It is common knowledge that chances of getting fired from UPS warehouses are quite low.
This is due, in part, to being protected by the Union and the fact that (some) UPS facilities are in dire need of employees.
That being said terminations do happen at these facilities. Chances of getting fired increase with the severity of the infraction caused.
However, some employees who have been previously fired from UPS Hubs have been reinstated following intervention by the Union.
It is easiest to get terminated from a UPS warehouse during your probation period and before joining the union.
Reasons for termination at UPS
For many work-related offenses, UPS warehouse employees don’t get fired but instead get warnings, intents to suspend, short suspensions, etc. This is referred to as progressive discipline.
It is used by management, whereby, one only gets terminated after too many infractions.
Serious issues that call for immediate termination at UPS are called cardinal infractions. These don’t require prior warning. Examples include: stealing and violence. They are listed in the UPS employee contract.
Some of the reasons that may get an employee written up and/or terminated are:
1. Attendance issues
Some attendance issues may be considered job abandonment, e.g. no call, no shows and leaving too early.
Workers who don’t call out for a few days in a row when they don’t go to work face a higher risk of getting terminated.
2. Fighting and abusive language
Violence and name calling might lead to termination for the offending party. It is advisable to avoid confrontations at the facility as much as possible as they run the risk of leading to verbal abuse or physical assault.
Direct any issues you have with a co-worker to the supervisor.
3. Theft, including time theft
Package theft is a serious offense at UPS Hubs and will lead to immediate termination when caught.
UPS warehouses are equipped with security cameras that are regularly reviewed by asset protection personnel.
Things like tardiness are considered to be time theft and may also lead to getting fired.
4. Drug use
Drug use at work or showing up to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol are grounds for termination.
If there’s a reasonable suspicion of being intoxicated, e.g. having slurred speech or bloodshot eyes, you might be required to take a drug test.
Refusing a drug test can be grounds for getting fired. However, requesting drug counseling before being asked to take a drug test may protect you from being terminated.
The company will pay for your drug rehab through its alcohol and drug program.
Lying to management can get you fired – especially when a manager already knows what the truth is and has evidence and yet catches you in a lie.
It is tempting to lie to your manager, e.g., about an accident involving equipment, but remember there are cameras throughout the facility and you will be found out.
6. After peak season
Seasonal employees are usually let go after peak season (beginning of January) when work runs out.
Good employees get put on a list and may get rehired as part-time employees in February or March.
7. Other reasons for getting fired
Additional reasons that could lead to termination include:
- Buddy punching (clocking in on someone else’s behalf)
- Sexual harassment
What to do when you get fired
As a UPS employee you are allowed to make mistakes – in most cases. When you get fired, there’s still a chance for getting rehired through the following means:
1. Talk to your union steward
Seek your business agent and tell them everything that transpired prior to getting fired. Don’t withhold anything.
If you file a grievance with your steward, you may get a grievance hearing with your union rep and management and if you get reinstated you may get back pay.
File for grievance if you believe that you were wrongly terminated.
2. Get legal advice
If you’ve tried all available channels to get reinstated, have failed and believe you were wrongfully terminated, you might consider calling an attorney and suing for damages.
The union can also provide cost-free legal representation.
3. Get a different job
For some, fighting to keep this job might not feel like it’s worth it.
Believe it or not, you might find better jobs than UPS package-handler if you look around your area.
If you want something similar to UPS that pays more consider checking out this list of curated warehouse jobs for some inspiration.
Rehire policy at UPS
Depending on your specific situation, you can reapply after getting fired and get your job back.
For serious infractions, you may be put in a “no-rehire” list which would thus render you ineligible for getting the job back as shown below from the UPSers.com website.
For a definite and immediate answer, you can contact corporate HR and inquire about your specific circumstance.
Common questions about termination at UPS
How do you know if you’ve been fired?
When management decides to fire you, they send a termination letter.
Do you keep your seniority if you are reinstated?
Yes, if the company rehires you, you will resume your seniority.