We’ve all had to deal with difficult coworkers. You can bring it up with HR and if you’re lucky they’ll listen. We’ve compiled stories of people being a hazard to themselves and others at the workplace. Buckle up for the ride you’re about to experience because these stories have it all — outrage, shock, and even amusement.
1. Don’t Mess With It
I went to HR to report that my team's manager was illegally shorting all of our paychecks. HR's response was to adopt a new, company-wide policy addressing the paycheck issue and back-paying most people for a certain amount, and also to frame me for work avoidance.
HR and IT disabled part of my login account to a tool we used, and then fired me a few months later after failing to fix the problem and allowing me to actually do my job.
They tried to deny my unemployment claim afterward. Told the unemployment rep that they "had logs" showing that I did something to break the tool I don't even have access to break in the first place.
They also didn't think to disable my email access in a timely manner, so I was able to back up all my emails with IT documenting exactly what went down. Unemployment approved my claim and hit them with a major penalty to their insurance.
2. Excel’s Not For Everyone
Overall I've been able to get along with HR departments with one exception. I was working a help desk job for a company during college and the head of HR called in for help. He was making an Excel spreadsheet and couldn't figure out how to make a formula do what he wanted.
I offered to come take a look as we were in the same building and he told me I couldn't because the spreadsheet was full of confidential information. So I asked if he could describe what exactly he was trying to do without giving away any specific info, and he told me that what he was trying to do was confidential.
So I clarified that he wanted me to tell him how to do something but I couldn't see it and he wouldn't even tell me what it was he was trying to do. At that point, he agreed that I wouldn't be able to assist him since he couldn't divulge anything. As soon as we hung up he called my boss to complain that I was useless.
3. Avoidance At All Costs
I am on the HR team that supports a wide variety of US cities for our company, including our colorful Florida locations. This is the best story I heard.
We had some woman trying to avoid doing work by sitting out in her car in the parking lot. While she was hiding out there, she needed to use the restroom. Well, instead of going back inside (or doing literally anything else) she decides to pee out her car window.
Even though I am also a woman, I was impressed and disgusted by the physics behind this feat. She had stuck her bare behind outside the window and just went for it. Unbeknownst to her, her male co-worker had arrived at work late due to an appointment.
He drove past to find a parking spot as this was happening and got a full view. He then reported the incident to us.
One of our HR people had to investigate this, and sure enough, parking lot cameras could corroborate his story. Our HR person confronted the woman. Her response: "Well how did he know it was me?? It could have been anyone." We thought, ok fair enough. The cameras aren't CSI-grade zoom, so we only saw the butt part. It was harder to completely identify the face. So we went back to the male peer and asked how he knew it was her. His response?
"Oh, it was definitely her. The face tattoos are pretty recognizable."
We definitely don't get paid enough for this.
4. Ready To Burn
A few years ago I was a kitchen manager at a place in Charlotte, NC. I don't know if it is common knowledge or not, but substance use in kitchens is very common, and most of the time accepted. That being said, I had a line cook who had come in, tweaked out on cocaine. He came to me and explained the situation, apologized and asked if he could run somewhere and come in a little later in "better shape." It was slow, and most of the prep was done so I said he could have an extra hour.
He came back 45 minutes later and calmed down, stopped shaking, and had a grin on his face. He was one of my better line cooks, so I was glad to see that I didn't have to reprimand him.
We begin the dinner service and everything is running smoothly when I look across the line and he begins to look as if he's falling asleep while working the grill. He assured me that he was fine.
Fifteen minutes go by and I see him collapse, landing with his face and arm on the grill, HE DIDN'T EVEN WAKE UP. I ran across the kitchen and pushed him off, his skin literally melted to the grill. As he hits the ground, he wakes up and simply says "Goddamnit! Chef, may I go to the hospital?"
The smell was horrific. At 7 PM on a Friday night, we closed the restaurant, opened all the doors and windows, and cleaned up the mess. (We bought new plates for the grill, don't worry). As I'm doing my order for the next day around 10 PM, he comes back in, bandages up, and says "Chef, can I help with anything?"
Astonished, I couldn't reply. And he continued to explain that he went to his dealer's house and got a "ton of oxycontin" and snorted it so he could calm down and just nodded out. "But it's okay they gave me morphine so I can still work, and I'm an idiot so don't worry about workers comp, I just want to still have a job."
Two weeks later he returned to work, sober, and hasn't touched a drug or had a drink since. I arranged so that his hospital bills were paid, but he had no paid time off. One of the best employees and craziest people I will ever meet.
5. Good Cop, Bad Cop
I was pulled into a meeting with two HR reps in the middle of my shift. I was taken to this really nice boardroom, which was confusing because I was just a grunt and this is literally floors above where I should ever be.
