Chick-Fil-A Aside, What Can You Be Fired For?
Despite its owner's very publically stated stance on gay marriage, Chick-fil-A says it won't fire you for being gay.
According to the official statement on their Facebook site, "The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 Restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena."
Still, there are plenty of states where it is legal to fire someone based on sexual orientation, as this interactive map shows. We wondered: What other surprising issues could get you axed?
Posting about colleagues — or worse, higher-ups — on Facebook has proven to be risky business. People have even gotten fired for "liking" a coworker's Facebook comment. "Employees who don’t work for the government and aren’t in a union can be fired or punished for almost anything they say, wherever they say it," writes Josh Eidelson for Slate.
It's been argued that posting on Facebook falls under a protection in the National Labor Relations Act, of workers’ right to engage in “concerted activities” for “mutual aid or protection,” but that hasn't won too many jobs back.
How about working through lunch? A Chicago woman was fired for that. "Because, for people who are paid by the hour, working through lunch is a violation of federal law," explains Suzanne Lucas for CBS News. "The problem isn't typing with one hand while holding a sandwich in the other hand — it's a problem of doing unpaid labor."
Getting fired for smoking is one thing, but what about smelling like smoke? It happened to a Minnesota woman. Six weeks after beginning a job as a receptionist, she says her supervisor told her, "We don't want you smelling like smoke when you come here," according to the local ABC affiliate. If employees believe tobacco — even the smell of it — is creating an occupation-related hazard, they can restrict legal activities outside of work.
"Basically your rights as a a smoker end where other people's noses begin," Chuck Samuelson of the American Civil Liberties Union told the news station.
Even a disapproving look can cost you a job, in certain contexts. When a Bay Area yoga teacher glared at a student using a smart phone after she'd asked the class to turn off their devices, she received a termination notice. In the end, the yoga teacher realized that teaching in corporate settings — where turning off cell phones may not always be possible — was not a good fit. That's the lesson here, blogs Ask a Manager: "If there are differences, you need to surface them and figure out if they can be resolved. If they can’t, you either accept that the employer — who’s paying for the work — has the final word, or you find another job."