Cigarette breaks can get you fired - so can a bowl of candy on your desk, or a framed picture of you and your buddies skydiving last summer.
Paul Secunda teaches law at the University of Mississippi, and he says your employer can’t fire you because of your race, gender, religion, or national origin. But your activities – even the ones you do off-the-clock - can definitely be grounds for dismissal. That’s because most workers are “at-will employees.” Legally speaking, that means your employer can let you go at any time for almost any reason. And the high cost of insurance is causing a lot of companies to boot people who smoke, are overweight, or won’t give up dangerous hobbies, like sky-diving or bungee-jumping. Here are a few more things that can get you a pink slip:
Your online activities. We’re not just talking about your party pictures on Facebook. Legal expert Robin Bond says that, in most states, your employer can let you go for just mentioning your company’s name in a blog.
Your private life can get you fired, too. Experts say that you can be handed a pink slip for any behavior your boss considers unprofessional, immoral, or unethical, like, you post a picture of yourself holding a beer, and they frown on drinking.
It’s also common for workers to be fired if your behavior doesn’t fit your industry. That means, if you’re a dietician with a drawer full of junk food, or a bank teller who bounces checks, you can be sent packing.
So, how do you protect yourself? Rick Bales is a professor at Northern Kentucky University's Chase College of Law. And he says you should study your company’s policies and culture. Then, avoid doing anything that would reflect poorly on your employer if it was printed on the front page of your local paper.