers aren't likely to give that as the reason for firing employees on a top 10 reasons survey. Question on number 2, would these credit checks have an impact on an employee's credit?

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 09, 2014:

Thanks for those insights! - Especially about tending to one's own duties. All true.

VJG from Texas on October 09, 2014:

After 20 years with one employer, I can honestly say that attendance is 90% of keeping your job. You hit the nail right on the head with your top 10. Also, you can keep your job and be called/depended on by staying in your own circle. Succeed at what you do well, don't worry about other's duties.

naved007 on August 29, 2014:


Ericajean on August 27, 2014:

@Pattie Inglish,MS:Thanks for the information and you are welcome!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 26, 2014:

@Ericajean - You'll be glad to know that credit checks for employment purposes, except in financial institutions and govt. or related, are becoming illegal, Some cities began that trend, followed by certain states. Hopefully, all states will follow through.

Thanks for the votes and comments!

Ericajean on August 26, 2014:

I voted this hub useful, awesome and a thumbs up.

What I disagree with, are companies using credit checks in order to determine hire or "for keeps"- I think that is pushing things too far for people who need to make a living and pay off their debts. That is why they work.

I do kind of understand why banks and other financial institutions do credit checks- totally. But even then, I doubt if a credit check will determine if a person is right for a company. Now a background check, as you've stated above, is more pertinent and smart.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on April 20, 2014:

Thank you, GreenPrince, for you insights!

Prince Edike from Philippines on April 20, 2014:

Wow! i love this hub. Its very informative and interesting. I still would like to add that during recession, down-sizing looms and could lead to staff strength reduction in order for firms to cope with the taxes and maintain its income. During this time, at times, some companies might be short-sighted,ill-managed and wrongly appraised performances.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on July 19, 2012:

I hope you find it useful. The material helped my work readiness classes substantially.

lezsaysit from New York, NY on July 18, 2012:

I enjoyed this article tremendously. It entails rules that most would not be aware of, disregard and not appreciate until it's too late. Thank you for sharing.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on June 10, 2012:

Thank you, Graham!

Graham Lee from Lancashire. England. on June 10, 2012:

Another first class hub. Nothing to add to the above, it's all been said. I did like the fact that you acknowledged the contribution from Ralph Deeds. That shows character and confidence.

Graham. from upstate, NY on April 11, 2012:

I would have thought that the inability to get along with people would have been higher up on the list but I agree the dishonesty is something that companies can't afford to tolerate because it hurts the company in multiple ways! I think what often happens is that if a person doesn't fit into the company culture, they'll be harassed off the job, I've seen alot of this!

seven2011 on March 07, 2012:

Great hub!! I love it, Thank you!

beechnut79 on February 20, 2012:


Would love to talk to you more about this one. We all know that "at will" works the other way around as well, but there usually is a vast difference between getting fired and leaving on your own. We always have been this way, but I feel that the reason it's getting more attention now is because it is much harder for one to bounce back from a firing than it was when jobs were more plentiful. Then you usually had to be guilty of something rather serious before you were fired, but not now.

Jason Matthews from North Carolina on February 20, 2012:

Great hub. Very informative...voted up!

aniketnik from Nagpur, Maharashtra, INDIA on December 01, 2011:

This is a great job done. The reasons mentioned are perfectly perfect, 10/10, simply great.

2ndblogger from Beverly Hills on November 04, 2011:

i like this hub. very interesting indeed.

hungrybags on November 03, 2011:

Very interesting, I like it...

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on November 03, 2011:

Hello, everyone!

My first full-time job was entry level in an insurance company and we were not permitted to talk unless spoken to by a supervisor. I worked 2 years to earn tuition and and went to college. However, after graduation, a temp job while I was looking for full-time work also had a permanent ban on talking unless with a boss or to a customer on the phone. I wonder if it happens today?

Writings a good thing to do, Cyndi10!

Kalpana Iyer from India on November 02, 2011:

I too have seen a lot of arguments happening because of a person's refusal to take orders from a supervisor. Like you mentioned, this mostly happens when the manager is new and the supervisee has been in the company for a long time. A lot of people end up talking a LOT more than they work. This is something which cannot be stopped, and some take it an extra mile and hence get fired. A really interesting hub!

RedElf from Canada on November 02, 2011:

There are always so many reasons about which employers might know absolutely nothing that can affect an employee's work performance. As usual, an article stuffed full of interesting and germane information. I admire the way you serve up the tough topics.

