People make mistakes, and as a manager, it’s important to be forgiving, to manage conflict and resolve personnel issues, and to help team members learn to be better at their jobs. But some employees are so shockingly harmful to the company that they should be fired immediately.

Firing an employee is never an enjoyable experience, but it can be inevitable. An employer can fire an employee at any time and for any reason or no reason at all, but there are some important exceptions to the at-will rule. In recent years, the courts have become more pro-employee which makes the firing of incompetent employees very difficult.

So what types of employees should get the book immediately?

1. Perpetually Late

Everyone’s late once in a while, and employers should be understanding of that fact. Some employees are able to have a flexible schedule, and that works for the employee and the company. But that’s not what we’re looking at here. Employees who are late for every meeting, who don’t show up for work on time when they need to, or who deliver their work after deadlines are a problem for any company.

Managers should take the time to counsel these employees and find out if there’s a fixable problem that’s causing their delays, but if they’re unresponsive, they have to go.

2. Toxic For Others

Employees who poison the well for other team members are a huge problem. There are a number of ways this can happen; people can be habitual gossips, start fights for no reason, or just be rude or negative at every team meeting, undermining management and the overall mood of the team.

Again, managers should try to figure out what’s behind this behavior, but if this is simply a person’s personality, they’re not going to be a good fit for a team.

3. Searching For Opportunities To Sue

Some employees walk on the job and start looking for an opportunity to sue the company. Even though the employees cannot be legally dismissed for making a claim against their employer, however this could open a door for other employees to create similar claims. They may immediately start making medical claims or argue that their needs aren’t being met in some way. These employees are going to end up costing companies money, one way or another.

Employers do need to be careful; new employees may be raising valid concerns about hostile work environments, racist attitudes, or a refusal to provide appropriate accommodations for recognized disabilities. But some employees are just out to play a game of “gotcha,” and they’re of no use to an employer.

4. Violated Company Policy

It should be obvious, but if an employee has violated company policy in a serious way, they have to be let go. This isn’t about occasionally misunderstanding the dress code or showing up for late once or twice, but employees who don’t protect company data appropriately, who misuse company funds, or who create a toxic work environment should be subject to zero tolerance.

This can be especially true of those who manage others; team members will quickly adapt to their manager’s leadership – and that can be dangerous for a business when the manager is offering a bad example.

5. Gross Incompetence

Some employees lack sufficient training to understand their job and complete it properly. Some employees have recognized learning disabilities or learn better in different ways than typical training. Some employees are just always doing okay at their job, never excelling or providing a good example to their team. All of these are training issues that can and should be addressed.

Some employees, however, show gross incompetence at the job. Sometimes this is willful and sometimes it’s just an example of a poor fit, but either way, companies need to get rid of these employees. There can be a temptation to keep them on – after all companies are well aware of the cost of onboarding new employees. But contrast that with the lost income created by an employee who not only can’t do their job, but who actively harms the team and the overall mission; firing them makes the most sense.

6. Refuses To Accept Responsibility

One of the most dangerous kinds of employees to have in a business is the team member who refuses to accept responsibility for what they do wrong. No employee is perfect and everyone screws up once in a while; employees need to be willing to accept their mistakes and learn to do better. They also need to be able to hear criticism without taking it as a personal attack.

Employees who always pass the blame on to someone or something else are dangerous for a business because they absolutely will repeat their mistakes. It’s important to understand that some employees become defensive in this way through fear that they’re going to get fired; employers and managers should make sure the employee understands that the first step in rectifying the mistake will probably be additional training or conversation. But if the employee is unresponsive, or the pattern of behavior continues, getting rid of the employee is the right next step.

In business, many kinds of personalities can be tolerated; sometimes even moving an employee from one department to another can alleviate certain problems and issues. But some employees are simply too dangerous to a company’s bottom line to have around. Those employees need to be removed immediately from their positions.