top of page
  • Lokajit Tikayatray

Top Reasons Why People Get Fired At Work

Updated: Feb 10

Table of Content



Did you know that approximately 40% of people are fired from a job at least once in their lifetime?

Experiencing termination can be challenging. It's important to recognize why individuals may find themselves in this situation.

Reasons for job termination range from underperformance and misconduct to broader factors like company restructuring and cultural mismatches. Understanding these underlying causes is beneficial for both employers and employees, as it aids in better navigating workplace dynamics and challenges.

Top Reasons for Employee Dismissal

Top Reasons for Employee Dismissal

One of the primary reasons why people get fired is poor performance. When employees consistently fail to meet their job expectations, it can lead to dismissal. For example, when an employee repeatedly misses deadlines or produces subpar work, it reflects poorly on their performance.

Another common reason for employee dismissal is misconduct in the workplace. This includes behaviors such as harassment, insubordination, dishonesty, or violating company policies. Employees engaging in these actions create a toxic work environment and damage the company's reputation.

Moreover, attendance issues can also result in termination. Chronic absenteeism or tardiness disrupts workflow and affects team productivity. If an employee fails to show up for work regularly without valid reasons, it can lead to disciplinary action and eventual dismissal.

Furthermore, companies may let go of employees due to restructuring or downsizing efforts. In such cases, individuals are not fired due to their performance but rather as a result of organizational changes aimed at reducing costs or improving efficiency.

Misconduct and Its Consequences in the Workplace

Misconduct in the workplace can lead to employees getting fired. Examples of misconduct include dishonesty, harassment, discrimination, and violation of company policies. An employee engaging in such behavior can negatively impact the company's culture by creating a toxic work environment.

In cases of dishonesty or theft, employees may face immediate termination due to breaching trust with their employer. Harassment and discrimination are serious offenses that harm individuals and tarnish the reputation of the organization. Such behaviors violate ethical standards and legal regulations, prompting swift action from employers.

Furthermore, violating company policies regarding attendance, performance expectations, or safety protocols can also result in dismissal. For instance, consistently failing to meet job requirements despite warnings could lead to termination based on poor performance.

Speaking about misconduct and its consequences in the workplace highlights how crucial it is for employees to adhere to professional conduct standards set by their organizations. Failure to do so not only jeopardizes their own careers but also impacts the overall well-being of their colleagues and the company as a whole.

The Impact of Substance Abuse on Employment

Substance abuse can have an adverse impact on employment, leading to negative consequences for individuals in the workplace. Employees who engage in substance abuse may experience decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and impaired decision-making abilities. This not only affects their own performance but also has repercussions for the organization's overall functioning.

Moreover, substance abuse can lead to safety concerns in the workplace. For example, an employee under the influence of drugs or alcohol may pose a risk to themselves and others due to impaired motor skills and judgment. This jeopardizes the safety and well-being of everyone in the work environment.

Substance abuse can result in strained relationships with colleagues and supervisors. It may lead to conflicts, misunderstandings, or breakdowns in communication that disrupt teamwork and collaboration within the organization. Ultimately, these factors contribute to a hostile work environment and can lead to disciplinary action or termination of employment.

Infringements Involving Company Property and Records

When employees violate company policies by misusing or mishandling company property and records, it can lead to termination. This includes unauthorized use of equipment, theft of office supplies, or unauthorized access to confidential information.

Misusing company property not only affects the organization's resources but also damages trust and credibility. For example, if an employee consistently uses the office printer for personal projects without permission, it impacts the company's budget and productivity.

Similarly, mishandling confidential records such as customer data or financial information can result in severe consequences. Unauthorized access to sensitive files or sharing proprietary information with external parties violates trust and may lead to legal implications for both the individual and the organization.

Employees must understand that respecting company property and maintaining confidentiality is crucial for a harmonious work environment. Training programs on data security protocols and ethical behavior can help prevent these infringements.

Performance Issues Leading to Termination

Termination due to poor performance is a significant concern in the workplace. It typically occurs when an employee consistently fails to meet the company's established standards and expectations. Key indicators of such performance issues include habitual missed deadlines, consistently substandard work quality, and a noticeable decline in productivity or efficiency.

These shortcomings often reflect an employee's inability to fulfill their job responsibilities effectively.

In addition to these direct performance metrics, certain behavioral patterns can also lead to termination. Regular tardiness, frequent absenteeism, and ongoing conflicts with colleagues are behaviors that disrupt the smooth functioning of the workplace and negatively impact overall productivity. Particularly in cases where these issues persist despite warnings and interventions, termination may be the eventual outcome.

To illustrate, consider the case of a sales representative who, despite receiving additional training and support, continuously fails to meet their monthly sales targets. This persistent underperformance, especially in a role critical to the company's revenue, could lead to termination.

Another example might be an employee consistently arriving late or failing to show up without valid reasons. Not only does this behavior demonstrate a lack of commitment, but it also sets a poor example for others, potentially leading to broader performance issues within the team or department.