Cynthia B Turner from Georgia on November 02, 2011:

This information is as good today as it was when you first wrote it. Some of the comments are just as valid, too. When it all comes out in the wash, I agree with Nancy from 3 years ago - "Win the lottery." Alas, not a valid career plan :-) ' Til then, my personality tests (I looked at the hubs you linked) point to counselor, writer, social worker. Well, I started out as a social worker and i'm now exploring writing. Thanks for a great hub.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on November 02, 2011:

That was a quick lesson, wasn't it?

Gustave Kilthau from USA on November 02, 2011:

Howdy Patty - Man alive ! This is a long-lived article with a following to match.

After it made my "Home Page" today, even though the article is older than am I, it might be of interest to add #11 to your list. I don't think I invented #11, but I ran into it when I was 14 years old and new to being employed by a "real" company. What I learned was that #11 says, "Never laugh at the boss when he can hear you and see you doing so." I laughed. He fired.

Gus :-)))

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on November 02, 2011:

You'd think so, but on the contrary, they have never been obvious to many of our summer youth and adult employment training teens (14 - 24) and to some other adults as well; I've taught a class with this material for over a decade. Thanks for comments, Phil and loanyi.

Phil Plasma from Montreal, Quebec on November 02, 2011:

You've got a great evergreen hub here; as others have said most of your points are fairly obvious, but still it is good to state them all explicitly. Voted up and useful.

loanyi on November 02, 2011:

This are good reasons. I have seen people getting their behind kicked out from so many jobs because some of these reasons listed here. Great hub here.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on November 02, 2011:

That's a good addition, Ralph. I do recall seeing conflicts between older employees and new, younger bosses. Thanks for reminding me of this.

Ralph Deeds from Birmingham, Michigan on November 02, 2011:

Excellent information. From my experience I would add the following--inablity or unwillingness to adapt to changes instituted by a new boss, especially in the case of an older long-service employee and a younger new supervisor. I've seen many cases where an older employee is fired by new boss either because the new boss wants to build his or her new team and/or because the older emloyee is too slow or unwilling to respond to the new boss's changes in policies.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 17, 2011:

Thre must be some helping agency that you can try -

Call suicide hotline, who may also know of other agencies that can help you in your situation:


13 11 14

(24 hours a day)

Also, the Men's Line, whos webpage mentions bullying. Call:

1300 78 99 78 (Available 24/7)

Ask them about employment services and referrals as well.

Best wishes to you.

labmik on September 17, 2011:

This whole article is most interesting as well as everyone’s comments.

I recently got sacked from a Federal Government job here in Australia after being off sick with a nervous breakdown during 2011 after the Brisbane floods.

What led to having the nervous breakdown was being told at work that “my job was on the line - if I did not pick up my performance”. Though this is actually considered to be bullying here in Australia, it is written into the Australian Public Service Act 1999 as being acceptable employer behaviour.

So what I am saying is - it's quite ok for Government employers to bully staff as it's supported by parliamentry Law – but you can’t do it to them as that’s illegal.

Despite the fact I had been suffering from ongoing depression, bought about in part, from a severe divorce 10 years earlier, the loss of two homes in the family court, not being able to see my kids and have regualr access, going through a former bankruptcy of a retail business some years later, plus the death of my 12 yo step child with Cystic fibrosis and both my parents with serious health problems - it seemed to be of little to concern to my employer when I explained the underlying reasons for poor on the job performance. It was considered to be "a copout" excuse for my behaviour in their mind.

I had performance reports done on me which failed to highlight one positive thing about my work and behaviour in the workplace – each report was was filled with all negatives by the staff that wrote them.

My Government Employer spent around $160,000 of tax payers’ money training me on their equipment ( I’m an Electronics Technician ) only to sack me when I was off ill for some 4+ months with mental breakdown, triggered by workplace bullying and latter housing "eviction" because of the Brisbane Floods.

I went to the work Union about the matter and even a Solicitor only to find I did not have a leg to stand on as far as trying to retain my Job. Probation in this job was 18 months and even that was not clear when questioned. I was terminated some 16 months into the position.

Now I am in very serious financial trouble unable to stay afloat and threatened with homelessness and further legal action for not being able to pay bills and debts. This feeds the depression, so much so I have been contemplating suicide, as a result. There are no services here in Australia I can go to to get assistance as I do not qualify and fit into their box. I am also mature aged and unable to get further work. So I fully sympathise with all those who have had it tough.

