I could say “buyer beware” but you’re not the buyer…

grimreaper cartoonThis is a guest post by Aadi Reddy. If you’d also like to guest post here on JobMob, follow these guest post guidelines.

It’s a modern world – it is not just enough to be good at your job – you have to be cautious about a lot more things to stay employed.

Some of these things are obvious and some are not so obvious which makes it difficult to keep up with what is OK and what is not.

In this article I will attempt to provide you a comprehensive, if not complete, list of things that can get you fired.

1. Sexual orientation

Did you know that even to this day in a country like US, there are still 29 states that do not approve of your non-conservative partner preferences?

Yes – if you are working in any of these states you could get fired because of your non-conservative sexual orientation. The exception to this rule is if your company specifically opts to be an ‘equal opportunity employer’ or if you are working for a US Government agency. Many countries around the world consider being gay as illegal – that is – you could get into prison for being gay and many other countries may allow your sexual preferences but do not protect you from getting fired by your employer if the employer does not approve of it.

2. Social media

You could get fired because of your comments or ranting on social media like Facebook, Twitter and score of other sites. Freedom of speech cannot come to your rescue either, why? Because freedom of speech protects you from government interference but not interference from the private sector. You want examples? See: Lindsey Stone, bartender fired and ten other people who got fired because of social media.

3. LinkedIn

I am stating LinkedIn separately because I think of it as a professional media rather than a social media. If you post TOO much information about your clients or projects on your LinkedIn profile (or similar professional sites) – you may be in violation of company policies that can get you fired.

Best thing to do: never put client’s names or project details that are NOT acceptable as per your company policy on your public profiles (resumes included).

4. Misstatements on resumes

This is a true story – so listen closely.

One of my colleagues back home was a star at his job. He received 20+ appreciation emails and at least half-a-dozen awards for ‘exceeding’ expectations in just 6 months. One month later (7th month) – he was called into HR’s office and was let go.

Why?

He had misstated his experience on his resume to cover up a 3-month period where he was not doing anything.

Our VP tried to save him but as it fell into the ‘ethical’ category – he too couldn’t reverse the decision. No amount of talent can save you if HR finds out deliberate misstatements during their investigation.

Beware and be honest on paper and deeds.

5. Being late

Most employments are now ‘at will employments’ which means that either party can terminate the employment at will. If that’s the case – then you could get fired for any reason and no reason at all.

If your employment agreement specifically provides for a ‘notice period’ then you may be given notice but that doesn’t guarantee a reason. Read this to learn about employee who got fired for showing up late and the 5 laws under which you may get some protection from being fired without notice (if you’re in the US).

6. Going crazy at office parties

Alcohol can make some people do lot of crazy things. If you are one of those people who tend to lose sense of time, place, and clothes, you are better off not touching the alcohol at the office parties.

Time for another true story – back in 2009, our employer in India decided to throw a party for everyone’s hard work. Few folks went bananas after consuming too much alcohol – next day – they were let go for ‘indecent behavior’. Legally, an employer can fire you for your ‘unacceptable/indecent’ behavior at any official gathering.

7. Sexual harassment

This topic may sound too obvious to you, but do you know what can be construed as sexual harassment in the workplace?

The Manager’s Guide To Understanding Sexual Harassment states that “an alleged sexual harasser does not have to intend to offend”, in other words – your intention has no bearing for a particular action to be treated as sexual harassment. An innocent showcase of a cartoon, which someone could interpret as sexual in nature, to your colleague can be interpreted as sexual harassment.

8. Misusing/misstating corporate credit cards

It is always a good idea to keep your corporate card separate and NEVER use it for your personal purposes.

If you charge something on your corporate card and it is not business-related, that itself can get you fired. Again, if your employment is at ‘will’ then the company is protected by law and they can fire you for any reason or no reason. Where the contract stipulates that a ‘just cause’ needs to be shown, then the misuse of corporate credit card is a cause enough to get you fired.

9. Personal use of corporate email

You should NEVER use your corporate email to enroll for offers or anything of personal nature.

Your corporate email is for purely business purposes. If your employer finds out that you used corporate email for enrolling for coupons or any other personal purpose – that itself can serve as the just cause to fire you.

10. Over a dozen other ways you can get fired:

  • Sexual affairs – between people of different hierarchies
  • Lack of talent/competence – at the job to be performed
  • Using company property (like computer) – for personal use
  • Inappropriate commenting – and when that gets escalated
  • Stealing – even the pity value stuff from office
  • Showing up under influence of drugs to the office
  • Insider trading – for owning stock/interest in a client that you directly or indirectly serve
  • Procrastinating at your job (!)
  • Leaking one client’s information to another client – whether or not the other client can benefit from such leak
  • Collusion between employees or outsiders
  • Racist or sexist overtones
  • Starting or spreading rumors that are generally detrimental, or perceived to be detrimental, to the company or its people
  • Bad mouthing or speaking behind your boss’s back about him/her
  • For not complying with your specific company’s policies or independence requirements, whatever they are

There you have it, many ways you can get fired and reason why you should be aware of them. Stay informed and safe.

About the Author

Aadi Reddy writes job-related articles exclusively for www.jobinterviewboard.com based on his journey from having to struggle to join a decent company in India in the 2000s to currently holding a managerial role in one of the Big 4 firms in USA. He writes from personal experience and research to help others who may be struggling in the job world as Aadi did in the beginning.

This article is part of the The $10000 7th Annual JobMob Guest Blogging Contest.

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--Jacob Share