They sat me down and said basically, “What do you have to say for yourself.” I, still confused, tell them I have no idea what they're talking about. Everyone is really quiet and serious and I'm scared and white as a sheet. And they say you know what you did, this is cause for termination, blah blah.
I'm literally thinking this is really excessive for being a few minutes late sometimes. I insist I don't know what's going on. One of them, maybe realized something was wrong, flips open a file and says you're xx right?
Turns out they got me mixed up with someone else who has the same name. On the elevator ride down by myself I was still sweating. Don't know what that other person did but man, HR does not play.
6. Full of... Surprises
I worked at a new Fry's that opened in my old town a number of years back. It was pretty bad initially and they really overworked employees.
The turnover was huge and later a suit was filed against this specific Fry's. In any case, when I started there was a blonde woman who I forget her name now, let's call her Beth. Beth was overly enthusiastic to the point of being incredibly annoying to any and every employee/customer.
Beth was apparently also a pathological liar and frequently left her shifts early to do God knows what…
When she was fired, she came back with a nice, purple present. All wrapped up with a white bow and everything. It was meant to be an apology to the manager, but she quickly dropped it off and took off saying she was busy.
It smelled like it had been doused in a gallon of perfume, but she seemed half crazed so whatever. The manager of her department at the time took it and opened it near the registers. We couldn’t believe what we were looking at.
Inside was a lump of poop. She pooped in a box and gave it to her manager.
As a gift of course...
7. New Phones, New Drama
I asked my boss for a desk phone with a speakerphone function because sometimes I need it at work to conference people on the phone with people in my office. We had these old, yellow phones. So he told me to make a request to him and CC our office manager, and he'd send it to the HR department of our region via e-mail.
So I put forth a nice e-mail outlining what I am requesting, and why I need it for HR's request. My office manager replies all and asks HR "Per lazarus870 request, should I order the phone through the same channels I have used before or is there a new policy?"
HR responded livid. She demanded to know why I needed this phone (it was in the e-mail...) and then accused my office manager of going behind HR's back in ordering phones without approval.
My office manager told my boss, who called HR and chewed her out and I could hear yelling. My boss came out of his office and yelled at me, "See what you've caused?!" He was fired up but I know he didn't mean anything malicious by it. I just laughed.
HR had to apologize to the office manager for the accusations. Turns out, after everybody yelled their freaking lungs out for an hour, the speakerphone I needed was literally free and we had boxes of them in storage. I had it for a month before HR rolled out new fancy phones that were actually expensive and convoluted, requiring training to set up and use.
At the company picnic, we had to wear freaking nametags and I had never met the HR lady face to face and she came up and said, "Oh we haven't met, what's your name?" and I was trying to hide my name tag but she read it and didn't seem happy to see me.
I work as a supervisor in a drugstore. One night one of my employees was seen just letting someone walk out with hundreds of dollars of merchandise. A few minutes later he went outside to collect the shopping carts. I'm reviewing the video evidence of this happening at the time, and on the phone with my store manager.
The employee was outside for a pretty decent amount of time. I hadn't noticed right away because I was busy collecting the evidence, but my other cashier called me up and told me that he still hadn't come back in, 15 minutes later. As I walked downstairs, he came back inside with one shopping cart and the guy was high as a kite.
Because I am not a store manager, my hands are rather tied as far as what I am able to do at the time, so I just send him home and keep someone else for the rest of the night.
The employee called me later (I happened to be best friends with his sister) and he started talking about how he hates snitches and that people should just leave other people alone. He was rambling on and on.
The next day the loss prevention manager was there, as well as my manager. The employee was terminated. It turned out that he would let his friends walk out with baskets of merchandise without scanning it. Then he would go to collect carts and they would give him meth in payment for all the stuff.
He thought he had this master plan, and that he was sticking it to the man. It was really sad to see. Since then, the employee has been incarcerated and successfully completed rehab. I am glad to say that he is doing so much better now, and has apologized profusely about the entire incident.
9. Gotta Burn It To The Ground
HR hired consultants to run morale building employee input sessions. Basically saying "We're not from the company. You can tell us all the things you don't like about working here and would like to see changes and we'll put it all into a report for management.
Don't worry, everything is anonymous, we just need material for our report and you guys get to have your say in improving things around here."
Turns out HR and the consultants recorded all the sessions and played the highlights for management.
People were disciplined for criticizing the company or their immediate superiors and any shred of faith or trust in management that the employees may have had was instantly incinerated.
Managers now complain that they don't know what's going on in their teams because nobody tells them anything. I wonder why.
10. Illegal Tactics
Co-worker accidentally backed his company truck into my personal car while it was parked. He alerted me and our local manager immediately, we took photos, filled out the incident report, yada yada yada.
Everyone in our office was in agreement about what happened, that it was an honest accident and the company's insurance should cover the cost of fixing my car.