YERBELCRAUST on August 25, 2011:

I'm interested in the "Social IQ" consideration. In my experience, virtually all the people who are low on Social IQ are managers. And worse, they appear to have been recruited into management positions BECAUSE of their social attitude, or at least are never made accountable for it. Bullying by such people is now endemic, and is causing sick-leave and mental problems in the workforce on an unprecedented scale. If employers wish to ensure an efficient and successful operation, I strongly suggest they look in that direction, rather than constantly looking to tighten their dictat over hard-working employees. If they wish for help to spot and ewradicate what is undoubtedly affecting the success of their enterprise, I would be willing to help and direct them.

StephenSMcmillan on July 28, 2011:

OH, now I know those reasons. I must watch my action. THanks for this hub.

PigbitinMad on June 02, 2011:

I was working for a family run company and was under constant relentless deadlines. The people before me were careless and lazy and got a lot of stuff wrong. I turned it around, but because of the economy and our competition having lower overhead, I was blamed for a sudden downturn (after doing the job well for two years). They wasted my time every day talking my ear off when I could have been actually doing the job. They also went back and nitpicked and found one little mistake which they relentlesssly harped on me for (nobody is perfect). They also came up with endless procedures that wasted even more time and were totally unnnecessary. (Sure, I got a little resentful about this, especially when I try to explain that spending 20 hours a week to prevent the rare mistake that takes 10 seconds to fix, is not a particularly effective way to manage your time). Still I did all the work I could not do on the weekends. I got fired anyway so they could keep my boss' brother on the payroll. He strolled in at noon and left 4:00. Reason? He had nightmares and couldn't get a good night's sleep.

I admit I do have a chip on my shoulder, but that is because I have yet to experience a work place where all the hard work is appreciated and I don't get smacked in the face....and passed over for idiots who have a nice smile and no brains.

And anyone who thinks hard work is rewarded and that it is my fault somehow can kiss my FRIGGIN A$$. (And I am 49 btw and though they said I would not be replaced....because they were broke....they went right ahead and replaced me with the kid who totally messed everything up before me). Seriously, this person was a disaster and half the time did not show up because she had to do laundry or something. But my bosses all thought this was cute and funny and never got mad at her. Her mother was also a friend of the family. I am not making this up. And you wonder why people are so angry.

TowelBoy on March 09, 2011:

The absolute top reason why people at my company get fired is misuse of the internet connection. We've tried solutions such as cryptavault and websense, but still people are dumb enough to not realise that we monitor everything (even after the cryptavault system warns them they STILL continue!).

There's one benefit of this, which is that we get to filter out all the dross workers early on by allowing access to all websites - they quickly give themselves away and then we cut them. Simple.

Grace Marguerite Williams from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on February 23, 2011:

Great hub. Very insightful information. Yes, plenty of people are fired for just cause. However, sometimes office politics and "who you know" can be very influential in a person being fired. At my old agency, there was a woman who was quite intelligent and very articulate. She also was very beautiful.

When she started the investigations job in 2005, people marvelled at how good an employee she was. However, she reported that a supervisor unjustly harassed her. After that, she was somewhat blacklisted. Every supervisor she encountered failed to process her investigations, she was consistently written up for minor offenses, and when she was sick, she was disciplined.

She was the only employee subjected to this. Supervisors spread vicious rumors about her and the higher ups wanted to terminate her. She constantly went to the union and this helped her keep her job for the time being. Supervisors purposely keep her promotion low as to have a pretext in writing her up. Even her coworkers hated her. The more she spoke up on the job, the worse the retaliation against her.

Her last place of work was in the agency's lower Manhattan branch. During the first six months she was at the location, she was not given a computer nor her own desk. She was regulated to a damp anteroom. Again, she was the only employee subjected to this. She was on watch. The last supervisor had it for her-she was written up for every little thing.

She suffered so much stress, she was out for four months. She was the lowest producing investigator. She constantly went to the union. She was once suspended and the union ruled in her favor. Then the supervisor decided to put up the ante: he refused to process her work and looked for the most minute mistakes that the other workers were allowed to get away with. I knew that she was going to fired sooner or later which she was. She was fired because of a combination of poor work performance(documented) and fraud( documented, she used a company card for thousands of dollars worth of expenses). She claimed that someone else did it; however, during an investigation of the company card, it was discovered that her signature matched that of the alleged perpetrator. It is very unlikely that she will obtain any job in the future.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on January 08, 2011:

I don't think any people are lesser or superficial to others, but it sounds like you do a superior job but perhaps snub or make people angry unintentionally. I agree that it should not lead to a firing. I also think that reading between the lines should not be necessary at work - people should say exactly what they mean and all they mean.

aspie-guy on January 08, 2011:

