In general, most of us try to avoid getting fired by following laws, company policy, and practicing common sense. Common sense between right and wrong in the workplace should be evident- don’t punch your boss, harass coworkers, steal, etc.
However, not everyone is blessed with common sense and happen to make some very unforgiving mistakes. Here are three dumb ways that can get you fired from your job:
1. Downloading Porn
Any employee that is gutsy enough to download porn on a work computer should raise concern immediately. Unfortunately, downloading and yes, even watching porn at work is far more common that you might think. In fact, it is so common that on March 25, 2015 a U.S. House of Representatives committee passed the Eliminating Pornography from Agencies Act after an investigation revealed that a government employee downloaded more than 7,000 pornographic files to his work computer and watched more than six hours of pornography per day in his office.
Downloading explicit files is an IT departments worst nightmare. These type of downloads are usually accompanied by malware, infecting a device and compromising security. Many IT departments have taken proactive measures by placing certain restrictions on what sites can be accessed via a work network or requiring an administrator’s password before downloading files or applications.
In addition to a breach of security, allowing employees to use internet access to download and watch pornography can lead to lawsuits by creating a sexually hostile work environment, a type of sexual harassment and illegal discrimination covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Plain and simple, there is zero tolerance for downloading porn on a work computer- just don’t do it.
2. Social Media Abuse
Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great ways to connect with people across the globe, but if misused, it can serve as grounds for termination.
This should go without mention, but an employee that uses social media to post trade secrets or customer lists may be a direct violation of their contract and will most likely result in immediate termination. In more grey areas, an employee that is posting inappropriate pictures or content may also be fair play for firing if an employer believes the employee is misrepresenting an organization or tarnishing its reputation.
Social media is a powerful tool and can also be used as a way to improve a workplace. Participating in protected concerted activity ensures employees cannot be terminated for posting concerns about an employer when it relates to working conditions, employment, policies, pay, and decisions with other team members. However, there is a fine line. In order to be protected, an employee cannot be venting about work situations without attempting to engage, address, and discuss issues with other coworkers. Tread lightly and know how you’re protected.
3. Boozing on the Job
Any organization that receives grants and contracts from the federal government are required to maintain a written drug and alcohol-free workplace policy under the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. So next time you consider showing up to work drunk or hitting the flask under your desk during a rough week, you may want to think twice before taking a swig.
Depending on an organization’s workplace policy, employers may require an alcohol test if there is reasonable cause such as empty bottles, alcohol odor, or slurred speech. Drinking on the job isn’t just unprofessional and potentially against policy, but it can have a significant impact on an employee’s productivity, quality of work, behaviors, and decision making.
Don’t get fired for doing something dumb. Walk the straight and narrow, abide by company policy, and always think before acting in a way that could be detrimental to your job.
This blog was written by Ally Edwards, Marketing Guru at PeopleGuru. This post may not be copied or published without PeopleGuru's express written permission.