Then the HR director got involved. First he tried to get me to assume liability since it was my personal vehicle that "caused" the accident. My car was parked in the parking lot and I was inside at my desk when it happened.
When I pointed this out he backed down and said he would file the claim.
Next I got a call from a hostile insurance adjuster from my company's insurance demanding that I provide my insurance information or they would be pursuing legal action. It turns out the HR director had filed the claim saying that I had run into the parked work truck with my car and tried to flee the scene but was witnessed by a co-worker who reported me.
I informed the adjuster what had actually happened and emailed her the photos and signed incident reports and witness statements that we had filled out and she changed her tune pretty quickly and said she would get back to me.
The next day I got a "settlement agreement" from HR asking me to accept $1100 for repairs and to sign a form releasing the company from any further responsibility. I had only just dropped my car off at the body shop and hadn't even gotten the estimate back yet.
I declined and was told that I either had to accept their offer or be out of luck.
At this point I reached out to my own insurance and told them what had happened. As I went through the sequence of events I could hear my agent getting almost giddy about all the blatantly illegal tactics HR had tried on me.
In the end they processed my claim and pursued my own company's insurance through subrogation. He also mentioned that they would probably be seeking additional damages due to falsification of statements in the initial claim. Don't mess with USA.
In the end the damage ended up costing over $4,000 to fix but I didn't have to pay a cent, not even my deductible. I don't know if the HR director experienced any consequences, but there was a comment in our finance VP's year end report about needing to "reduce extraneous costs due to reporting delays and inaccuracies in liability claims."
11. The Audacity
I was sitting in the HR office with one of the members of HR. I was waiting on her to finish a form so that we could go eat lunch. Suddenly, this guy comes in, he was a young temp employee and had only been there a week or so, and says he has something he needs to talk about.
I start to get up to leave when he blurts out that he doesn't like that fact that there are so many gays and lesbians working in the company.
Once he says that I sit right back down. The HR employee asks him to clarify and he goes on about how his trainer was gay and his team lead is gay and his manager is a lesbian (all true) and he doesn't feel comfortable working around all these gays and lesbians.
The HR employee asks him if anyone has ever touched him, which he says they haven't. She then says 'So you want me to fire these employees, strictly based on their orientation, just so you don't feel uncomfortable?'
He says yes, after which she tells him to leave the office. She then calls in his manager and talks with her about it, he ends up quitting by the end of the week.
12. Do You Even Like Something?
I work in a dog grooming salon. My coworker "A" is a self-professed "cat person". She doesn't like our customers, she doesn't like most dogs. She complains if she's booked dogs, she complains if she isn't booked dogs. She somehow never managed to commission, and complains about that too.
She never helps clean, and when I close with her she will disappear because at 8:30pm apparently she has to take a twenty minute poop in the bathroom. She claims to be allergic to most foods but still eats McDonalds and Burger King.
She allegedly has Celiac's disease but has never been tested. She also is allergic to cats, flowers, latex, almost anything.
Despite claiming to be an avid Gardener the one time a coworker got flowers she insisted they be removed from our work area because she was allergic. Same when another coworker received balloons.
She has said on more than one occasion she likes to find out people's weaknesses and pick at them. One of my coworker's lives with her in-laws as both of them have student debt they are very close to paying off.
“A” will constantly add small digs at her like "Not that you would know, it's not like you have to pay rent or a mortgage like real adults."
Everyone complains about her but our one manager has worked with her since the beginning and clearly doesn't feel comfortable talking to her, and our other manager is bffs with her husband.
She is good at her job, and even deals with difficult dogs well. She just has such a crappy personality and is so negative about everything.
The HR/Payroll manager at a small hospital I worked at had a bad habit of not paying out the sign on bonus that was paid out incrementally in three payments through the course of a year and sign on bonuses for picking up extra shifts.
After repeated requests to be belatedly compensated, I took it to corporate who addressed my issue immediately.
A couple weeks later, I was terminated on what amounted to a technicality where I forgot my badge one shift and my relief was to take over sitting with a patient, causing me to receive more points against me than if I had called out for that shift.
When I was called in to receive my notification, the director of nursing was shocked but ultimately not much she could do.
14. Travel Privileges
Quite a few years ago, my boss left our office in Washington DC and went to Florida on a company-paid business trip — a publishers' meeting was taking place near Tampa. It happened to be spring time, which is when baseball's spring training takes place.
The second morning after my boss was away, the Washington Post published a photo on the front of the sports section showing a line of fans waiting to get autographs from Cal Ripken. Who's first in line? My boss.
Later that day, I was in the office of my boss's boss with two other guys when my boss called in. The head dude puts him on the speakerphone. The conference is going well, he says. He's meeting lots of good business contacts that should promote sales, he says.
The meetings are running long and a little boring, but he's keeping up with them, he says.
He gets back two days later and gets his company travel privileges suspended for two years.
