How to get fired!

by | 10.03.22

There are many reasons why employers sack people. Generally, though they all fall into the bracket of “gross misconduct”. This is an act which is so serious that it justifies dismissal without notice, or pay in lieu of notice, for a first offence. The gross misconduct act must be something that destroys the relationship of trust and confidence that your employer had in you, making your working relationship impossible to continue. What amounts to gross misconduct will vary from employer to employer, depending on the sector the business is in. Here are some examples of acts that could get you the sack.

Damaging company property

If you intentionally damage your employer’s property i.e.: the computer, the printer the photocopier or even your desk you can be sacked. Even if you damage your employer’s property unintentionally you could still end up with your P45.

Aggressive Behaviour

If you harass, bully or intimidate other staff members, or threaten violence, start a fight or indulge in dangerous horseplay then your employer can sack you. This behaviour is not limited just to your colleagues if you show this type of behaviour to either a client or a service user without question your P45 is coming your way.

Dishonesty, fraud or stealing

If you lie about even the smallest thing at work in order to perhaps cover a mistake you have made you could be sacked. Equally if you commit fraud maybe by falsifying your sales figures or something like that you could be shown the door. As for stealing not only is it illegal, but it’s also a sackable offence. This includes petty theft such as a box or pens as well as stealing larger items or equipment. Do any if these things and your P45 will be on its way.


You don’t have to say ‘yes’ to all requests or always agree with your Manager. However, a refusal to obey orders, obstructionist behaviour or rude communication can lead to the loss of your job. If you disagree with your Managers requests or policies express it politely and professionally or get in touch with your HR Manager for help with mediation. Otherwise by arguing the toss or refusing to do something full stop will only result in you getting your P45.


There are a lot of things that fall into this category, it’s a term which employers can use to describe lots of unacceptable areas of behaviour. From sexual harassment to bullying to criminal misbehaviour. Other things that could be considered misconduct are unethical behaviour such as lying, stealing, fraud and industrial espionage. Watch yourself, behave like this and your P45 will be in your hand before you know it.

Poor Performance

Employers want employees who do their work and do it well. Fundamentally if you are not fulfilling the duties outlined in your job description, you have received warnings about your performance, or if your work needs constantly to be checked and often needs to be redone, you are not earning your wage packet and one day you could find your P45 in it.

Using company property for personal business

I don’t mean using the office in order to have a party I mean using your employers IT equipment, telephone, mobile phone, photocopier, company vehicle etc for your personal use. It is not acceptable to cruise the internet when you are supposed to be working, nor should you use company phones to ring your mates or the photocopier to produce 200 party invites. As for using the company van to help you move house well that is not on. Stealing time from your employer is also not acceptable, you are paid to work, not paid to organise your social life when you are supposed to be working. Your P45 will come to you sooner rather than later if you act like this.

Breach of Health and Safety Rules

If you work in an environment where there is a strict H & S policy, it is there for a reason, and you must follow it. You cannot refuse to wear personal protective equipment e.g., a hard hat on a building site if it is mandatory. Another H & S rule which may not be in your contract of employment is dangerous driving on your work site. So, no pretending you are Lewis Hamilton when driving in the Company car park otherwise your P45 could arrive just as quickly.

Incapacity caused by alcohol or drugs

Serious incapacity due to drinking or taking drugs whilst at work will not be tolerated. Nor will the possession of drugs or taking drugs on your employers’ premises. Buying or selling drugs at work is also a sackable offence. So, the message is keep your vodka at home and remember all drugs are illegal. Your P45 will not only be given to you if you do either of these things it will probably be stuffed in your face.

Taking too much time off

If you are always late, frequently taking time off sick or use more than your allotment of annual leave you could really annoy your employer. You’re constant lateness or absence will interfere with work getting done, that’s your own work and the work of others in your team. After a couple of warnings your P45 could be winging its way to you.

Sharing your life on social media

Social media’s role in both our personal and work life continues to grow. Social posts on personal accounts that reflect badly on your employer can be deemed as misconduct. So, before you post offensive or inflammatory comments about your boss, work colleagues or place or work think about it. Also, if you post anything in breach of social media policy, i.e.: racist comments, your employer has grounds on which to take disciplinary action. Think about who will be able to see what you’re posting before pressing the share button otherwise your P45 could be in your wage pocket.

So, there you go, think about your actions, no-one wants to get the sack. Getting the sack has enormous repercussions, for instance it will affect the reference you receive and whilst an employer can’t give you an unfair reference they can say the reason you left them was because you were dismissed, and they can say why you were dismissed. A recent survey shows that 57% of people who were dismissed were let go because of attitude and personality issues. Other major areas were not completing assigned tasks, followed by poor attendance and violating corporate policy. Whilst I have tried to cover the most common reasons there are others like lying on your CV or not being able to get on with colleagues or your Manager. So, think about it. Do you want your job? Or would you rather have your P45?

Good luck

Angela Burton