Five Ways to Get Fired

Have you been searching for an easy way out of a dead end job? Has your employer failed to take the bait despite your best efforts to be an unreliable and under-performing employee? Are you sick and tired of blowing off work and neglecting your job duties to no avail? What's holding your supervisor back from handing you that pink slip? You may be the victim of a corporate employment attorney.

If your employer has an employment attorney on staff or on retainer, someone – your supervisor or the human resources person – is going to talk to that attorney before anybody gets fired. It's just good business practice. And that attorney is going to identify all sorts of reasons why firing the employee wouldn't be a good idea. Why? As a former corporate employment attorney, I can tell you we are risk-averse by nature and by necessity – it's our job, after all, to lay out all the risks of a particular course of action for our clients to evaluate before proceeding.

Just Cause for Discharge

A basic principle underlying most discharge decisions is that the employer must have "just cause" for firing the employee. This standard often is written into employment contracts and union agreements. Even in the absence of contract language, employment terminations are evaluated against some variation of the just cause standard in the context of unemployment compensation or wrongful discharge proceedings.

The definition of "just cause" varies from case to case, but typically the following seven tests are applied in determining whether an employer had just cause for firing an employee:

1. Did the employer adequately warn the employee of the consequences of the misconduct?

2. Was the employer's rule reasonably related to efficient and safe operations?

3. Did management investigate before firing the employee?

4. Was the investigation fair and objective?

5. Did the investigation produce substantial evidence of guilt?

6. Was the rule applied evenhandedly and without discrimination?

7. Was discharge reasonably related to the seriousness of the offense and the employee's past work record?

There may be any number of reasons why your employer's attorney views discharge as a risky action. There may have been insufficient documentation to support the discharge of a long-time employee for poor performance. There may have been other employees who engaged in similar or worse misconduct and didn't get fired. An employee with an otherwise excellent work record may deserve one last chance despite a single serious infraction. Under any of those scenarios, a good employment attorney will do her best to convince her client that a lesser penalty than discharge is warranted to avoid having the discharge overturned by a labor arbitrator or challenged in wrongful discharge litigation.

Attorneys are competitive. We don't like to lose. Bad facts make bad cases and we don't win bad cases. When an employer comes to us with a scenario that would create bad facts, we try to talk them out of it. That case would be a loser and we don't want any part of it. But give us a good set of facts and we'll run with it.

There were times my clients came to me with scenarios that caused me to shake my head. "Go ahead," I'd tell them without hesitation. "That person wants to be fired." I was never sure why someone would want to get fired. Maybe they were trying to evade a child support obligation or wage garnishment. Maybe they simply wanted out of the job and thought they would get unemployment benefits. If they didn't want to be fired, what they had done was stupid enough that they deserved to be, and no judge, arbitrator, or jury would see it any other way. Those were the situations I secretly hoped would end up in court. If the employee challenged the discharge decision, I'd have no trouble discrediting them on the stand with a masterful cross-examination. It would be an easy win for me, another notch in my belt, another war story to share around the legal department conference table.

How do you get that pink slip handed to you?
How do you get that pink slip handed to you?

So if you're looking for an easy way out of a dead-end job, make sure that whatever you do to get yourself fired will withstand the corporate employment attorney's scrutiny. Based on my experiences, I've compiled a list of five sure-fire ways to get yourself canned. If you do any of these things, I guarantee your employer's legal counsel will give the green light to proceed with discharge. You'll be given a box for your personal belongings and escorted to the door in no time at all.

1. Do something you were warned in writing not to do

This is the easiest of them all. You may not be fired the first time you spend the entire work day playing Farmville or perusing porn sites on the Internet. You may get a slap on the wrist for making photocopies of your privates on the office Xerox machine and sharing them with your co-workers. You may show up late to work every day for a month with impunity. But once you are given that piece of paper entitled "Written Warning" and advised that any future violation will be grounds for immediate termination of your employment, guess what? You will be fired the next time you do it. It's as simple as that.

When you receive a written warning, and that warning states specifically that further misconduct will be grounds for discharge, that's a pretty good clue your employer means business. Most likely, someone already has talked to the lawyer. The lawyer probably even helped draft the written warning, or at least reviewed it to make sure it contained all the right language to put your employer in a legally defensible position. When my clients came to me for advice about firing a problem employee, the first thing I asked is whether they already warned the employee about the consequences of the unfavorable conduct. If they hadn't, I'd send them back with the "magic language" to use in a warning letter and promise the next time they came to see me about that employee, we'd draft a termination letter.

2. Lie to cover up earlier misconduct

Failing to own up to and be accountable for your mistakes is always a good way to get on your employer's bad side. But why not take it a step further and engage in additional misconduct to conceal your earlier bad acts? Once you are found out – and you will be found out – blissful unemployment will be yours.

In one of my all time favorite cases, an employee (to whom I fondly refer as the Deerslayer) reported that he hit a deer while driving a company bucket truck, causing substantial damage to the truck. Not an unusual occurrence, for sure, as these things tend to happen in rural Iowa. The problem was that when a fleet department employee went to look at the truck, something didn't seem quite right. For one thing, the main damage was to the roof of the cab, underneath where the bucket sat in its retracted position. There also was a suspicious lack of deer DNA, as anyone who's ever hit a deer knows that its hair will find its way into any crack or crevice on the vehicle. Although the Deerslayer insisted upon further questioning that the damage was caused by a deer, it was clear he was lying.