15. Why Not Change Strategy?
At my last "real" job before striking out on my own, I had an exit interview with the HR lady. Who was actually just someone who was friends with the company president who was filling in because the actual HR lady with a degree in HR and everything quit.
A lot of people at this place quit. It was a terrible place to work with out of touch management and delusions of grandeur limping along building websites for a business niche that was mostly old people who thought the Internet was magic.
During the exit interview she asked why I was leaving. I told her I liked my coworkers a lot, but hated the company. She got this exasperated look and got genuinely upset, and told me that she'd been getting that same line from everybody else who quit and had their exit interview recently.
It boggles my mind that they could hear the same thing over and over again from so many people putting in their time until they could go on to something better and not stop to think they should change something.
16. Privacy Breach
I don’t work in HR but I do have a nightmare HR story. When I was on my gap year I worked a part time job as a fitness instructor at a leisure center. One of my coworkers, call him Bill, was a nice guy and I would often sit and chat to him on my breaks etc. He had a long term GF and baby at home.
As part of my job I used to teach spinning classes on a fairly regular basis. I would normally leave my phone in the staff room while I was teaching, or behind the reception desk. Both these places were secure and my phone had a passcode on it.
I didn’t want it going off while I was teaching because when it received calls/texts it interfered with the stereo in the spin studio. I didn’t have a locker or anything where I could store it.
Sometime around January I was at uni for an interview weekend. My girlfriend at the time had come to pick me up and while she was waiting in the car, she was scrolling through my messages on my iPad. When I got in the car she showed me one of my chats and said why did you send this video to Bill?
I had no recollection of sending any videos to Bill, since I did not speak to him outside of work beyond “I’m going to be late” or similar.
I thought it was a mistake but as I scrolled further back up I saw that “I” had sent this same video to Bill a couple of weeks prior. Feeling thoroughly perplexed, I clicked into the video and saw it was a video of me (20F) and my girlfriend (26F) on holiday in Thailand.
I’d like to stress that it was not an explicit video, we were just joking around but we had just got out of the shower and were both naked.
At this point I’m still thinking it’s some kind of big mistake as Bill is a nice guy with a baby at home. However, I look a little closer and realize that the dates / times of when “I” had sent these videos was at times I was teaching spin classes and therefore had left my phone unattended.
Bill, being the sicko he was, had obviously seen me put my passcode into my phone during all the times we had been sitting chatting on breaks etc. and had memorized it. He had then taken the opportunity to scroll through all my personal photos and videos when I had left my phone unattended to go and teach classes.
I’m assuming that he had deleted the video once, hence why he had sent it to himself again a couple of weeks later. He’d also deleted the chat history from my iPhone but hadn’t realized it synced to my iPad (this was in around 2012 btw).
I would only have been about 18/19 at the time when the videos were taken.
Obviously I reported this to my manager and to HR but it was a bit of a minefield for them to navigate. I don’t know what he told them but I imagine it was along the lines of saying I sent them to him of my own free will, how would he have known my password etc.
It took a long while to get sorted but in the end he did get sacked, thankfully. The police also paid him a visit so I’m sure he had some explaining to do to his SO.
17. Hysterical Laughs
We had an office survey. I put in some honest opinions of a member of my team. They were fair and honest criticisms of a system which was not working as designed. I had little contact with the system, but the whole thing seemed reasonable to me.
I was, in effect, demoted for this — a position was created above me and a colleague who was my equal was to be my manager (position did not exist before). This happened the same week my husband died and the management felt like crap because of the timing.
But still, on my return to work, I was basically called out for criticizing the same system in a whole company meeting and it was explained how X system should and did work and anyone who thought it didn't work was stupid.
Cut to 2 years later. Person above me quit (partly because they're scared to tell the company that anything's gone wrong because of how I was treated) and they have to promote me to that position because it now exists according to the rules and I'm the only one who can do it.
Again, in a whole company meeting, they admit "X system isn't working and we're having a consultation to find out why" I laughed. I couldn't help it. I had to leave the room before it turned into hysteria.
18. To Be Or Not To Be?
I was working at Git-fiddle Center right out of high school. The turnover rate at a store like that is pretty high, if I remember correctly I saw 70 new hires in the 2 years I worked there. One guy we hired lasted less than a day.
He was introduced to everyone, but on that day every register was occupied. So he was sent into our warehouse to help them do stocking and to learn the computer system. However, as I found out later, it was pretty evident that he was at the very least functionally illiterate.
So the warehouse manager gave the guy an x-acto knife and had him go bust down cardboard boxes. However, after about an hour or so, he couldn't be found. The events that follow I was not directly witness to, just told about after the fact.
After searching for this man for a while, he was discovered sitting in a pile of gig bags at the top of one of the warehouse shelves (about 15 feet off the ground) singing softly to himself, smiling broadly, with tears on his face. And with a knife on his wrists.
