What is employee termination?
Employee termination can go by several names, including letting an employee go or firing an employee. Terminating an employee means that you’re ending your professional relationship with them and they no longer work for your company. The process for terminating an employee depends on your company practices and the state laws that govern fair employment practices.
Most common reasons for employee termination
Consider these 13 common reasons for firing an employee:
Usually, firing an employee for incompetence, which is also called poor performance, happens after a series of warnings and interventions. Incompetent employees are unable to perform their job duties as directed, even with assistance.
Insubordination is the refusal to follow instructions, usually paired with aggressive or disagreeable language. Insubordinate employees’ behavior can impact their colleague’s comfort at work and negatively affect the company’s culture.
Employees who are regularly late to work or who take more days off than the company allows may not complete their work assignments on time. Employees with attendance issues often put a strain on their coworkers, leading to low morale in their departments.
Theft is illegal. Stealing from the company or from coworkers can not only lead to termination for the employee, but could also result in legal action from the person or organization the employee stole from. Stealing includes any type of robbery, from petty theft, like taking office supplies home, to stealing expensive items like computers or cash.
5. Sharing confidential information
Depending on the employee’s job, they may have access to proprietary company information. In these cases, most organizations require the employee to sign a non-disclosure form in which the employee certifies they won’t share the information they work with. Employees who violate company policy by sharing confidential information are worthy of termination.
6. Sexual harassment
Sexual harassment can vary in severity from unwanted comments to unwanted physical touch. Take any accusations of sexual harassment seriously and conduct an investigation. Some extreme forms of sexual harassment may also be punishable by law.
Violence at work, such as damaging company equipment or property through physical force or striking a coworker, is both illegal and an offense worthy of termination. Most companies have a zero-tolerance policy for violence, meaning if a violent act occurs at work, the company may fire the employee immediately.
Making threats of any kind can be a terminable offense. It doesn’t matter if the threats are made verbally or in writing. If an employee threatens another employee or the company, termination is a reasonable response.
Misconduct is a catch-all phrase that applies to a multitude of unwanted behaviors. Examples include:
- Criminal behavior
- Spying for a competitor
10. Substance abuse
Substance abuse includes using alcohol or illegal drugs on the job. Some companies may also perform random drug tests to see if employees are abusing drugs outside of work.
11. Damaging property
Property damage might include intentionally breaking equipment or even the unintentional destruction of a high-value piece of company property.
12. Falsifying records
Knowingly recording false statements or facts is both illegal and a fireable offense. The specifics of records falsification depends on the industry and person’s job.
13. Using company resources for personal benefit
Some employees might have a personal business venture they explore when they’re not at work. Most companies have no problem with that, but if the employee is using company resources and time for that venture, that can lead to termination.