This is where I got involved. I hired an accident reconstruction expert who examined the vehicle and determined the employee's story defied the laws of physics. The expert concluded the truck was damaged by something heavy falling from above when the bucket was extended. (The rumor was the employee had dropped a pallet of shingles onto the truck while using it to shingle a friend's roof.) Even worse, our expert found that additional damage to the windshield and front of the truck most likely had been caused by a hammer, meaning the employee had inflicted even more damage to try to make it look like a deer strike. We fired the Deerslayer and a labor arbitrator upheld the discharge decision.

The lesson here is if you want to get fired, don't come clean about your earlier misconduct. Better yet, commit additional wrongdoing to hide what you've done. Stick with your story even if it strains all plausibility. Everyone makes mistakes, and if you show some remorse for a gross lapse of judgment, your employer will be tempted to give you a second chance. Had the Deerslayer simply told the truth from the outset – that he damaged the truck while using it for some improper purpose – and thrown himself on the mercy of the company, he never would have been fired. Disciplined, yes. Given time off without pay, without a doubt. Fired, never. Don't let that happen to you.

3. Threaten bodily harm on your supervisor and co-workers

Nothing makes an employer more nervous than a threat of workplace violence. We've all heard the stories of disgruntled employees who one day snap and take out a few of their co-workers with them. It's horrible stuff, and no one wants it to happen at their place of employment. Yet it does. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, homicide is the third leading cause of workplace fatalities in America. Given the potential consequences, no employer is going to take a threat of violence lightly. Discharge is a legitimate and widely accepted employer response to such threats.

To ensure your threat of violence will be met with swift and severe action, don't limit yourself to vague and nonspecific comments about how you're so mad you could kick somebody's behind. Everyone has a bad day now and then, and this kind of off-the-cuff remark is more likely to result in a written warning than discharge, especially for a first offense. If you're looking for immediate results, it's much more effective to keep a list of those persons to whom you would like to do bodily harm, let everyone know you're keeping the list, and let people know when they move up a notch or two on it. It's also helpful to make comments about having a bullet with your supervisor's name on it and to display photos of your extensive gun collection. This technique really does work, as a client's former employee learned. Fortunately, the only thing he actually killed was his twenty-plus year career with the company.

4. Steal from your employer

Employers tend to look unfavorably on employees who steal from them, so getting fired for stealing would seem to be a sure bet. There are a few caveats. Labor arbitrators demand a higher standard of proof from employers to uphold a discharge for stealing. Unless the employer has clear evidence that the employee was stealing, arbitrators are reluctant to apply the label of "thief." Accordingly, if you choose this method as your means to unemployment, make sure there are witnesses, or at least have your pilfering captured on video. Take a lesson from one of my client's former employees who decided to steal some copper wire from the plant in the middle of the night. He astutely parked the getaway vehicle directly in front of a surveillance camera, ensuring his dismissal.

If the item you steal is of little value, an arbitrator may be more inclined towards leniency. So go big. Load up the company credit card with thousands of dollars of personal items, like another former employee who charged golf clubs, NASCAR tickets, expensive cigars, all sorts of things that couldn't possibly be deemed to have a business purpose. When you're caught, learn from the Deerslayer and don't admit to anything. Even if the item taken is relatively worthless, a labor arbitrator is more likely to uphold a discharge for theft if you maintain your innocence despite overwhelming evidence against you.

5. Put more effort into getting out of work than doing your job

Abusing your employer's leave policies is an effective way to ensure your eventual unemployment, although it may take more time to get results than the other methods I've listed here. In the interim, you'll have a lot of time off work, maybe even paid time off depending on how generous your employer's leave policies are.

Does your employer have a bereavement leave policy? Remember that most people have only two grandmothers, so the third time you request time off to attend your grandmother's out-of-state funeral, your employer may become suspicious and ask for proof. Once that happens, it's time to have some fun. Did you tell your supervisor you'd be traveling to Louisiana for the funeral? In that case, find a random obituary from Tennessee and see if your employer notices the discrepancy. Better yet, fax it from the Las Vegas hotel where you are mourning the death of your fake grandma to see how long it takes your employer to figure out the 702 area code from where the fax originated is in neither Louisiana nor Tennessee.

As an alternative, forge a doctor's note certifying your need for medical leave. This method is best if you have a distinctive style of writing – let's say you always dot your "i"s with little hearts – and make no effort to disguise your handwriting. Use a real doctor's name and phone number so your employer has someone to contact who will deny ever having seen you as a patient, much less completing paperwork excusing you from work for the rest of the year.

Maybe you don't mind coming to work each day until you're fired, but would rather spend your working hours goofing off or catching up on needed sleep than performing your job duties. The best option for you is to fill out paperwork showing you did the work without actually doing it. This is an especially effective method for losing your job if there's a regulatory requirement for your employer to maintain this paperwork. For example, if your job is to complete a pressure test on a gas line and your employer is required to keep records of all pressure tests, all you need to do is make up some test results and write them down. It's as simple as that. Once your employer figures out you haven't been doing the tests, you'll be fired. Just be patient; it may take an audit before your misdeeds come to light.

There you have it, my five ways to get fired. With just a little effort and ingenuity, you can give your employer a good reason to let you go and even the corporate employment attorney won't stand in the way.


Have you ever been fired from a job?

