Can You Get Terminated for Disrupting the Workplace?

If you've worked in an office for more than a few minutes, you've likely encountered a disruptive employee who quickly gets under your skin. Or, perhaps, you're the one who's occasionally disruptive. Sometimes, a disruptive employee gets under the boss's skin, which can often lead to her termination. Disrupting the workplace takes many forms, but is a just cause for dismissal.

Disruptive Employee

Many workplaces have at least one disruptive employee who manages to grate on the nerves of those around her on a daily basis. The degrees and types of disruption can vary significantly; common traits include arriving late, talking loudly, conducting personal business at work, leaving early and generally distracting other employees from completing their work. Although workplaces can occasionally get loud, a disruptive employee is someone who generally disobeys the rules on a consistent basis.

Discipline

Although being disruptive in the workplace is a just cause for termination, many companies have discipline strategies in place to deal with varying degrees of disruption. For example, while talking loudly might be disruptive, an employee is unlikely to be terminated on the spot for such an offense. Instead, she might receive such lesser discipline as verbal and written warnings, followed by a day off without pay. If the problem persists, the company might terminate her.

Examples

Businesses choose to terminate employees for a long list of reasons. Although reasons are commonly related to the employee's poor performance, human resources firm TribeHR reports that many other common reasons relate to disruptive activities. Such examples include lying, complaining about your job, causing problems with co-workers, breaking the company's policies concerning the Internet and email, failing to show up or being late, harassing colleagues and even being drunk on the job.

Harassment

Harassment, sexual or otherwise, is a type of disruptive behavior of which many women find themselves a target. Harassment in any form is typically a cause for termination. If you are the target of harassment, Equal Rights Advocates recommends being firm with the perpetrator, writing down a summary of the harassment and reporting the incident to your manager or human resources rep. Sexual harassment is prohibited by law and once you report it, your company's management must deal with it.