Top Ways to Get Fired

In this week's HR Strange but True! column, we discuss a recruiter's list of the top ways employees can get themselves fired.  Take a look at the list and let us know if you have any anecdotes, additions, or observations. For example, what's the biggest lie you've seen on a résumé?


  • 13 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I have to tell you, I disagree with that list.  That is the Top Ways to Drive Your Employer Batty, but not necessarily ways to get you fired.  I've done some firing and my Top Ways: 1) Clock in and leave and then come back 8 hours later and Clock out; 2) Have someone else clock you in when you are running late; 3) Come back when it is not your shift and threaten the Shift Supervisor; 4) Run out the back door when a police officer comes in the building; 5) Have your spouse threaten your co-workers and then when the company gets a restraining order have your spouse stand out in the middle of the road and threaten your co-workers. 

  • 1) Drink a liquid that has an odor remarkably similar to a popular alcoholic beverage in front of God and everyone from a hip flask while at the worksite during your scheduled shift in front of yoru subordinate employees and your boss.

    2) Lie to the employee relations investigator who bound you to cooperation as a condition of your employment.

    3) Walk out of a session with an employee relations investigator in which you were bound to confidentiality regarding the matter under investigation and start speaking loudly with your co-worker about your discussion with the investigator.

    4) Disparage the company and its owners on recorded conversation to a client.

    5) Surf porn in front of your co-workers (and, when confronted, ask where in the handbook it says specifically that you cannot surf porn).

    6) Stop doing your job.

  • Hey, those examples were great!  I'll add:

    Spending the day on the ESPN website and running computerized sports betting polls for coworkers.

    Exempts going off-property for morning and afternoon breaks lasting about 45 minutes, going in an unused conference room for long lunches, and being really hard to find the rest of the day.

  • 1.  Go around yelling F you to all your coworkers in the middle of the production floor.

    2.  After a workplace harassment investigation finds there is no evidence you did anything wrong, and you have been through retraining related to workplace harassment, you walk up to your accuser and threaten to have her killed (telling how you are going to do it) in front of 3 witnesses.

    3.  Charge a customer X dollars on his invoice and get cash on delivery, but on the duplicate put a credit for some products and pocket over $300 worth of cash from many different customers over the course of 2 days, forgetting that the company does COD invoice audits randomly to confirm the totals on both copies of invoices match. 

    4.  Come to work reaking of alcohol, slurring words and running into walls, so that numerous employees and managers come tell me about the situation.  Fails alcohol test. When comes back in so we can tell you the results and tell you that you have been terminated, you reak of alcohol again. 

    5.  Have a competitors sales rep call your office to tell the Human Resource Department that you (a delivery driver) are at such and such parking lot selling product that you are supposed to be delivering to customers to random people on the street.  When HR and GM go out there, sure enough that is what you are seen doing.   


    Holding up internal customers' work by spending the day on the phone and Internet planning her daughter's wedding and not doing much else

    Passing X-rated pictures of employee and boyfriend around during breaks

    Stealing rolls of toilet paper out of the restroom by hiding under her coat at quit time and then denying it despite many witnesses

  • No offense to anyone who has posted above, but I am really glad to know that I don't have ALL the idiots working for me.  I'm really glad to know that I have been able to share. [:D]

  • [quote user="IT HR"] 4.  Come to work reaking of alcohol, slurring words and running into walls, so that numerous employees and managers come tell me about the situation.  Fails alcohol test. When comes back in so we can tell you the results and tell you that you have been terminated, you reak of alcohol again.  [/quote]


    Go get your alcohol test based on reasonable suspicion and, have a 30 minute retest BAC level that is even higherthan the first, indicating that you had been drinking much more and much more recently than you claimed.

  • Here's one:  While working the night shift, make numerous obscene and threatening phone calls to a woman who finally installs caller ID.

    When she calls the number that has been harassing her, it is a number that rings into the CEO's office after hours.  The CEO gets an earful but, luckily, the phone system is programmed so outgoing calls can be traced to phone they were made from. Took some digging, but we found out who was doing it and he was out the door in no time. 

    Or, here's another one:   Tell a female co-worker that you wouldn't touch her with a 10-foot pole.  Then go find a pole, about 8 feet long, and tell all your buddies to "Watch this" as you proceed to poke your female co-worker in some intimate places with your 8 foot pole - while laughing like a maniac, to boot.  (That was the only time I have agreed with firing someone pretty much on the spot!)

    Finally, when you interview for the receptionist job, dress in a conservative, dark business suit but, when you show up for work, wear clothes that would make a hooker blush.  When the inappropriateness of your attire is brought to your attention and you are sent home to change, get huffy and stomp out the door.  Then complain that you were docked the two hours it took you to go home and change.  Keep this up for about a week.  Works every time.   



  • One of my personal favorites -- conduct "experiments" with the company's lunchroom microwave, including putting in metallic objects to see "the sparks" and a raw egg to see it "blow up." When the microwave catches fire and you are caught, use your best defense -- that you didn't want to try it at home and "mess up" your own microwave. Where do these people come from?
  • Hey, KMoore.  You forgot putting Easter "peeps" into the microwave to see them balloon up--that wasted at least 15 minutes for everyone.

    We had someone who continually put items into the toaster oven in the kitchen; and then went back to her desk on the 2nd floor.  We had several incidents of smoke and muffin fires.  Luckily she quit before she burned the facility down--or we could fire her.

  • One of the managers in my office this morning was talking about a speech she had heard that discussed the progression through life and how adults sometimes revert back to acting like children.  Reading all of these makes me believe that is so true.  I have a bunch of friends who are school teachers (of all different grades).  When they are telling stories about something funny, stupid, bad, etc. that one of their kids did in class I can usually give a story about something related that I have had to discipline or fire an adult for.

    Thanks for some good laughs! 


  • Using the corporate credit card to pay for online dating site memberships.
  • All the same employee...Day 1of employment...Have your gender not match on your social security number verification and not be able to explain, Day 2 Arrive over 45 minutes late, Day 3 Rear end a parked vehicle while driving a company paid rental car, Day 4 Dress in clothes that should not be worn even to a bar...There was no day 5!

    Use explicit pictures of you and your girlfriend as a screen saver - when other employees complain and you are counseled object that you did nothing wrong. One week later post new pictures...

    Take 20 minute smoke and phone breaks in your car parked in full view of reception without punching out over 4 times daily..when in the office surf porn sites. Repeat for over a month. 






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