I have not yet been fired, but came close once due to difficulties related to ASPERGER SYNDROME. This is like having "nuance dyslexia", where I have clinical difficulty in "reading between the lines" with people. It is causing me troubles in my current post, in which my boss constantly critizes me for needing to look beyond what's being said, try to mirror other people's style of communication, etc...even though my job is highly analytical, so I think this is a form of petty prejudice to the greater extent. I admit there is still some margin for me to improve, but it's not the key ingredient to success in this job. It upsets me that people with Aspergers, who are gifted with high IQ's, are getting treated like dirt by superficial people, and presenting artificial barriers to their quality of life.

denden mangubat from liloan, cebu, philippines on September 15, 2010:

great thanks

charmstotreasure on August 04, 2010:

GOod points - and in depth info on each, good job. People need to note their skills - -and lack of skills - -and strive to make employers and their customers happy: goals. If there's no good fit there, then get help if necessary to figure out why, and move on. Get self help, etc. No one is perfect. ENjoy life!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on February 01, 2010:

Apply for Unemployment Benefits and explain this as you have explained it to me. Your application may then open up an investigation, whether you are awarded benefits or not. Such has been the case uin my area and people have been returned to their jobs, with back pay.

It can be difficult to work for a city or county agency, especially when politics are involved. In my area, after a person has worked for 10 years, they are tenured and cannot generally be fired. I don't know about your county. If you were a member of a union, go to your union representative and see what can be done. Also consult with an attorney, because most consultations of this sort are free.

You may even want to approach the media about corruptness at the county level, but you may want to contact the County Comissioners with a formal complaint.

Let us know the outcome.

lamberta on January 31, 2010:

I was fired from my job eight months ago, a job that i held for more than 19 years. I never had any bad performance reviews and no write ups in all those years, I was not a trouble maker and did my job, unlike some i know. There was an employee that ended up in the county where i worked after causing trouble in two other counties. He broke a law of which the employer was well aware of, and policies of the agency and had numerous write ups during the few short years he was in our county, but he still has his job. He got cases taken away from him because of poor job performance, poor judgment, and poor people skills, and he constantly "steps over the line". He is still doing that to this day. He tells on other people to get them in trouble for the very thing he is doing himself to keep the heat off himself and onto others. This co-worker told the supervisor about something he found out that I had done. The supervisor was set on firing me, but she had to twist the situation to try to make it fit into a policy of the department so she could say I broke policy in order to fire me. I was never given another shot, I was terminated, she had other choices but she chose to fire a 19 year employee. This supervisor had been over me less than two years and in which I knew she was out to get me because she had tried to get my past immediate supervisor fired who she knew that I had worked with for 18 years. There are other details of this story, things that they were certainly at fault of, of which I have to save for a time in which the litigation is over. My treatment was not fair or humane at all. Employers should value the employees that work hard for them, I worked long hours took on extra duties and were given many extra duties, and most of the time did not get the pay for all the hours that I performed. They should also not turn a blind eye on bad employees and let them get away with many things including harassing other employees. They recently hired a person that could not pass a psychological test because she was a friend of one of the supervisors, and another one that had recently been fired from another job, obviously that is the type of employees that they want working for them. I made the mistake of pledging loyalty and working my butt off for a hugh agency where employees are just a number and where a bad supervisor or a bad co-worker can come along and ruin someone's career due to personal vendettas.

Coolmon2009 from Texas, USA on December 21, 2009:

Good information

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on February 19, 2009:

Sticky circumstances of credit checking for employment:

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on February 19, 2009:

Astute observation. Success to you in the future! 

Susan Nunes on February 18, 2009:

"In my state, an employer cannot legally fire someone for taking off sick time that they have legally accrued and are entitled to use. If that is your case, then your attorney may be able to sue for wrongful termination, punitive damages, back pay, and reinstatement in your job." Too late in my case; I was foolish to go through an arbitrator, who decided in favor of the employer. I should have hired an outside lawyer for this clearly wrongful termination.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on February 02, 2009:

Thanks denise, always glad to share crucial information, :)

denise mohan from California on January 31, 2009:

Thank you Patty. You are truly an exceptional lady!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on January 31, 2009:

I will certainly look at Poker Pro and I wish you every success.

When you have time, you and/or your husband might silently have a free consult with an employment attorney about your hsuband's case; if for nothing else except peace of mind. Competition is going become stiffer for good jobs, and with the retirement age rising, seniors deserve to have them as well as anyone else, espeically is they can produce better results.

All good thoughts and prayers going out for you!

denise mohan from California on January 31, 2009:

Patty, You've put a lot of time and work into your HUB. I also learned much from the comments made. My husband just lost his job and we worked at the same company. We only worked together one day a week.