  • Yes, and I had it coming.
  • Yes, but for no good reason.
  • No, despite my best efforts.
  • No, I'm a model employee.
See results without voting

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Comments 126 comments

christiness 5 years ago

As an HR professional, your article really hit home with me. I can't tell you the number of times I have said, "What were they thinking???". Now, I know that they were trying to get fired.

Thanks for the article, and the laugh!

Arlene V. Poma 5 years ago

I always wanted to "call in dead." Since I am a good little worker bee, I think that would have been more fun (and memorable) to do that. I have never liked the idea of getting fired, no matter how much I hated the work, the boss or the co-workers.

dinkan53 profile image

dinkan53 5 years ago from India

Hearing that words "You're Fired" , after getting the job which were filled with stress, confusion, intimidation and well, failure, you may be happy or unhappy. Getting fired from one place can be success to a new place and you will be more empowered and better prepared to successfully take on challenging future positions. Thanks for the article, voted^^.

icciev profile image

icciev 5 years ago from Kuwait

I totally agree with dinkan as I have been thinking recently to get fired, Now I know how! but I think the best one is to steal? why not getting money when you are going to be fired! thanks for the nice hub voted up

carcro profile image

carcro 5 years ago from Winnipeg

Very interesting hub, I hope I never get to that point. Thanks for the info, I'm sure there are many would will find this very helpful. You have so much good detailed info here.

jenubouka 5 years ago

Great comical twist on the subject, what about getting fired because you could replace your boss?

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 5 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for reading and commenting, everyone. I agree, Arlene. Would rather quit on my terms than be fired, no matter how much I hated the job. And I keep thinking of other cases I had over the years and more ways to get fired to add to my list. How about this: leave work on company time and with a company truck to go bail your son out of jail without telling anyone and when you get to the jail to pick him up (again, in the company truck during work hours) you are so drunk that the jail personnel conduct a breathalyzer test on you before releasing your son. True story. I can't make this stuff up!

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Great read and tips! I'll be sure and share them just in case anyone is looking to get canned! :))

homesteadpatch profile image

homesteadpatch 4 years ago from Michigan

If you can get someone else on board, it turns into a game to see who can get fired first. And boy is it fun!

Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

.... so all I have to do is steal a gun from my coworker, lie about it, then threaten another coworker with said gun... and spend all my time at work watching pirated movies. Gosh.. it's so simple!

This really is a great overview of the various grounds on which one might be fired. Thanks so much for explaining everything so clearly and thoroughly!

Iintertrans profile image

Iintertrans 4 years ago from New Delhi


That's cool 5 methods to get out of your job if you don't like to continue the job.I think my friend was asking me for an idea to get out by getting fired he is a top performer there and doesn't want to continue due to the presence of some unwanted management new cadres.Thanks any way for sharing with us.As it is use full both ways to save the job and to get fired.

All the best

thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 4 years ago from West Virginia

up, useful, and interesting article Deb. You really have some great information and useful info as well. When someone feels they have been terminated wrongfully, there are a lot of laws to consider. I have been there. In many cases, you are just out of luck. Well written Deb:) Happy Halloween!

freshlaundry71 profile image

freshlaundry71 4 years ago

This is a great article. The next one you write should be about badmouthing your job on facebook or any other public forum.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for all the great comments, everyone. Glad you've enjoyed my hub. For those of you who want to keep your jobs, this info should tell you what NOT to do.

Simone, be careful. You don't want to get arrested, just fired. : )

Homesteadpatch, I've often wondered if maybe employees were playing some sort of game to see if they could get fired. You've confirmed my suspicions.

Freshlaundry, great suggestion. Thanks.

davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 4 years ago from Sacramento, California

Deborah! Great job on hub of the day!!! I liked the spontaneity of this hub and certainly have worked with many people who "seemed" like they wanted to get fired!

imkd profile image

imkd 4 years ago

Really great hub. didn't find it earlier. I'll note these points.

bluebird profile image

bluebird 4 years ago

I like the way you went about this to make your point. Good job!

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 4 years ago

Nice job, deborahneyens. Congrats for the Hub of the Day Award. I read an AARP article recently about employers discriminating against over 50 workers who have health problems by replacing them with younger, healthier employees. From a business perspective, this makes good sense but really bad publicity for a company in the health care industry. While I thought the article was biased, I do sometimes think the human in HR gets lost. The really big picture has nothing to do with which lawyer wins in court, of course. It's about acting in ways that are in our own best interest. While getting fired is a very passive aggressive way to get rid of a lousy job, it could be the best thing to happen to a person - and their co-workers.

sestasik 4 years ago

This is such a funny hub. As a former corporate manager, I can relate to this. It was so hard to term employees, even when they didn't do their job, but those "sure fire ways" usually worked. We often wondered why on earth people would do some of those things.

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 4 years ago from Illinois

This is very funny Deborah. I know at some places of employment where I've been over the years it is as if some people are "begging" to be fired. Congratulations on receiving "hub of the day" :)

iAnimesh profile image

iAnimesh 4 years ago

Great article, Buddy.... But in reality, the easiest way to get fired is to hit on your boss's face.... I guarantee you that you'll get fired.... Ha ha ha....

