Here are four things that many employees do on a regular basis that could get them fired. Some may be surprising.
1) Checking Facebook – an employee is required to spend all of their working time working. Shocking I know! Using computers for personal purposes such as checking Facebook, your stock portfolio, or playing minesweeper can be considered time-theft, insubordination or disobedience and can be just cause for dismissal.
2) Questioning the Boss – challenging the boss’s directions, even if their decisions are bone-headed and destined to fail, so long as they aren’t illegal, can be cause for your dismissal. Insubordination is particularly culpable if it is done in front of other employees, since this can seriously undermine the boss’ ability to control the workforce. It is the boss’ company and she or he has the right to run it into the ground if they so choose.
3) Updating your Linkedin Profile/Blogging – if you are using linkedin to try to find a new job, or to take away customers for some private gain, that could be considered competing with your employer and acting against their interests. It will be interesting to see a case make it to the courts over who owns the data in a linkedin account. In general, employees don’t get to take their contact lists when they leave a company. Linkedin and other cloud based electronic devices change the game in this regard. If you blog, do so on your own time or with your employer’s express permission.
4) Bragging in the Interview – everyone talks their best game in the job interview. However, you had better be able to put your money where your mouth is. Courts have held that employees who do not live up to the hype they put out in their job interviews can be terminated for this reason, without notice, in the early stages of the employment. However, after a certain point the employer will be taken to have accepted any such shortcomings, and will be required to provide the requisite notice.
Canadian case law, such as McKinley v. BC Tel,  2 S.C.R. 161, states that each case is circumstance-dependant and must be judged in the context of the entire employment relationship. Discipline imposed by the employer must be proximate to the seriousness of the improper employee behaviour. Further, in most cases warnings must be given along with corrective measures the employee is to take, before such issues can be a proper basis for just cause.