Let me send one by you that hasn't been addressed yet. My husband was LAID OFF (even though there was a new hire for his shift the same week). He was the most liked and respected employee there. He had 30 yrs experience and had worked for the company over 8 yrs. He had been told by the general manager that he wasn't going to get her job because she has worked too hard for it. He never wanted her job but always did an excellent job in his department. He stopped kissing her a-- and worked as hard as possible. He is a 67 yr. old man who keeps up better than most younger employees. I still work there for the same boss which is very difficult. I just grin and bear it because we need to make the bills. We have downsized but aren't sure if one income can cover us. I did my thinking out of the box and e-mailed an editor of a magazine and offered my stories and sent him to my blog. He did an entire 4 page feature on me and wants more stories. I didn't think my writing was good enough but I took the chance. What does it take to send an e-mail to an editor? Check me out at Poker Pro Magazine and I have the feature on the first woman poker dealer in Las Vegas. No cash but I am using it as a vehicle to do other things. Poker is the biggest phenomanan in the history of the world right now. So I am hoping for good things but do not leave my computer for one day. Keep thinking and if you love writing then dream of the places you can get to and then write your heart out. Hope this can bring a fresh idea to even just one person.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on January 31, 2009:

In a money crunch in some companies, if it is a case of the boss keeping his job & bonuses/perks or you keeping your job, you will still lose yours no matter what you do. Survival.

darjeeling on January 29, 2009:

well, i've read the comments and have to conclude that you can be fired for one or none of the above reasons - an employer doesn't have to be accountable for firing, they can actually fire you if your boss doesn't like the way you look. There is no accountability. Now on the matter of technology, if a company fires one employee for emailing, surfing, etc. then it would stand to reason that all employees emailing, surfing, etc. would have to be fired if it is solely on that principal. Therefore, I have completely discredited all reasons for firing. If you are loyal and well liked by your manager/boss/supervisor, you will never ever get fired because they will cover your a$$ as long as you worship theirs.

nancydodds1 from Houston, Texas on October 29, 2008:

Hi its very nice information. Every one has to go through this hub to know wht employees are fired. Its very valuable information.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 30, 2008:

Glad to be of service, shuey 03!

shuey 03 from Utah on September 30, 2008:

It's funny, I run a company in which I am constantally letting people go from my organization because of these exact things. Thanks for the hub, I will have to let my managers and team leaders read this so they know what to look for more often.

morrisonspeaks on July 15, 2008:

this is helpful. attitude counts a lot in most or all of our jobs. good attitude always get good promotion

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on June 21, 2008:

Up until the rise of the DOT.COMs, the APA's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual declared it a Personality Disorder Symptom to change jobs more frequently than every 2 years. Then in IT careers, it became the practice to change almost yearly. Two years is still a good foundation to me, though.

Loni L Ice from Lawrence, KS on June 20, 2008:

Wonderful hub! While it doesn't cover ALL of the reasons one can get fired, it does cover all the reasons within an employee's control.

Some people are jerks, some people will fire for no good reason, some will fire based on personality. The one job I ever got fired from (sort of, I didn't make it through the trial period) was over "just not fitting in" At the job in question for a small, family run racehorse farm, fitting in was important and my interests diverged too far to make for a tight community. There's nothing we can do about firing reasons outside of ourselves, and it's a waste of time and emotional energy railing against it IMO. What we can do is control our behaviour and attitudes such as attendance and professionalism.

I recently read the wonderful satire "The Art of Demotivation" from It addresses the problems both of corporate mismanagement and workforce laziness with a light, sarcastic touch. Through my laughter, I noticed both the sociopathic state of most current corporations and the apathetic, slug-like behaviour of many co-workers I have suffered through. According to modern psychiatry, many corporations (see Enron) would be diagnosed as sociopaths or even psychotics if the company were an individual human instead.

However, as an American I see my fellow countrymen going out on credit limbs to finance lifestyles they can't afford and haven't earned all too often. It's one thing to not have enough to buy basic food and shelter, and any who suffer under such conditions have my condolences. It's quite another to run up credit balances for gaming platforms, the latest computer, and this year's model of car. This lack of self-discipline and forward thinking often seems to permeate all areas of life, from recreation to finance to job behaviour.

I like working from home because I can do it my way, and I'm fairly successful at it. However, if I hadn't become a dyed-in-the-wool tightwad years before trying to start my own business, I'd never have had the self-discipline to meet my own deadlines and manage my own time. Barring extreme unfortunate circumstances, if you can't meet the standards of professionalism, quality work and time management at a job for at least two years, you shouldn't try to start your own business IMO. Note that I didn't say like it, agree with it, or want to do it forever, just consistently perform up to standard for two years.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on June 13, 2008:

Hi, joseph.