Furthermore, an employee who consistently displays a negative attitude towards colleagues or customers can create a toxic environment. Such behavior affects team morale and reduces the overall performance of the team, making termination a necessary step to preserve the workplace culture and integrity.

These scenarios underscore the importance of addressing performance issues promptly and effectively. By doing so, organizations can maintain a productive, respectful, and efficient work environment while also offering employees the opportunity to improve and succeed in their roles.

Policy Violations and Social Media Missteps at Work

Employees can get fired for breaking company rules or engaging in misconduct. This includes actions like theft, dishonesty, harassment, or substance abuse. For instance, when an employee is caught stealing from the company or consistently arriving late without a valid reason, they could face termination.

Another common reason for people getting fired is social media missteps. In today's digital age, many companies have strict policies regarding what employees can post on social media platforms. If an employee publicly criticizes their employer or shares confidential information about the company online, it can lead to severe consequences, including termination.

In some cases, policy violations and social media missteps might be linked to performance issues discussed earlier. For example, if an employee's declining performance leads them to violate company policies out of frustration or desperation, these factors could intertwine and contribute to their dismissal.

Ultimately, understanding and adhering to company policies while maintaining professionalism both inside and outside the workplace is crucial in avoiding termination due to policy violations and social media missteps.

Understanding Employee Rights and Wrongful Termination

Understanding Employee Rights

It's essential to understand employee rights and wrongful termination. Employees have the right to work in an environment free from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Wrongful termination occurs when an employee is fired for reasons that violate their legal rights or public policy.

One common reason for wrongful termination is discrimination based on race, gender, age, religion, disability, or sexual orientation. For example, if an employee is fired solely because of gender or religious beliefs, it constitutes wrongful termination.

Another critical aspect of understanding employee rights is the protection against retaliation for reporting illegal activities or unsafe working conditions. If an employer terminates someone for whistleblowing about unethical practices at the company or filing a complaint regarding workplace safety violations, it could be considered wrongful termination.

  • Employees have the right to work in a safe environment free from discrimination and harassment.

  • Race and gender-based discrimination can lead to wrongful termination.

  • Retaliation against employees who report illegal activities or unsafe conditions is prohibited by law.

Understanding these fundamental aspects of employee rights can help individuals recognize when they are wrongfully terminated and take appropriate action to protect their employment rights.

Recognizing the Signs of Impending Job Termination

There are several signs that indicate impending job termination. One common sign is a sudden change in performance reviews or supervisor feedback. If an employee consistently receiving positive evaluations suddenly starts getting negative feedback, it could be a warning sign.

Another clear indicator is when an employee's responsibilities and duties are gradually reduced without any valid reason. For instance, if someone who used to lead projects and manage teams finds themselves with significantly fewer tasks and no explanation for the shift, this could signal impending termination.

Consistent conflicts with colleagues or superiors can also be a red flag. When an employee frequently clashes with others in the workplace or experiences strained relationships with their managers, it may eventually lead to being let go.

Here is a list of other signs indicating the employee is at risk of getting fired.

  • Failing to meet performance expectations or consistently missing deadlines

  • Increased micromanagement and scrutiny from supervisors

  • Experiencing a sudden decrease in workload or responsibilities

  • Being excluded from decision-making processes or important meetings

  • Receiving back-to-back negative feedback or performance reviews

  • Not being included in future project planning or discussions

  • Experiencing a sudden change in attitude or behavior from colleagues or supervisors

  • Not being given new opportunities for professional growth or development

  • Experiencing a sudden change in work hours or schedule

  • Being asked to train a replacement or hand off specific responsibilities to others

Final Thoughts

You've now gained insight into why people get fired from work. From performance issues to policy violations and substance abuse, the workplace landscape is fraught with potential pitfalls. Understanding these factors can help you navigate your professional journey more effectively, whether you're an employee or an employer.

By recognizing the signs of impending job termination and being aware of your rights, you can proactively mitigate risks and strive for a positive work environment.

As you continue on your professional journey, remember that knowledge is power. Stay informed about your company's policies and regulations, seek support if you're facing challenges, and strive to uphold professionalism in every aspect of your work life. Doing so can bolster your chances of success and contribute to a thriving workplace culture.


Subscribe to my free newsletter to get stories delivered directly to your mailbox.

A must-read eBook for junior developers to survive and thrive in their software engineering career.


Is it common to be fired?

It's not uncommon for people to experience termination at some point in their careers. However, the frequency varies based on industries, market conditions, and individual circumstances.

Do good employees get fired?

Unfortunately, even top performers can face dismissal for various reasons, such as company restructuring or policy violations. However, being a strong contributor can often provide a buffer against termination.

Why do people get fired so easily?

Employers may terminate employees swiftly due to serious misconduct or performance issues that impact the company's operations and culture.

What is the #1 reason that employees get fired?

Performance issues, including consistent underperformance or failure to meet job requirements, frequently top the list of reasons for employee dismissal.

How does substance abuse impact employment?

Substance abuse significantly impairs an individual's ability to fulfill work responsibilities effectively and can lead to termination if not addressed promptly.

9 views0 comments


Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page