CurrenteCalamo 4 years ago

Had I not been fired from a small dead-end custom publishing job with an verbally abusive manager and CEO, I never would be in the career of my dreams. Getting fired isn't always bad!

barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia

Good reading I must confess I have been fired for one of those reasons. But it was the best thing that happened. I would probably have been dead otherwise.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I am really honored and excited that this hub was selected as Hub of the Day, as it is one of my personal favorites. When I quit my job as a corporate attorney a few months ago to write full time, people kept telling me I needed to write a book about all the crazy cases I handled over the years because I had so many good stories to tell (truth really is stranger than fiction). Well, maybe that book will come someday, but in the mean time, this is my homage to my past life.

gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

This is an excellent and informative hub. Great job.

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Bravo for a well-deserved Hub of the Day. In some fields it is so sad to see many slackers putting a heavy burden on fabulous professionals. I see it in every walk of life, nursing being one of the saddest to witness.

The great ones have to put up with so much from coworkers and carry tremendous loads due to the laziness of others. On top of it all, those "others" (in whatever field) are the ones who complain about having to work!

Good stuff here, voted up, and book marked as I have some hubs in the works that I would like to link this to if/when I get them done. Thanks! Looking forward to that book--it should be interesting.

anonymous 4 years ago

Ha, ha, ha... I loved it! After reading this, I have to admit I'm not trying hard enough then (just kidding). Thanks for the tips!

gabgirl12 profile image

gabgirl12 4 years ago

I had to laugh considering all the jobs that are out there for the holiday season. I just had another job interview yesterday so I'm hoping this will never apply to me. But it made me chuckle nonetheless. Now I'm just focused on getting the job of my dreams as opposed to letting the economy dictate what job I should have.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America

I love it! - This was really an enjoyable Hub, with a lot of truth woven in.

frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 4 years ago from Central United States of America

Informative and is amazing what sometimes happens in the corporate world. I've never been there, but certainly you need to write that book for us!

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

Congratulations on HOTD! Well done. I laughed out loud at the "Deerslayer" story. What a dumb-dumb! Sort of reminded my of the story about the little boy who sampled the chocolate cake his mom had just baked, and was caught with frosting all over his face. When mom asked if he had gotten into the cake, the child denied it; but mom tripped him up by asking "Was it good?" to which the boy replied "Yes."

We try to live by Mark Twain's slogan: "Tell the truth & you don't have to remember anything."

Very enjoyable article--voted up, funny and interesting.

applecsmith profile image

applecsmith 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Haha this is great! You forgot "sexual advances towards your boss or co-workers". Congratulations being the hub of the day. Very entertaining and cleverly written.

TransferAmerica profile image

TransferAmerica 4 years ago from Torrance, CA

Very informative and its crazy the length some people go to get fired. Quitting sounds so much easier.

ThePelton 4 years ago

Quitting is easier, you can plan it, for instance.

arusho 4 years ago

That was great, I've been in jobs that you just don't want anymore..!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

I have some of those stories, too, applecsmith, but isn't that almost too easy? : )

Ms. Lizzy, while Mark Twain's motto is the better one, I think the Deerslayer adopted George Costanza's motto (from Seinfeld): "It's not a lie if you believe it."

RTalloni, let me know when you get your hubs done and I'll link back to them, too.

Good luck on the job search, gabgirl!

And, for the record, I am not advocating that any of you do any of these things. Perhaps use this as a lesson on how to KEEP your jobs. : )

Thank you all for reading and all the great comments!

4 years ago

I hate working, but mostly because I hate paying taxes. I hate paying taxes because I hate paying for my neighbors to be on welfare when they sell coke and drive a cadillac. I hate working to pay taxes and paying for my college education only to find out all the jobs are lost to out sourcing, automation technologies and other greedy fashions. I hate working to pay taxes to pay for a war, a war that politicians and companies profit from that I never get to see. I wish I could assault a co-worker for taking credit for work I did, or steal some shit from the company and sell it to earn three times what I make in two weeks in one sale. But I am trapped. No way in, no way out. This is the American Dream, too bad I am not sleeping -___-

KeithTax profile image

KeithTax 4 years ago from Wisconsin

As an employer I can assure your 5 ways to get fired will work. ;)

xethonxq profile image

xethonxq 4 years ago

This was a GREAT read. I really enjoyed all of your points and found myself thinking about the number of employees who fit into each of your five ways to get fired. I'm going to share this with my other supervisory colleagues. Thank you Deborah!

RichFatCat profile image

RichFatCat 4 years ago from Texas

Then file a lawsuit for wrongful termination and settle out-of-court for $$$

Jlava73 profile image

Jlava73 4 years ago from Cyberspace and My Own World

Awesome Article! I was cracking up as I read it.

SuperheroSales profile image

SuperheroSales 4 years ago

Deborah- I thoroughly enjoyed reading your Hub and am glad it was selected as Hub of the Day! I found the information you provided into the day to day life of an employment attorney to be both fascinating and humorous. You educated us yet we barely noticed because of the great way you presented the information! Congratulations again!

Vapid Maven profile image

Vapid Maven 4 years ago from California

Haha! :)

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Congrats on Hub Of The Day! I enjoyed this hub when you first wrote it and I still do:))

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 4 years ago from California

I'm glad this got "hub of the day" awards, else I would never have seen it I think. Really funny, and yet, useful too. I too would like to be fired right away, and I was just going to do half-assed work for the next who-knows-how-long in hopes of getting caught out and sacked. Now I see how painfully eternal, if not ultimately futile, that would be. Imagine, I could have spent a lot of time still stuck doing half-ass work, when my goal is no work. Thank you for this!