In my state, an employer cannot legally fire someone for taking off sick time that they have legally accrued and are entitled to use. If that is your case, then your attorney may be able to sue for wrongful termination, punitive damages, back pay, and reinstatement in your job.

Much success to you!


joseph h from Australia on June 13, 2008:

i work for a big company in the timber industry

i injured myself playing sport (aussie rules football) and so i have been off work for a month

i got fired the other day because of lack of attendance. thats not right is it?

i have someone looking in to it.

good hub

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on June 12, 2008:

I have seen that happen from time to time - the employer not knowing what the workers are accomplishing. That is really a big problem when it occurs.

Unfortunately, our culture now tells us two opposing things at once; 1) sell yourself, and 2) don't self-promote so much. Which is correct, we ask?

And I agree that those that do not want to help the team are detrimental. A balance of helping the team and selling oneself a bit is probably good.

svetoslav on June 12, 2008:

I work in a company, which outsourced it's activities to Eastern Europe. From what I've seen, sometimes the employer does not know what the staff is doing. You might be on your way to discover cure for Cancer, but if they are not aware of it, they will keep treating you like (there is no other way to say it) s**t.

From my modest experience I can say that about 60% is what you do and 40% how you present it. If you can't "sell" yourself you are not going to get far.

In The Doghouse from California on June 10, 2008:


Owning a small business, we see these issues all the time. I know it is not always the case, but we do try and recognize the efforts of those employees who are valuable and reward them accordingly...On the same note, those who are not "team players" simply have to go... prolonging the issue only makes it worse for all involved. Great Hub for those wishing to know how to avoid losing their job!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 28, 2008:

solarshingles - Thanks for visiting and presenting a comment. Your writing is not only eloquent and flowing, but also full of meaning -- It causes me to think more about my own perpectives on this topic. So, I am happy to have written it for all to view and enhance with their own experiences.

twohandtouch - What you are saying may indeed be true for many companies. Thinking back, I have seen this occur a few times! Thanks for reminding me.

For other companies, the administration may suspect that this person might steal, embezzle, or fritter away company funds and place the firm into the same debt status as well.LOL

Credit is so fouled up in this nation, I believe, and worsened by lack of education in school about credit (some schools have included it, thankfully) - that I think people deserve another chance. Especially to work!

Have any of you seen the Credit Report Dot Com commercials that take on just this topic of poor credit and work? They are funny, but sadly true.

twohandtouch from Everywhere! on May 28, 2008:

Here's a positive spin on the credit check issue.

If an employer sees that you are in debt, he/she is more likely to hire you/keep you on. They know you are desperate for a job, will keep your head down and not complain and will work loads of overtime.

Bad credit+need for money=being owned by the "man" and they know it. ;)

solarshingles from london on May 28, 2008:

Beautiful and so very useful and practical hub about getting fired. It makes me to think a bit deeper and to start to value myself in a bit different perspective. Much more objective. I simply need to go out of my own gated subjective perspective and to look over my professional abilities, advantages and weaknesses in much broader and much more OBJECTIVE manner. Patty, you really know your professional topic very well!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 08, 2008:

jidimond! - Thanks for posting. I have been in this position. Twice in 15 years, I was in a department (different companies) in which the firm downsized and cut from 10 staff to just me. I was exhausted.

FiancePortal - I see this all the time, too. Customer Service needs improvement coutrywide and I don't know if work readiness programs are as effective as they could be. Motivation is needed and a desire to work.

FinancePortal from UK on May 08, 2008:

I love this hub, it's covered many of the things I've found as an employer. What happened to an actual work ethic? Too many people seem to think that because they get a money month after month that there's no need to work for it.

Finding decent employees is one of the biggest reasons small businesses are struggling to survive.

jdimond on May 07, 2008:

corporations are the root of all evil and they feed off the needy. i just posted some reasons to leave a crappy employer on my blog. check it out. i've worked for some great people in the past, but some people just love to take advantage of those trying to make a living.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 04, 2008:

Thanks; looks like an interesting site as well.

maddy on May 04, 2008:

Posted this link in

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on April 30, 2008:

Lightstruck, your observations are astute and most welcomed here. They reasonate with me and will with other readers -- Thank you!

I've noticed that in come companies, a sector of younger employees (but not all) arrive late, leave early, do liitle work and expect large wage increases and promotions. They don't connect the cause and effect of working/results and the rewards that must be earned.

Management is indeed overworked a times with unrealistic expectations and demands. I've been there. It was gruieling, but it taught me how to organize and when to say "No" or to insist on appropriate help.

