What Are the Common Reasons People Get Fired?

Are you wondering about the common reasons people get fired? 

As a business owner, hiring the right candidate is one of the best actions you can take for your business. Employees are more than just people who work in your business. They affect your production, productivity, company reputation, work environment, and more.

When your employees are doing well, your company has the best chance to succeed. However, when your employees are not doing so well, they can drag your company down and cause it to fail.

Unfortunately, there are some employees who a not a great fit for your company, regardless of what you do. 

These employees might act out in a way that eventually ends with the termination of their employment. This is a frustrating experience for all involved, especially you, the employer, who has invested so much time and money into their development. 

While firing an employee is never fun, sometimes their behavior leaves you no choice. If you fail to solve the problem, you could end up liable or facing serious consequences in your business.

If you are wondering about the most common reasons people are fired, this short and simple guide is for you. 

Poor Job Performance

One of the most common reasons someone is fired is poor job performance. This typically happens over a long period and comes with several warnings, write-ups, and more. 

Poor performance can also affect your employee turnover and harm your business. You can read this article if you are wondering how to calculate employee turnover.


Insubordination is a common reason why you might have to fire an employee. In a nutshell, insubordination involves an employee being disrespectful to their manager, supervisor, or someone in authority. Insubordination is dangerous because it can cause a widespread lack of respect for authority in your company. 

Attendance Problems

One of the most common reasons employees get fired is attendance problems. This can involve arriving late to work, calling out often, taking lengthy breaks and lunches, or even leaving early. Attendance problems can harm your productivity, result in missed deadlines, and angry clients and customers. 

Drugs or Alcohol Possession 

In many cases, your employee might come to work while they are in possession of drugs and/or alcohol. This is dangerous, not just to your employee, but also to your business as a whole. 

Depending on the job description of the employee, they could be putting themselves in physical danger. They might also be selling drugs at work, which is a criminal offense. 

Failing a Drug Test 

A common reason for getting fired is failing a drug test. While many companies test before they hire a candidate, even more companies require random drug tests. These random tests can filter out employees who are abusing drugs. 

Working while under the influence of drugs is extremely dangerous for your employee and your company. This can end in an accident or even an employee’s death. If you find one of your employees is under the influence at work, consider letting them go. 

Damaging Company Property 

A common reason many people are fired is damaging company property. This can be on purpose or on accident. The damage can range from a quick fix to replacing an expensive machine. These situations are usually considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on the type and amount of damage that was done.  

Stealing From the Company

Although everyone knows you should not steal from your job, many people still do. Employees can steal money, products, and anything you have in your business. You can also fire employees for stealing time from the company, something that happens when they are on the clock but are not working. 

Unauthorized Use of Company Property 

A common reason to get fired is the unauthorized use of company property. This can happen when an employee uses the internet or office equipment for personal reasons. 

While using the office printer to print out a document may be fine, some employees might violate the company confidentiality policy by using private databases for information on someone they know. 

Violating Company Policy 

Violating company policy is one of the most common reasons for employment termination. This can happen in a variety of ways, depending on the company and its specific policies. Violating company policy can range from gossiping about coworkers to sexual harassment. 

Inappropriate Relationships at Work 

One common, but overlooked, reason many people are fired is engaging in inappropriate relationships at work. Many companies have a policy that does not allow employees to date each other. 

This policy is usually to protect the employees from the fallout of a breakup and the company from sexual harassment complaints. Some employees require both parties to disclose their relationship and sign paperwork with the human resources department. 

Whatever the policy, many couples do not take it seriously, which results in being fired. 


Many employers are firing employees for misconduct. This reason covers many different actions, depending on the specific policies and procedures for the company. Examples of employee misconduct are discrimination, breaking confidentiality, using profane language, and other offensive behaviors. 

Dishonesty and Lying on the Job 

Being dishonest and lying on the job are reasons you can fire your employees. Unfortunately, many employees lie to their employers, which is why dishonesty is a common reason to fire people. This can including lying on a resume, lying about work getting done, falsifying information, and more. 

These Are the Most Common Reasons People Get Fired

There are a variety of reasons people get fired from their jobs. 

Some of the most common reasons are attendance problems, misconduct, and using company property in an unauthorized way. You might also have to fire an employee for being dishonest, damaging company property, or insubordination. If your employee is consistently performing poorly or has stolen from your company, consider terminating their employment. 

If you have an employee who is behaving in one or more of these ways, fire them immediately.

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