Terminating employment against the will of the worker

Over 1.8 million professionals use CFI to learn accounting, financial analysis, modeling and more. Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets.

What Does It Mean to Get Fired?

Getting fired means that an employer terminates employment against the will of the worker. There are numerous reasons why company managers fire their employees. However, most don’t need a valid reason to terminate employment. If one is not covered by a bargaining agreement or employment contract, the chances are that they are at-will employees. Employment at will gives a company owner the freedom to fire any time and without notice.


That said, most employers don’t fire individuals without valid reasons. In fact, the majority of firings are described as termination for cause, meaning that an employee loses his job because he’s at fault.

Reasons Why Employees Get Fired

Here are common reasons that can get people thrown off their jobs:

1. Stealing company equipment

Even though it seems like a no-brainer, an employee can lose his job because of stealing items, even if he thinks them to be of no use to the company. Think no one will notice that the stack of printer paper that remains at the end of each week is missing? Or perhaps one of the workers keeps “losing” his mouse and needs constant replacement of the same.

As minor as such transgressions may seem, they are serious offenses that can get an employee fired. If one accidentally takes company equipment to his home or other premises, he should return it the following day and report the matter to his manager.

2. Failing to perform the job for which one was hired

Unsatisfactory performance is the primary reason why most employees get fired. Such a reason encompasses a number of specific things that can cause an individual to lose his job. For example, if an employee is too sluggish, makes too many mistakes, fails to meet set standards, keeps asking too many questions, misses deadlines, or uses poor judgment, all will be classified under poor performance.

3. Taking too much time off

It is no secret that work is stressful. It is one of those activities that can make climbing out of bed each morning very difficult. So, it’s understandable if an employee calls in sick or wants to take some time off.

However, if one takes too many sick days or vacation days at the wrong times, it could get him fired. For example, if an employee keeps asking for time off when the company is in the middle of a busy season, it reflects poorly on the employee’s dedication.

4. Cheating on the job application

Most people beef up their resumes and assume that once they’ve secured a position, what they did to get the job is no longer important. However, that is not the case. If the individual’s performance starts lagging, the HR department can decide to review the employee’s resume again.

If the company manager is constantly dissatisfied with an employee’s performance and then he finds out that the worker lied in the application, he may not hesitate to terminate the employment.

5. Forging company records

Falsifying firm records is not only unethical and possibly illegal, but it can also get an employee fired.

6. Using a company computer for personal use

Nothing gets a worker fired faster than using company equipment for personal business. For example, an employee who is caught playing games, checking out his Facebook friends, or watching a movie, is very likely to get fired. Even if one gets some free time, he should spend it wisely engaging in meaningful activities such as helping his co-workers.

Signs that an Employee is About to Get Fired

Losing one’s job can be a real surprise. However, there are a few telltale signs that an employee is about to get axed.

1. When an employee’s role keeps shrinking

Instead of being given new tasks, the employee’s list of projects keeps decreasing. If an individual keeps getting passed over for new assignments even after expressing his concerns, the odds are that he’s about to lose his job.

 2. Constantly getting critical performance reviews

A negative assessment is not always synonymous with getting fired. However, if an employee keeps getting bad feedback from his boss, he might get fired eventually. Depending on how the first performance review goes, one can be given a second chance to make improvements. However, if he gets a series of critical performance assessments, it is a sign that he might lose his position.

3. Getting assigned impossible assignments

When an employee gets his first job, he is trained and, thereafter, given tasks that he can accomplish with ease. However, if it gets to a point where the employee is given projects similar to climbing Mount Everest, then it’s likely that he’s being set up for failure. Sometimes, company owners lack the courage to fire employees, so they set them up for failure. In such a way, they’ll get solid evidence for firing the employee.


Getting fired means that an employee’s job is terminated for reasons such as poor work performance or unethical behavior such as stealing company equipment. However, an employer can fire workers without any valid reason if they’re at-will employees. That said, there are some warning signs that show one is on the verge of getting fired. They include receiving negative feedback on performance, getting passed up on assignments, and being tasked with impossible projects.

Related Readings

CFI is the official provider of the Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst (FMVA)™ certification program, designed to transform anyone into a world-class financial analyst.

To keep learning and developing your knowledge of financial analysis, we highly recommend the additional resources below:

0 search results for ‘