Can I Fire an Employee for This?
The reasons for termination of an employee can vary across workplaces, and employers are allowed to have different standards by which they evaluate worker performance and integrity.
Some employee offenses are so serious that a firing is almost the norm. For instance, if there are performance-related issues that an employee is struggling with, a termination of employment may be called for. Performance-related issues may kick in when you expect certain results from an employee, but these are not delivered.
However, even when employees are performing well in the workplace, there are instances in which their behavior is undesirable and therefore, may not fit into your workplace. For instance, when employees gossip excessively about others, it can create a hostile and negative workplace which can affect the productivity of your business. In such cases, you could call attention to such practices, and take disciplinary action if necessary.
In fact, according to one survey, the most frequent causes for employee firings were bad language, workplace gossip, drinking on the job, personal phone calls, loud talk in the office, and leaving the office without informing anybody. Some of these could be construed as minor offenses, but if these happen fairly regularly, and become a matter of habit for an employee, you could be well within your rights to terminate the employee after giving some time for corrective action.
Using abusive language in the workplace is something that many employers do not tolerate, not just because it creates a hostile atmosphere, but also because of the risk of a sexual harassment lawsuit. Using obscene or offensive language or making foul jokes in a diverse workplace is the easiest route to a sexual harassment litigation, and employers would be correct in warning such employees and firing them if corrective action is not taken. Similarly, adopting a racist attitude towards minority employees, or cracking racist jokes, can also threaten the office environment.
Obviously, employees who steal from the workplace or assault another employee or supervisor would be eligible for a firing. Overall, employees can also get fired if they display an inability to gel with their team members, or colleagues, or if they show traits of becoming a negative or toxic influence on other people in the workplace.
These are decisions that are made on a case-by-case basis, and managers and supervisors must make these decisions cautiously.