From where I was, all I knew was that the GM and a couple of the AMs got paged to the warehouse, and soon after we heard sirens in our parking lot. The GM, a guy with a bit of a temper, was heard yelling VERY loudly in his office right afterward, though who he was yelling at, I don't know. Never saw that kid again.
19. Medication? Not For Me
Currently working with a person who has had a sinus infection since November 2016. That's right: wet, chunky coughs, 9 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 10 months.
No she does not leave the team area for coughing attacks, she just retches up whatever it is and gulps it back down. 10 months of that in a quiet office.
She is one of those old people who doesn't believe in going to the doctor again if what they gave you the first time didn't work (and won't go to the doctor until they've been sick for weeks).
The crazy thing is that our workplace is very flexible with working from home for people with health issues but she insists on coming to the office to make disturbing noises all day in the middle of everyone. I hate her so much at this point.
The work canteen was far too small for everyone to use, besides it was kind of the territory of the shop floor workers anyway. This meant us office folk ate at our desks.
Unfortunately for one horrible year I was sat next to this guy that clearly never was told to keep his mouth shut when chewing. It was like a pig at a trough. It turned my stomach so every time his lunch box came out, I had to retreat down to the car park across the road and sit in my car.
To make matters worse when he wasn't eating, there was a constant waft of B.O. from his direction. Some days it was mingled with Lynx as I actually think he believed in the "shower in a can" nonsense.
21. Save Us from Bob
Bob (not his real name), oh god Bob (not his real name). Bob lasted two weeks, which was about two weeks longer than he should have.
During orientation, he challenged me on several of our rules, many of them having to do with Health and Safety. He did not want to wear eye protection, or closed-toed shoes since it was "too hot" in our climate controlled manufacturing plant.
He wore a bluetooth headset which he proceeded to answer several times through orientation and when informed that personal cell phones use was only permitted during scheduled breaks he informed me that he was conducting "business" and needed it.
This was when I decided Bob needed to go, however HR and the Company president also needed to sign off on it and after three hours decided I had not given him a fair shake.
Bob was untrainable. He had one job to do, balance material in a centrifuge and make sure it was draining. We had charts posted outlining how many of what to put in and how to arrange things. So after working with him a day showing him and overseeing his arrangement and balance I was satisfied that I could leave him unattended for 5 minutes while I grabbed a washroom break.
I was dead wrong. I start to hear the clanking of metal on metal and run back to shut down the machine to find that it was not loaded or balanced properly, when asked why he loaded it against regulation he said "It takes too long to arrange everything".
Still, nobody wants to get rid of him except me.
So as the GM of a manufacturing plant I spent the next week with Bob babysitting him as he loaded a centrifuge until I finally had to leave him to do my actual job. In under a half hour, from improper loading he had damaged the machine.
While I was setting up the back up, I instructed him to go to the boardroom to review the loading charts and that I would call him back when I was finished.
About 20 minutes later, I went to the board room — no Bob. There is nobody in the Men’s room. As I am walking back to my production floor I notice that there is somebody in the president's office. This is pretty strange since the president is out of the office that day and the only two people who are permitted in the office are myself and the office manager.
Wouldn't you know it just down the hall the office manager is happily chugging away at some reports in her office. So I go in, only to reveal a scene that could only be described as an outer body experience. Bob was watching some of the most depraved Spanish porn on the president's computer.
While I didn't have the power to, I terminated him on the spot and cleared it with HR and the President later (who, after a quick viewing of his browser history, agreed that it was justified). Apparently Bob didn't know how to browse incognito.
Bob has since filed a case with HRSDC for wrongful dismissal.
22. Karma? Where Are You?
I worked at a Starbucks. After 1.5 years of solid barista work, I got promoted to shift supervisor, so I had to move to a different store. I arrived on my first day there (just orientation to introduce myself to everyone and take a couple online training sessions), I reached out my hand to meet Maggie.
The manager informed me that Maggie was their best barista and "owned the morning rush." Maggie grunted at me and didn't shake my hand. OK, maybe she had a rough day.
A couple days later, she refuses to make eye contact with me. This job requires good and constant communication, but Maggie refused to talk to me, causing several orders to get messed up or unfilled. After her shift was over, I took her aside and apologized. She screamed "AUuUUGHH!" and stormed out the door, raging.
I asked a coworker what Maggie's deal was. I learned the back story that the manager thinks of her as a daughter, has strong favoritism towards Maggie, assumes Maggie is the only person who can handle any task, but had refused to promote her to shift supervisor.
She had been gunning for the vacant position, then I got it, so she resented me.
I had some empathy for Maggie at this point. A year of working with her, the empathy vanished. Sure, Maggie got a lot thrown at her, but she refused to perform her tasks well. She didn't show up for shifts if the weather was bad.
