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Q: Top causes of getting fired among U.S. white-collar employees ( No Answer,   2 Comments )
Subject: Top causes of getting fired among U.S. white-collar employees
Category: Business and Money > Employment
Asked by: ginalita-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 30 Sep 2006 09:19 PDT
Expires: 30 Oct 2006 08:19 PST
Question ID: 769695
What are the top 10 causes of termination among white-collar U.S.
employees (I'm not referring to downsizing/restructuring, but "getting
fired")? Percentages would be helpful; e.g., "The No. 1 cause accounts
for x-percent of firings..."

Request for Question Clarification by tutuzdad-ga on 30 Sep 2006 09:33 PDT
After looking for quite a while I found not statistics broken down
into "top ten" or listed by percentages, however this source says that
the most common reasons for termination, other than issues that
involve misconduct, are:

-- Missing work or coming in late for an unavoidable reason or with
permission from the employer
-- Respectful disagreement with the supervisor 
-- Looking for other work on your own time 
-- Objecting to mistreatment by the employer 
-- Filing for worker's comp or unpaid wages 
-- Accidentally damaging property 
-- Refusing to work on certain days or to perform certain duties due
to religious practices known to the employer
-- Failing to work because of a medical problem 
-- Refusing to do something illegal 
-- Asking for clarification of conflicting orders 
-- Being unpopular with co-workers 
-- Participating in a union 
-- Refusing to submit to a lie detector test 

Unemployment Compensation Claim Information

Does this work for you?


Clarification of Question by ginalita-ga on 30 Sep 2006 11:05 PDT
Thanks for your response. We're getting there -- I looked at the link
you sent, and I don't know that it directly speaks to top reasons for
termination, only examples of non-misconduct. Perhaps I'm more
interested in NON-non-misconduct; i.e., misconduct.

I'm writing a proposal for a book geared toward teaching new college
grads how to "behave" or at least get along in the workplace. In the
proposal, I want to show that the top reasons for getting fired, as
I've heard anecdotally from several employers, are not the things one
would normally expect, such as poor performance. The reasons more
often include things like surfing the Internet on work time, not
fitting in with the dress code, and otherwise not adapting to the
company culture.

So I'm looking for some definitive, national research to verify (or
refute) this hunch. Perhaps the U.S. Chamber of Commerce would know?
Please advise.

Thanks so much for your fast response,

Request for Question Clarification by bobbie7-ga on 30 Sep 2006 11:20 PDT

Would any of these surveys work for you?

Based on data collected by Simply Fired, the top five reasons people
reported getting fired for were:

Inappropriate Behavior / Sexual Harassment 
Casualty of Office Politics 
Job Performance or Attendance 
Bad Luck (aka ?Black Cat? firings) 
Medical Reasons

Top 12 Reasons For Getting Fired
1.	Little interest in getting work done.	(Bad Attitude)
2.	Too many days off work and late starts.	(Bad Attitude)
3.	Lack of loyalty.	(Bad Attitude)
4.	Being impolite to workmates.	(Bad Attitude)
5.	Lack of speed.	 
6.	Not paying attention to detail.	(Bad Attitude)
7.	Not sticking with things until they are done.	(Bad Attitude)
8.	No interest or excitement.	(Bad Attitude)
9.	No pride in speech or appearance. 	(Bad Attitude)
10.	Lack of responsibility.	(Bad Attitude)
11.	Lack of respect for authority.	(Bad Attitude)
12.	Lack of respect for the property of others.	(Bad Attitude

Common Reasons For Getting Fired 

1. Poor performance and/or attendance. 
2. Political reasons.
3. Your job is eliminated. 
4. Inappropriate behavior. 
?This is potentially a very long list but common reasons include:
lying, stealing from the company, sexual harassment, having an office
affair with a co-worker, using company resources for personal reasons,
using your work Internet connection to view objectionable/illegal
content or simply excessively using the Internet for personal reasons
if your company has a policy against it. The list is really endless
and the final result might depend on the severity and degree of the
behavior and how forgiving your employer is.?
5. Corporate downsizing. 
6. Your contract runs out and it isn?t renewed. 
7. Personality clashes. 
8. For no reason at all

Request for Question Clarification by bobbie7-ga on 30 Sep 2006 11:27 PDT
Sorry about the typo.
It should be "ginalita"

Clarification of Question by ginalita-ga on 30 Sep 2006 11:37 PDT
Dear bobbie7-ga,

Thanks for your response and clarification on ginalita. I think I
could make these surveys work, but I have to ask, what is How
would I cite this information if using it in my proposal; e.g.,
"According to ..... " Is it a commercial source? Government? The more
prominent and objective the source, and the less commercial, the
better. I wonder now about the Bureau of Labor Statistics (,
if they would have anything? Also, the information should be specific
to white-collar workers, if possible.

Thanks again,

Request for Question Clarification by bobbie7-ga on 30 Sep 2006 11:51 PDT
Dear Ginalita, is the Canadian National Adult Literacy Database.

About Nald

I'll let you know if I find anything on


Request for Question Clarification by bobbie7-ga on 30 Sep 2006 11:59 PDT
Hello again Ginalita,

I believe I found a good source of information at the follwing link.
TAble 3 and Table 18

Please let me know if this would be  satisfactory and I will post it
as the official answer.

Thank you,


Clarification of Question by ginalita-ga on 30 Sep 2006 12:06 PDT
Dear Bobbie7:

Thanks for the try -- I need to find top causes for United States
white-collar employees getting fired -- layoffs, downsizing,
restructuring, etc. don't count, as those operate by a different
dynamic. As you'll see below I'm researching this topic for use in a
book proposal. I do like the idea of using an authoritative source
like the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Please let me know if I missed
something in the document you sent.

Best regards,
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Top causes of getting fired among U.S. white-collar employees
From: czh-ga on 30 Sep 2006 11:18 PDT
Here's an online survey compiled by Fast Company.

Q: What is your most frequent reason for firing an employee?
Current Results (463 votes counted so far)

Job aptitude : 21%
Work attitude : 31%
Fit with colleagues : 22%
Other : 24%

This online poll question was first compiled on Mon 16th May 2005.
Subject: Re: Top causes of getting fired among U.S. white-collar employees
From: neilzero-ga on 02 Oct 2006 03:27 PDT
When you fire a person, you want low probability of an appeal and near
zero probability of a sucessful appeal, so you search the list of
sucessful reasons for firing people, and pick the one most applicable
or believabale. Although you likely have multiple reasons, you only
give one, often not the most important reason.
From my observation: The usual real reasons are a combination of 1
require excessive supervision 2 knowing things that arn't so 3 poor
judgement 4 disrespectful of customers 4 accident prone 5 Failure to
grasp the big picture of the job objectives 6 Unwilling to lie to
protect a co-worker's (or bosses) error 7 not a team player. Some
variations of 2 are: think you know better than the boss or his
appointed mentor. Argue and debate. Purform the task differently after
you agree that you will follow instructions = Even when results are
good there is fearful anticipation of disaster the next time you
choose your way instead of the "proper way".   Neil

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