Training is essential -- employees left to figure out things for themselves sometimes invent their own ways of work and sometimes these succeed and sometimes they are disastrous. Training & Communication are key, as you say.

I've noticed a decline with each decade, in the work ethic instilled in my town's youth from 5th grade through 12th -- This deacde, about half of the kids that come into my 1) martial arrts classes or 2) youth employment programs are shocked that appropriate behavior is required to stay in the program. For the martial arts, they are even more shocked that good grades, actual physical effort, and clean language are required. Some of these kids are even from higher-income homes and active in churches and other places of worship -- so I wonder what is being instilled, exactly, or if entertainment media is taking it all away.

A 5-year old and a 4-year old were brought to me a couple years ago. I introduced myself to the children and the oldest smiled and yelled "F**K You!" while the parents laughed, saying they'd seen it on TV. I explained to them that they were to immediately leave my property and not return, because of the obscenity and their attitude towards it.

it is also hard to find good customer service here. I went into a Starbucks in a Target Store recently, and the two employees on duty yelled F**k and F**kin' Yeah 6 times in 15 minutes. Neither chain's management responded to my complaint.

Thanks for your comments.

Lightstruck from Denver on April 30, 2008:

I think the problem is on both sides. We live in a society that a strong part of the work force is impatient, more selfish, expecting promotions, pay raises, etc. to happen much quicker than they probably should. Employees also bring their personal life to work far too often, and cell phones and internet haven't helped this issue.

On the other side of it, many companies throw much more on the upper management now than in the past, loading up their plates to the point where it is very challenging to manage the tasks at hand, and in the long run, it hurts the employee, as training is affected, proper team building, and important issues are neglected.

The agenda for the management becomes cloudy, as they get caught up too many times just trying to get through the paper end of things, and the most important part of the business - the people, become bitter for the lack of direction, communication, or the problem employee is not addressed or monitored, causing more dissension among the employees.

Communication with the employee is crucial, and vital to their development. In short, companies at times force upper management to wear too many hats, as the core of the business slips through the cracks.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on April 21, 2008:

Hahaha. Thanks firetown, you made me laugh.

firetown from Costa Rica on April 21, 2008:

Cool hub, can I copy it? ;)

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on April 16, 2008:

Hello, helena, how have you been! Thanks for visiting. :)

helenathegreat on April 16, 2008:

Excellent information in this hub, Patty. Thumbs up!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on April 14, 2008:

That's a wonderful and astute insight, Bianca Bardo - I like your writing style as well. Many thanks for dropping by and I'll be reading your Hubs soon.

 Best wishes.


Bianca Bardot on April 14, 2008:

In my experience, using the company's equipment as your own is the best way to get fired and many people lose their jobs over this. Because of new technology, they cannot put down their cell phones or internet browsers for one second.. .or enough to get work done. This is unfortunate as this is opening up lines at the unemployment office and shutting doors for opportunity.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on April 11, 2008:

I think the infomration is useful; I'm glad you do as well. As we advance further into the Digital Age, perhaps technology will indeed add to the list of reasons. Thanks for reading!

drewmaniac from Joplin MO on April 11, 2008:

Very good stuff. Something everyone should remember from time to time!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on April 09, 2008:

In the coming years, we may see a rise in firings for computer and other digital misuse on the job. In my region, firing for this reason is done primarily by a few government offices. A few firings and prosecutions have occurred in govt and private business because of child porngraphy. In some businesses, it may depend on whether the business can afford the personnel and time to search digital logs and look for the misuse.

Thanks for the comments!

myi4u from United Kingdom on April 09, 2008:

How about using work computer for blogging and other purposes? It's kind of serious too.

Gadzooks from United Kingdom on April 09, 2008:

Phew theres a lot of information and advice on this page, I have never been sacked and hope not to be!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on April 08, 2008:

Thanks for al the comments. The American worker can voice opinions and facts here and I hope it will do us all good.

Matt Maresca from New Jersey on April 08, 2008:

This is why I love the books The Starbucks Experience and The E-Myth. Far too few employers have the respect of their employees. I might add that far too few employers really deserve the respect of their employees.

Jay on April 08, 2008:

Jennifer, you're gullible if you think I believe that. There are crooked companies everywhere, nowhere in the discussion did I say that there aren't. You grilled someone else earlier in this discussion with the statement, "Do you read?" Now I'm asking you to practice what you preach, and read what I said, which was: "In some cases, if companies didn't cut jobs during tough times, they might not survive." That is the truth, and I'm not concerned if you believe that or not.