Oh, also this "owning the morning shift" thing — she constantly screamed at customers or was very curt with them, then would insist that they "like being talked to that way.
They know I'm kidding." On more than one occasion, a customer would come over to me and say how nice it was when Maggie wasn't there because no one was yelling. She'd deliberately do things poorly, then turn around and say she was the only person who could do them.
It became clear that it was Maggie herself who had demanded all these extra tasks.
This all came to a head one day. As her supervisor, I was explaining that I really value good communication and needed her to vocally confirm drink orders. I have the exact same expectations for all other staff and for myself. She had about 5 inches and 30 pounds on me. She lunged at me, red-faced, screaming that she was going to hurt me if I didn't stop "getting in her face."
When I told the boss, she said that Maggie was the best barista in the store, she "owns the morning shift", and I just need to listen to her. I said, "So I'm her supervisor, but I am supposed to take orders from her?"
Boss says it's just easier that way (side note: worst boss I ever had. A different story altogether, though). I consulted with my old boss back before the promotion who said I should objectively document every incident I have with her, keep emotions out of it, and share the journal with my manager and district manager.
So I did that. I explained to my boss that I have journals explaining everything that happened. She said "Ok, we obviously need to discuss this. Come in tomorrow at X time and we will hear you out." I show up and Maggie walks out, looking very smug. I go in and start sharing my part with the store and district managers.
They stop me and say that they aren't interested in hearing it. They've heard enough and trust Maggie's side of the story.
I went home and applied to grad school programs. In a terrifying turn of events, Maggie is now a cop.
23. Good Management Saves The Day
The company I work for does anonymous surveys every year. My first 2 years I was under this horrible manager and in a terrible department. While the surveys were anonymous they were broken down per manager which is fine but my manager had 3 people under him and it was easy to determine who was who.
At a department meeting the associate director said "if the person who isn't happy wants to say something now is the time or we will just move on".
30 people were in that room and most of them looked at me. It was so really embarrassing.
My manager used to make me use an Excel sheet to track everything I did and he would look over it during our weekly one on ones and he would often say there is 20 mins of your day not accounted for.
I was probably pooping or talking to someone but I needed to account for every minute.
He also could barely speak English and wanted me to help him and correct him. Screw that. That's not my job. Luckily he was taken out of a manager position and the department was split up and now I'm in a new role making twice as much under a manager who is amazing and understanding.
Recently I had Covid and went out. After 5 sick days your manager needs to put in for you to get short term disability so I signed on on the 6th day so that wouldn't happen and I told my boss I was logged on so that wouldn't happen and he got mad at me and said don't even worry about that I'm not reporting it. If he ever leaves I'm following him.
24. Only Benefits
The day she got fired, she texted the manager that she needed to come in late. And leave early. And she wanted her old shift back (she'd been switched to a later time because she was constantly calling off or coming in late.) Also, she needed a raise.
She used to be a really good employee at first. She was the favorite, actually. We all thought she was headed towards a big promotion, but suddenly she changed.
We found out that she had been posting crap about employees and the business on facebook. Where she was friends with half of the staff at aforementioned business.
Pretty sure she was stealing too.
25. HR Luxury Lifestyle
Our HR always abuses the company budget. They have the nicest ergonomic keyboards, a fancy coffee machine in their office, and are the first to receive gifts from vendors.
We tried bringing this up… But no one listened so things just went on like that for a good while. It seemed like they calmed down a bit, but then they revealed their true colors again.
One time they did the food tasting for the company year-end party (that they were organizing).
Catering company allowed 2 people for food tasting, and will charge $100 for additional people. The ENTIRE HR department went in the afternoon (and charged the company for the tasting fee, of course).
26. CAD Expertise
I had a friend working a GM when HR thought it was a good idea to test everyone on the skill set needed for their department regardless of how long they were in their position.
Long careers, 15, 20, 25 years were ruined because even though they worked there for a long time with a long string of great performance reviews.
They didn't pass the test that measured what HR thought was required for the department. Say you're a materials expert working in a design department. You may know barely enough in the CAD system to draw a cylinder.
On the other hand, given a cylinder, you can whip out all the properties that a cylinder would have if it were made from aluminum, cold rolled steel, fiberglass etc.
You'd be out of your job because HR said you had to have a certain level of CAD expertise even if it wasn't relevant to your role in the design process.
27. Never Give In
During an exit interview for my last job HR asked me where I was going to next.
HR: So what's the name of the company you are moving to next?
Me: I'm not really comfortable disclosing that
HR: Are you sure? It would really help us out
Me: I'd rather not say
HR: It’s company policy that you need to tell us
Me: I said NO and if you continue further you'll be hearing from my lawyer
HR: *Shocked pikachu face*
Told my old boss this after I left and he was absolutely shocked. HR has no right to know anything about the next place you are moving to. It's literally none of their business but they tried to press it out of me anyway, more than likely to call them up and talk crap about me.