Moon Willow Lake profile image

Moon Willow Lake 4 years ago

Thank-you for the very interesting information. I just must point out that if a person does some of these things, at least in the state where I live, they will likely never receive unemployment. The reason why is because the discharge has to be something that was not employee misconduct (something the employee did on purpose, especially after a warning). So, though a person could use these points to get fired, s/he may not actually receive unemployment (at least in this state) as our UI office investigates thoroughly! I assume other states would be like that, too?

Peter Allison profile image

Peter Allison 4 years ago from Alameda, CA

I always fantasize about dramatic ways to walk out of a job - this is an excellent resource for doing it the company approved manner!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Moon Willow Lake, you are correct that a person who is fired for misconduct generally is not eligible for unemployment benefits. The five reasons I listed here most likely would be considered misconduct and would disaqualify the fired employee from receiving unemployment. That's why the corporate employment attorney likes these kind of cases - they're winners for the company.

BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 4 years ago from New York

Or, in the Midwest, Indiana especially, Refuse to get in trouble with state surveyors and go to bat for the 'company' to make a few million more dollars and cheat the elderly in a nursing home, while management would toss the employee under the bus in a heartbeat. That way, they conveniently 'lose' all your paperwork and fire you because you won't help them cheat people. That one, in an 'at will' state, such as Indiana, works well for many cheating companies. I moved out of there back to a state that needs Real proof of why a person got fired. I even wrote a book about it. Nice hub.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Wow, Bobbi. Sorry to hear about your experience. What's the name of your book? I'd like to check it out. I was on my company's ethics oversight committee and the company really did try to live up to a high ethical standard, but it amazes me all the companies who think the rules don't apply to them. Iowa also is an at-will state (unless a union or other employment contract applies a just cause standard), but there are many exceptions to the at-will rule. Discharges that violate public policy are an exception, so an employee who can show they were fired for opposing an illegal practice may have a claim for wrongful discharge, nothwithstanding the employment at will rule.

BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 4 years ago from New York

Yes, and many people were fired from the nursing home I worked for. The owner hired a new Administrator who was an absolute tyrant and led by the strict authoritarian style rules. Many people (I decided against it) went to the hearing board where other employees, as well as the upper crust, all lied about the firings. Many employees were worried about losing their jobs as well if they did not lie for management. People like to think those illegal practices do not go on, but they certainly do. Anyway, my book: 'The Reason Why Traditional Nursing Homes covers that particular problem in one of the chapters. Not all businesses are crooked in Indiana, but enough seem to be.

Hillbilly Zen profile image

Hillbilly Zen 4 years ago from Kentucky

Congratulations of HOTD, Ms. Deborah, and this Hub certainly deserved it. My perspective is more along Ms. Bobbi's, though. Kentucky is also an "at will" state, and even with a very strong work ethic, I've been unfairly discharged. Only twice in a 35 year work history, thank goodness, but the injustice of the situations hasn't been forgotten, nor the helpless frustration of being fired on trumped-up charges. I'm glad that the company you worked for was ethical, but from what I've seen, heard and personally experienced, they are the exception to the rule in "at-will" states.

Voted up, useful, funny and interesting.

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Very funny and helpful article, at the same time. My husband is an employment attorney and laughed out loud at your advice - a humorous way to point out the potentially stupid things that people do at work that lead to them getting fired.... ;-)

avamillicent profile image

avamillicent 4 years ago

This is really funny. I like the way it is written. Nice work. :)

sharewhatuknow profile image

sharewhatuknow 4 years ago from Western Washington

Hi Deborah, nice to meet you. I really enjoyed your hub, it was not only informative but very humorous.

You really should write that book about bizarre cases you have handled, I bet it would make excellent reading.

It seems to me that in this day and age, getting fired is not the only thing that can happen to you, charges can be filed too. For instance, I used to work for a major retail store and if you were caught stealing, you were arrested and charges filed, this corp. did not simply just dismiss you.

I voted up, funny and awesome.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Bobbi and Hillbilly, thanks for sharing your stories. I'm sorry you had to go through those experiences. One of the things I took pride in was making sure employees got a fair shot and that the company had good reasons for taking action. Steph, I'm sure your husband has some stories himself. All employment attorneys (and HR professionals) seem to have some great ones. Ava and share, thanks for reading and commenting. My company did pursue criminal charges in a few egregious cases, but lots of times that is more hassle than it's worth for the employer.

sharewhatuknow profile image

sharewhatuknow 4 years ago from Western Washington

Hi Deborah, I should have elaborated. That was ten years ago when I saw a female employee being led out of the store in handcuffs. Everybody who talked to anybody employed there right after this incident stated she was caught stealing from the store.

Perhaps now, like you stated, it is more of a hassle than it's worth for employers.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

I suspect that would be true today, as well. I don't think retailers have ever hesitated to press charges against people who steal from them, whether it's customers or employees.

TylerCapp profile image

TylerCapp 4 years ago from Los Angeles, California

Solid, usable information. I like how you made it light, righter than going the scare route of "How to Avoid Getting Fired!" You whimsically put it as advice on how to get fired. Well done. And thank you for the tips.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Tyler! Glad you stopped by.

