10 Dumb Reasons Employers Fire Workers

workers fired dumb reasons

When it comes to dumb reasons for getting fired, there appears to be no end to the idiocy displayed by many workers that ultimately leads to their dismissal.

There is perhaps no better example of this numbskullery than Steven Slater, the former JetBlue flight attendant who, in a fit aboard a parked aircraft two years ago, cursed out passengers, flung open an emergency slide and slid his way to the unemployment line.

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But in an economy in which there's no shortage of available workers, employers can fire workers on some of the flimsiest, strangest and dumbest pretexts. And employees have little recourse. Thanks to employment-at-will laws in place in nearly all U.S. states, companies have wide berth in firing, laying off or otherwise dismissing employees.

Still, as the following stories demonstrate, some workers aren't taking their dismissals lying down, but are choosing to file complaints with regulatory authorities or hiring lawyers to file lawsuits. In doing so, they hope to not only right the wrongs they feel led to their unemployment, but also get a bit of payback, either by having their jobs restored or wages reinstated -- or both.

Do you think their discharges were warranted? Or perhaps you've heard stranger reasons for being fired? Let us know in the comments section below or comment on our Facebook page.





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David Schepp

Staff Writer

David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.

Schepp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

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62 Comments

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LaDracul

I am not surprised Walmart would make something up and take the customer's side. I was fired because I was having trouble with an irate customer who was making a big deal over nothing and she accused me of using a word I knew that in over ten years of retail it was not okay to use on the job. However, I feel that they were trying to get rid of me after my pay was raised into the double digits. It's been a struggle to find a job, but how do you explain that your former employers were being unethical and would rather can you over some ridiculous claim that was NOT your fault rather than ask if you can take a pay cut?

April 19 2013 at 11:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Grace

Was curiously fired last week for not being able to attend a going-away luncheon because some creepy goop from the ceiling of our new office building (which is an old building) had fallen on my blouse and jacket. I couldn't go to a restaurant looking like that, had to go to the dry cleaners and drop off my jacket, and I had to go to the department store to buy a new jacket -- all on my lunch hour. But I couldn't expect class and professionalism from the pot-smoking (in the office), drinking, chronically late attorney who fired me.

March 06 2013 at 1:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dedebreland

what about fired for coming to work sick even though you feel you can still perform instead of calling out came in.

October 24 2012 at 4:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
heagartwo

Why is it so hard for some of you to believe that people aren't fired for no good reason? This is ten stories out of the millions of people employed. Yes it can happen, to have a jerk for a boss. I have had a couple of jerky bosses who fired people for no good reason. I felt bad for the fired co-worker. I bet there are alot of people who would like to quit their jobs because of a horrible employer, they just can't afford to.

September 09 2012 at 4:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to heagartwo's comment
gerryc1836

You're correct: It's legal in most states to dismiss someone for no good reason at all --- with the exception of categories of discrimination (very hard to prove). I used to tell that to my members (I was a Union president at one time). And another thing: the employer actually wants you to screw up. That way he/she can have something against you. He/she knows that you're going to screw up again sometime (nobody's perfect) and all he/she has to do is wave that laundry list of offenses at you, you're gone and their butt has been covered. All the good you did for the company? Not worth a sou. Loyalty? Don't make me laugh. The only way you can fight it would be to join a Union; at least chances of getting your job back are better.

October 23 2012 at 8:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
petersonentvt

I bet there are other reasons for most. Especially number 3 as she isnt hot at all so that clearly isnt why she was fired. There are two sides to every story and somewhere between the stories is the actually truth.

August 12 2012 at 7:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CharlesL

The last one - the fat broad that worked for Walmart and got fired for "touching a customer" because she lost her balance while being jostled by customers on Black Friday? That was an accident (lawsuit by her?) waiting to happen. From the photo, its actually difficult to tell where she ends and the chairs she's in begins!

August 12 2012 at 4:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
keithrico47

My wife was let go after 9 faithful years for not following office protocol.She is 55 and was replaced with a 23 year old for $5 dollars an hr less who didn't need health Ins,they saved about $1200 a month.So much for loyalty.

August 12 2012 at 3:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to keithrico47's comment
doughertyhan

That sucks but sadly if she broke office protocol they had grounds. Sadly most states are at will states so unless you can prove discrimination based on race, gender, religion, or age it is very hard (and yes I have known cases where it was "white" people who were discriminated against).

August 12 2012 at 4:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ragtopdaz

Nice story, but where is the story where some need to be fired for being incompetent???


Its a sad sad day for all Americans when the White House recently installed adult diaper dispensers in all of its rest rooms..
Term limits anyone??? These career politicians need to go to the old politicians home where they can do no more harm to our country, and where people who earn a honest wage(not their $100,00 a year aids) can feed them their strained carrots and peas.

August 12 2012 at 3:26 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
edzackly

#3 Fired for being to hot? Give me a break. That obviously was not the reason

August 12 2012 at 3:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
bonakoski

35 years ago I was an overweight 18 year old who was thrilled to get my first job, because weight discrimination was rampant. 1 year later I was unemployed because my manager didn't like the look of fat girls. I was rarely absent, my register always balanced to the penny, and I was in charge of the record department (Music LPs, singles and 8-tracks). I got along great with the customers and other employees, but I was overweight. My manager disapproved of my weight, and was always telling me to wear something that covered my cleavage better, but the only thing that would have satisfied him was a turtleneck! He finally accused me of shopping on company time (a total fabrication) and fired me. If I knew then what I know now, I would have fought tooth and nail against him, but back then I was fairly naive and just gave up.

August 12 2012 at 2:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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