28. HR Nightmare
I was asked to translate for some visitors from the parent company at a celebration held by HR. I stopped translating around the time the director of HR started asking overly-personal questions to the two young HR "office ladies".
A couple days later, during a private BS session, I recounted the story to a friend who happened to be a director from the parent company. He put on his professional hat and asked me to write it up and submit a complaint to the parent company's HR.
Nightmare ensued. Local head of HR had been in charge of the harassment avoidance training that had narrowly saved them from lawsuit. The CEO of the local company insisted that I bring the story out in public and talk to the director of HR "like an adult".
Parent company HR brought in HR from another local subsidiary to perform an investigation. It became painfully obvious who the whistleblower was.
Nothing came of the investigation that I heard about, but the next year was made to be a living hell for me by the local company. Even the office lady who had been the subject of the inquisition resented the fact that she was in the center of a controversy.
I left that company as soon as I possibly could and was not saddened to hear of their bankruptcy and partition a couple of years later (they had other "issues" as well).
29. Snowflakes Everywhere
Upon giving them the mandatory two weeks notice, I get this stupid rant about millennial snowflakes, how we can't take the stress of a real job, and how we think we're so important and unique.
But in reality the only thing that would happen, is that they would find another engineer to fill in for me, and things would be like I never existed.
After the initial shock, I replied with a "You are absolutely correct. Me staying or not is meaningless. Consider my resignation immediately from this moment, please give me the paperwork to sign."
30. How Do I Even Cope?
My job is a constant HR nightmare. Boss has slept with coworker A. Coworker A is married to coworker B. Coworker B+A have been married (unhappily) for 10 years or something now, B has no idea, even though B invites boss over for dinner once every other week.
Boss is now dating a new coworker (my best friend lol), and has already "gifted" her $2000, despite another coworker suffering from cancer and barely being able to pay the bills when he was still working.
My other boss, who owns the other lesser half of the company, has called me a narcissist in a meeting, and told me literally "there are no such things as business ethics".
That's barely the past couple months, been there for four years. Sorry, not HR, we don't have one.
31. Down With HR!
One of our departments shut down at noon thanks to a HVAC issue (Building management needed to move cubicles and pull out a chunk of drop ceiling) so the manager took them all out to the bar for a 'team building exercise'.
Everyone in the department arrived the next morning to a "Final notice in lieu of termination" on their desk that cited "Drinking on the job and time theft.". The manager had an extra-special third for improper use of a company credit card.
None of what they'd done was against company policy, so the manager's boss (a vice president) called HR and told them to back whatever newbie had written them the heck off.
HR instead forwarded over a brand-new policy manual and told the VP to make sure all the write-ups were signed and returned by the end of day.
VP goes up the chain to his boss, the CEO. The CEO hadn't even seen it, let alone authorized it. HR doesn't want to back down, even when the CEO calls them.
Sure, he hadn't authorized it, but he had asked them to consider revamping it back in March.
This was the glorious revamp! They'd gone back to square one and completely rewritten it! It's full of best practices, industry standard rules and easy to understand language!
Oh, and they'd been enforcing it since May, so it would probably be best for him to just sign off on it and any concerns he found could be incorporated in a future revision.
Yeah, no. The CEO didn't make it past the first page before finding a contract law violation. Page 3 had a federal labor law violation, page 4 would make the NLRB angry, and the section on PTO would get them sued six ways to Sunday.
The head of HR was asked to resign. When she refused, she was fired.
32. Test Failed
My friend was doing hiring for a staffing agency during college. A guy who we went to high school with came in looking for a job. He told the candidate that he had two jobs. One paid 10 an hour and the other paid 11.
The only thing was that the 11 an hour job requires a drug test. And if you fail the drug test you can't get either. He said that he wanted the 11 an hour job. Now we knew him well enough to know that he liked smoking. So my friend reiterated the drug test fail rule.
Dude said he was good on Friday to take the test Monday.
Come Monday he took the drug test. His pee was flagged hot for weed, cocaine, amphetamines, and some other stuff that gets out of your system in ~48hrs.
With a performance review cycle one year, my manager at the time opened with "Just so everyone is aware before I start performance reviews, (our third line manager) and up want me to put needs improvement for at least one field for everyone. I don't personally agree with that, so don't take it personally."
This was in a private department Slack channel so that all my coworkers could see, but our uplines aren't in the channel. When he actually got around to the individual performance reviews and got to me, he started with "Firstly, I've been advised to retract my statement about the mandatory needs improvement..." before going into the review.
I figured someone ratted him out. I'm really wondering who the rat was. Personally, I'd rather be honest about things like that, but I can see why HR and upline managers wouldn't.