KathyH profile image

KathyH 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

Wow, great hub! :) Working in retail for fourteen years, I saw so many firings, people being escorted out the front door by either a manager or a security person... then later we'd find out what they did to get fired. BUT, you forgot one thing! I knew a woman that worked in retail for over 30 years... she got fired one day for coming to work DRUNK! Seriously! She was in the middle of a nasty divorce, husband was chronically unemployed, so SHE would have had to pay alimony to HIM. Didn't want to pay, so she came to work sloshed and got the pink slip for failing the drug and alcohol test! Now she won't have to pay alimony! Crazy world we live in!! Every Christmas we'd see people fired, those that were hired as temporary holiday help, for stealing. Congratulations on hub of the day for this one! :) Great writing!

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DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Kathy H. I have a lot of those kinds of stories, too. Like the woman who drove around in her company truck with a travel mug full of vodka. She tested at twice the legal limit, but other than the smell of alcohol and the mug of vodka, there were no observable signs that she was under the influence; she was a high functioning alcoholic. The arbitrator actually gave her a second chance and required her to undergo alcohol treatment as a condition of reinstatement.

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johncimble 4 years ago from Bangkok

this is so true!!

poshcoffeeco profile image

poshcoffeeco 4 years ago from Cambridgeshire

Deb, nice slant on the world of employment or not as the case may be.

Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

Great hub - I've had to fire a few people like the ones you've described. And a few others, too. It is incredible to see the casual way people treat their employment. Voted up, useful and SHARED.

cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

hahaha, what fun. You make me almost really want to try to get fired. :D

ustad profile image

ustad 4 years ago from Pakistan

its intereating to see this topic is written in great detail.

getting fired is always easier than u could imagine, and can be accomplished without harming ur employer, coworkers or employer's assets.

good warning for those employees practicing these tactics, intentionnally or otherwise, and should stop doing such practices, because no one who love his career will want to be kicked out of his job.

rob_allen profile image

rob_allen 4 years ago from MNL, PH

You know what, i think I did #1. I was so pissed at my boss and I keep talking to him in a sarcastic manner. Mind you, I did that for almost a year. Second, I watched a movie within my shift. Yes, 3 hours out of work just to watch a movie in a nearby mall. Third, we took our lunch break in a restaurant far from office. Lastly, I tweet so much about how bad he is as a boss with some f word in it. I never mentioned his name but he got it. Moral of the story, don't follow or don't allow your boss to follow you on twitter. I never get fired because of that, I was just given a "forced resignation" paper that gave me the liberty. For me, that was cathartic.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, poshcoffeeco. I had a lot of fun taking a different slant on my former profession.

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DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Marcy! It's crazy what people think they can get away with.

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DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Please don't do that, cclitgirl. This should not be tried at home. : )

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DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Exactly, ustad. Hopefully my advice will help save somebody's job. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Glad it worked out for you, Rob. I always said employment law is a lot like family law. Ending an employment relationship is a lot like getting a divorce. Sometimes it's for the best for both parties. Thanks for commenting.

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JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

As a retired HR director, I witnessed the five ways you suggested to guarantee getting fired more times in three decades than I can recall. I also fired people for those five offenses listed, as well as some other equally egregious ones. And, though your descriptions of how to make certain one's employer takes an offense seriously are clearly tongue-in-cheek, I have to say they aren't that far from some of the realities I encountered in so many years of trying to understand implausible employee behavior.

Someone once asked me how I could enjoy an occupation that required me to fire people from their jobs. I answered that I never fired anyone. They fired themselves with their actions (or non-actions, in some cases). I just gave them the message that they'd done it.

Employment law from the HR management perspective was fascinating to me for 30 years, but except for a few months' "withdrawal symptoms" when I retired, I must admit I no longer miss it. The problems I dealt with for so long are now someone else's "messes" to clean up.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

You had the tough part of the job, Jaye. I worked closely with the HR people every day giving them advice about difficult employee issues, but when it came to the actual firing, that was their job, fortunately. I don't know that I could have done it. And I don't miss it either, especially when I hear that issues and cases I was working on 6 months ago when I left are still not resolved. Thanks for the great comment.

iamaudraleigh 4 years ago

I have been working at the same place for two decades. A lot of these thing listed in your hub have crossed my mind. However, getting fired as a whole would be horrible! I know I was a hard worker for many years. Now, I am looking for a change. I just don't want to burn my bridges there!

Your hub was well thought out and written well. I liked it...voted up!

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DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Audra. It never ceased to amaze me the lengths that some people would go to try to get out of doing work. If they just did their jobs, it would have been so much easier than all the scheming to try to get away with something. Two decades is a long time to be at a job. I was ready for a change after 17 years, which is why I quit my job last summer. I definitely didn't burn any bridges. In fact, they held my job open for months, hoping I would change my mind!

BRIAN SLATER profile image

BRIAN SLATER 4 years ago from Nottingham Uk

Wish I read this 30 years ago, could have saved me from going there every day. I know all these explanations and a few more. People who work for large organaisations and have a poor job know all the excuses to get out of working. As a manager who had to deal with these people, it drove me nuts.

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DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

I know what you mean, Brian. They say 5% of the employees create 95% of the work for managers, and that goes for employment attorneys, too. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Chris Hugh 4 years ago

Once I gave a sympathy card to a coworker who'd been out because her father died. I got a little suspicious when she laughed at me over it. :)

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DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Funny, Chris. Thanks for reading and sharing your story.

GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 4 years ago from USA

Howdy Deborah - Now, THAT is a formidable list of "fire-ready" behaviors you laid out in your fine article. You left out one that worked for me, the one that got me fired for the first time back when I was 14 years old. I laughed at the boss. He didn't look funny or anything like that. He simply did a very ridiculous thing and I rolled on the floor, laughing my handsome little head off. He was a really good and proper boss. He invited me to visit with him in his office "whenever you finish laughing."

Gus :-)))

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DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

That's an excellent way to get fired, Gus. Thanks for sharing!

Jasmine A Holt profile image

Jasmine A Holt 4 years ago from Florida

I really enjoyed this article. you're right, these are some of the most common ways to get fired! It just saddens me that people actually do this but it happensona daily basis. Hopefully the people that get fired becuase of one or all of these will learn that thier way will get them nowhere fast.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas

Interesting hub. Not sure it would do any good for an employee in TX to challenge an employer's decision to terminate them since we are a right to work state. Here a person can be let go for any reason or no reason and an employer doesn't have to give a reason. That is usually understood when one is hired, and often new employees must sign papers to the effect that they are aware they can be terminated at any time without cause.

Usually an employer will find some way to include cause to avoid paying unemployment. I know some people were fired and not given a reason and then their employer turned around and said the employee quit to avoid paying unemployment. Most employees don't think to get any sort of documentation from their employer as to why they were terminated when no cause is given. Without some form of proof otherwise, Texas Workforce accepts the employer's word every time.

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DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks Au fait. Iowa is an at-will employment state, also, but the there are many exceptions to the general rule of at-will employment these days, including discharge for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons, which is unlawful under many federal and state laws. And, yes, in order to avoid paying unemployment benefits, an employer must be able to show the employee was discharged for good cause.

kelleyward 4 years ago

Ha ha Debroah, although I'd probably never do any of those things it's fun contemplating the idea. What a great read. I can see why it was hub of the day! Voted up, funny, and shared. Kelley

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DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Kelley. It always amazes me the lengths some employees go to. You can't make this stuff up! Appreciate the comment and shares.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Congratulations on the hub of the day award on this. I find your points to be very realistic and hit the mark on how to get fired. Enjoyed your wit in writing this hub.

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DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for reading and commenting, Dianna. I had lots of fun writing this one.

Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

I left my last job because of my health but I wouldn't have mind being fired since the conditions were less than ideal. But the next job I get I hope to keep for a long time. Great tips!

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DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Alecia, but just to be clear, I'm not advocating that anyone do any of these things. : )

mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

At the hospital I worked in for 23 years, you had to sign a contract. Part of that contract was that you would agree to their policy of not having to give cause for firing an employee. I never though that was the right thing to do to an employee, but they did. They just fired with "no just cause".

Good Hub, I voted it UP etc.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Mary. Actually, in most states, cause is not required for firing because employment is considered to be "at will" unless you have a union contract or employment agreement that says otherwise. But to be safe, a lot of employers do require employees to sign something acknowledging that they are employed at will and can be fired without cause. in reality, though, the employment at will standard has been eroded through statutory causes of action for wrongful discharge, like the laws prohibiting discriminatory or retaliatory discharge. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Still one of my favorite hubs. Very creative. I hope many people many benefited from this info!:)

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

But only those who wanted to get fired, Linda! Thanks for stopping by again.

KDuBarry03 4 years ago

LOL I have no idea how I missed this hub, Deborah. You are right on all these points. Where I work, they do not take stealing or slacking off lightly and you have three strikes (written documentation) until you are fired; so, my work has to fire someone with just cause. I'm so glad I did not get fired from any job I had...I just slack off at one job when I found a better one LOL :)

Great hub and sharing this one!

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DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Glad you enjoyed it, Keith. Sucking it up until you find a better job is definitely the best course of action! Thanks for sharing this.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Deborah.....Oh what familiar bells you ring.... and it is a shame that one must learn to be hard and strict with rules & regs.....but it becomes necessary when you have some of the employees, doing what you mention here.

Very well-written, btw. You leave no doubt as to how to get fired!! LOL

Just between you and me, Deborah?? Sadly, it looks like far too many people know quite well how to get fired.....but there's always that risk taker who believes he/she will slide one past you.

Up +++

michyoung profile image

michyoung 4 years ago from North Carolina, USA

So true!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Effer and michyoung, for your comments. If some people put half the effort into their jobs as they put into trying to game the system, they would be awesome employees!

Oscarlites profile image

Oscarlites 4 years ago from Alabama

I wish I had an attorney on my side not long ago.,. working for a school district, a man supposed to be working under me would constantly go to the business manager to try to get me fired, and as he had four kids in the school, and played golf with the BM , when they wanted to cut positions due to budget, they stood with him when one day I supposedly bumped into him and "was disrepectful" in this action" accoeding to a letter I was sent. I asked my supervisor, where were you in this, and he said he could not do anything.. I concluded that I needed to leave their employ, even though it was a tiny letter; once or twice prior he had asked for a union meeting with the BM present and the BM had asked him specifically what did Mike do, and he could only answer, " I can't give you a specific reason,", and that one blew over, so that is why the next time he made this claim of me bumping him.. .. I could not in my mind afford to stay any longer, for he had taken shots at my supervisor as well, and I knew another supervisor wanted to take over the maintenance dept.. (supported this mans actions) and attacked me instead for I was the most vulnerable.. I concluded it was not good for me to stay there.. I consequently walked in and handed the BM a letter saying simply, I need to pursue my dreams eleswhere. you cannot protect yourself effectively when your immediate supervisor is afraid to stand up for you. or when the governing body has ulterior motives. right? What else could I have done? it was 3 years almost to the day when I left.