I'm sorry you've been dealt a bad hand Jennifer. I hope everything works out for you. :)

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on April 08, 2008:

With the mortgage crisis and so many people losing their homes, and others defaulting on student loans because of extremely ridiculously high interest, credit checks ruin the chances of good people to find work.

Unfortunately, corporations sometimes take the stance that workers with poor credit histories are the same people that will increase company medical/health insurance, liability insurance, and loss (theft) insurance rates. Some companies check credit not only BEFORE employees are hired, but also once every six months AFTER they are hired.

And, you have to think about identity theft if a company representative asks you for a credit check permission before they even offer you an interview. That is also happening from time to time.

Gina on April 08, 2008:

I totally disagree with credit checks for a job, unless you're borrowing money from the employer. Which for most, is unlikely. Some things should be privite.

Jennifer on April 08, 2008:

To Chelle from Texas: You have my 100% sympathy in regard to your job loss. I live in Texas, also. This is the 3rd state I've lived & worked in, and it is the most disappointing of the three with regard to jobs & employee rights. I never thought I'd see the day where I disqualify for certain jobs in my own country on the sole reason that I'm not "bilingual". Curses to me for being a born and bred English speaking American!

Chelle, I hope you can find your dream job. If you do, take good care of it, because they are FEW. Any one minor screw up, or no screw up, can knock you out of a job in a flash these days, as you know from your recent experience. Good luck!

Jennifer on April 08, 2008:

To Jay: $10 hr where I live isn't the "norm"; it's more in the $6.50-8.50 range. I'm married; therefore stuck here. There are jobs here paying no better than in 1997, as verified by 3 people I know in this city of 160,000 who work in job placement. I've never been presented with a "raise schedule" anywhere I've worked. I'm glad that exists for you; however, neither job security nor raises are guaranteed, and you have not a "legal leg to stand on" as your protection unless you have a written work contract....which is almost non existent, for obvious reasons favorable to the employer.

You're gullible if you believe that ALL companies who outsource or downsize do so out of financial necessity. Of course, those who do so out of greed want to fool the public that they're acting out of dire straits! You think they want to anger us, and therefore run risk of losing profit?

Chelle From Texas on April 08, 2008:

Jay, thanks for the kind words. I'm trying not to feel like a loser. As for hiring an attorney, I was still pretty sick and figured something like that wasn't worth my energy. I needed to focus on getting better, so I let it go. Although, it does please me to see that the company has yet to replace me. (Either that, or someone else was fired or quit.) They're advertising my former job on several different job boards. Maybe things aren't going so well for them, which would serve them perfectly right :) And yes, it was a large company. My first experience at a corporation. Hopefully never again.

Chelle From Texas on April 08, 2008:

Jay, I agree about being "just happy to have a job." After all, while you're working your any-old-job, you can be searching for something more suited to you. As long as you can pay the bills, you're in good shape. I quit my last job as a newspaper reporter after 10 months because my boss and I just could not get along, and it made me miserable. I did not have another job lined up. I really thought anything would be better than what I had. Now I seriously regret having left that job before finding something else. It was a stupid decision, but also an important life lesson. Kids, if you learn anything from me, let it be this: appreciate your job, even if you hate it. I promise you it's better then sitting at home in front of the computer every day trolling the Internet for jobs.

Jay on April 08, 2008:

That really sucks 'Chelle :( would it have been too much trouble to get a lawyer to get your job back that you lost when you became ill? It sounds like this was a very large company. A company in which you were just a number and had no one you could get in touch with to give the right story to. I hope you find something soon, and you're certainly not a 'loser'.

Jay on April 08, 2008:

I don't necessarily disagree with everything you're saying Jennifer. However, covering the costs of daily needs of survival is relative someone's situation. It's not fair to say the employer is at fault for offering a $10/hr job, and the employee be upset that their raises don't cover inflation after accepting the job in the first place. In that person's situation, maybe they need to get another part time job. In the situation I just mentioned, if they can't make it on $10/hr, they aren't going to make it on $12/hr either(20% increase). I'm not sure what to tell you. One thing that I know for sure, the place I work at explains the starting pay and raise schedule during the interview before the person is ever hired, and the person being interviewed can then decide if they want to work here or not. It sounds like to me that you've really worked for some below average companies as far as the "Golden Rule" goes.

In some cases, if companies didn't cut jobs during tough times, they might not survive. Are you suggesting they should just close the doors and lay everyone off? Or should they downsize and try to survive? Which situation is better? What would you do if you owned the company?

So yes, I am "just happy to have a job".

Good luck Jennifer, I hope you find a company that treats you better than others have in the past. :)

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