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DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Oscarlites, thanks for your sharing your story. It's unfortunate you felt you had to leave your job but I hope it was the right move for you in the long run. Take care.

Oscarlites profile image

Oscarlites 4 years ago from Alabama

thanks.. well, I decided after exhausting efforts there, that I Was supposed to move back to my birthplace, where my mom lived and she passed away shortly thereafter, so it worked out for the best..

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Well, it's said that everything happens for a reason. Glad it worked out for the best for you.

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Deborah these are very interesting ways to get fired. I'm surprised people want to get fired. Voted interesting.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

They may not have wanted to get fired, but it's certainly fair to say they didn't want to work! Thanks for reading and commenting.

weestro profile image

weestro 4 years ago from Virginia

Great tips Deborah, I will take heed with the economy being what it is, voted up and useful, now off I go, back to work!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Don't do anything I wouldn't do, Weestro! Thanks for the comment.

vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

How did I miss this one? Hilarious in a tongue-in-cheek way--amazing the things people will do to get fired. Some of the worst employees I've seen seem to think their conduct is acceptable, or at least that's the image they project. I see you have a lot of experience on the subject as an attorney. The story about the man who blamed the equipment damage on hitting a deer was especially funny. : )

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DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, vespawoolf. The deerslayer definitely takes the cake! I think he told the lie enough that he had himself convinced it was true.

molometer profile image

molometer 3 years ago from Cambridgeshire, England

Hi Deborah,

I really haven't got much time for most HR people or employers of any sort for that matter.

HR in particular seems to me, to be a kind of made up job.

It is not the 'profession' it makes itself out to be.

They think up convoluted ways to interrogate new candidates to justify their own existence...Stop!

Is this sounding a little ranty lol

Funny article and no I have never been fired.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa Author

Hey now, some of my best friends are HR people. : )

Actually, with all the employment regulations employers must follow, at least here in the States, HR has a pretty important job to ensure legal compliance. That's my story, anyway. Glad you enjoyed the article.

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Deborah, I love your Deerslayer story; it reminds me of an employee I once investigated -- part-time rodeo bull-rider who claimed he couldn't work (or walk, for that matter) because of extensive on-the-job back and neck injuries. As a former HR Investigator, I've reviewed situations involving employees running adult businesses off their work computers; setting up side businesses and offering two-for-one services to the company's established customers; photocopying their private parts (WHY?); putting poop in another person's lunchbox; and employees French kissing one another, other employees' spouses, etc. in front of crowds (alcohol optional but it helps).

Like you allude to, some of the best entertainment around is REAL stuff. I had a track record involving people who would confess up front once they heard my spiel, or lie then call me back to recant. (I am a psychologist after all.) Your hub brings back memories. You just cannot make this stuff up.

Voted way up, pinning and sharing, too.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 2 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, FlourishAnyway. Truth really is stranger than fiction. I keep thinking I should write a book with some of these HR stories. Appreciate the comment.

JessBraz profile image

JessBraz 2 years ago from Canada

Bahahahaha! This hub made me SMILE :D

It was informative and also extremely entertaining. I *hate* my job with a passion, but alas I would never be able to bring myself to get fired. Quit.. Yes.. Definitely.. Eventually... Maybe.. lol.

I have fantasies of what my last day on the job might look like. Sometimes I think I should really go out with a bang and other times I think one day, I'm simply just going to stop showing up and let them figure it out on their own. lol.

But Alas, I return day after day, as well, I have yet to win the lottery so I have to... Someday though... Someday...

:D Cheers on an awesome hub! Voted up!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 2 years ago from Iowa Author

LOL, Jess. I used to keep a draft resignation letter on my work computer and whenever I had a particularly bad day, I'd go in and update it and that would make me feel better for a while. Then one day I actually printed it out and gave it to my supervisor. The lottery winnings just weren't happening and I wasn't getting any younger. But I've never regretted my decision. Thanks for reading and commenting.

DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Interesting ways to get fired I had bullying boss and quit my job I did not give her the benefit of firing me. Your helpful tips sound great.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 2 years ago from Iowa Author

It's definitely better to go out on your own terms, DDE. Good for you. Thanks for the comment.

PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

These stories are truly amazing. Hard to believe some of the things people do at work and never get fired. And worse is to find out some of the ways employers try to make people quit their jobs rather than risk firing them. Interesting read.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 2 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Peg, for reading and commenting. When an employer makes the work environment so intolerable that an employee feels like he or she has no choice but to quit, the employee may have a claim for constructive discharge if the employer had an illegal or discriminatory motive.

Katya Drake profile image

Katya Drake 2 years ago from Wisconsin

Deborah, I love this Hub! Very well written and so funny! I am about to graduate with my Bachelor's in Human Resource Management and all of these scenarios are very similar to ones that we have studied for rightful termination laws. This was great!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 2 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Katya. Glad you enjoyed it. And congratulations on your impending graduation!

Molly Layton profile image

Molly Layton 17 months ago from Alberta

Heheh, very clever! These are great ideas.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 17 months ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Molly! Please don't use them, though. :)

Morbid Solutions profile image

Morbid Solutions 4 months ago from USA

Excellent article! Makes perfect sense as to why some one wants to be fired!

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