34. Boss's BFF
This lady in a different department has been here for 30 years and thinks the department I work in shouldn't exist. Thus, she makes it her life's mission to mess up our work at every twist and turn.
She has contact with many of our clients and will deliberately sabotage events we have planned for them. She refuses to do stuff that is part of her job description and forces us to do it.
She gossips all the time and I've discovered on numerous occasions that I'm either gay, a liar, a womanizer or just plain incompetent. For the record, I'm none of these things.
The only reason she's still around is she's best friends with the boss, and so not only is her job protected but crossing her means a call into the bosses office. She's a nightmare and everyone but the boss wants her gone.
35. We Were Tricked!
We introduced a new performance based bonus system, where if you exceeded expectations on the goals set in the year you got a good percentage bonus. So everyone worked really hard in my department, things got done above and beyond.
I slaved 45+ hours a week, came in overnight, all that jazz. We had a huge meeting where HR then said that because everyone worked so hard EVERY employee in the department was being downgraded from the highest or second highest level, to just OK.
36. Have Some Common Sense
New guy I was training to cook at KFC, slower than a sloth and whenever I would show him the way we do things he would just do it his slow way and say it's easier. What did he mean it’s easier? He hadn't even tried the way we are supposed to do it.
He put his jersey on top of the cardboard boxes which were on top of the lockers, I grabbed his jersey off to get a box down and his phone fell out of his pocket and hit the ground, I picked it up and checked if it smashed, it hadn't so I put it back in his pocket and went on with work.
The next day he came up to me angry as hell saying I have to pay for a new phone because I smashed his, he showed me his phone and there was literally a 2mm crack in the bottom right hand corner.
I just told him maybe he shouldn't put his stuff on top of things that we needed everyday.
This was within three days of him starting, he was a smart guy but an absolute 0 in the social department and general tasks.
A guy I hired hurt himself on the first hour of the first day of work. He claimed he fell and hit his head on the wall. He was out for weeks on workman's comp from the concussion.
Then when he came back on light duty, he could only do desk work but managed to fall again in the bathroom and hit his head again.
It took me 9 months to get rid of him. It turns out this was not his first rodeo, when I called his former employer the lady I spoke to made an offhand comment about workplace accidents and head injuries and the importance of cameras in the workplace
38. Too Intelligent To Work Here
I had a girl at my old job who liked to tell people how to do everything like she was an expert. I was the night time ad set supervisor (in charge of the team that changes the sale signs) when she started and one day I happened to be there in the afternoon working on signs.
She starts telling me how to scan and print the signs. Out of nowhere. I was just going about my business. I just stopped and let her finish talking and said, "Thanks, I'm actually the supervisor of the ad set team". And went on my way.
Listened to her act like the expert on everything for something like three more years until I left. Also got to listen to her talk about how she was going to sue Barnes and Nobles for discrimination because she didn't get a job there.
They wanted her to work till their 10pm closing time and she 'couldn't' because she had to take her epilepsy medicine at 9pm or some stupid stuff.
39. Read It Twice
I had the Air Force Office of Special Investigations call me back in like 2002 or so. I got told OSI called and wanted me to go over to their office. I got interrogated for about 10 minutes, them accusing me of doing cocaine and hanging out with some other dude I barely knew.
After arguing with them for those ten minutes or so, they finally said "Aren't you this Airman *super common last name*?" and I was like, yeah but there's multiple Airman *super common last name in my shop alone*.
Yeah… turns out, they meant a different person completely. They saw my last name and never checked my ID or asked for my first name. I had to get read into the investigation because they messed up.
40. Solid Block
The workers had races with those motorized forklifts. One did not know that there was freshly poured concrete. Got the forklift stuck in it, damage was greater than 100,000€ (big foundation for a new storage facility).
According to the union contracts, such damages are paid for by the company unless it was intentionally done. Walked into my boss's office, told him about the situation. "Hm ok Schadavi, can you please return to your office for a while."
As soon as I was at my desk, I heard the loudest "GOTTVERDAMMTESCHEISSE" from his office. Then my phone rang, and he told me to inform the insurance, which ended up paying less than 10k of the damage...
Otherwise, the usual HR nightmare is just people not keeping their documents in order.
41. It's All About Excuses
I work in Sweden. I had a friend recruited to an identical position as mine. I had to tutor him for a year, given that I have more work life experience for that gig. He came in earning 1000 euros a month more than I did.
When time came for salary discussions for me, I used this example and my manager tried to pass that along to at least align my salary.
The HR partner responded that they didn’t want to make that drastic raise because, and I quote, “there might come a time where he (me) wouldn’t do the same things as now, and if that happens, we can’t downgrade his pay, and he would therefore be overpaid”.
This is because two other team members have been demoted and now make the manager pay for less work. We share a job description, but they make double what I do.
I got a minor raise that year due to my boss asking other team members to give up a small share of their annual raises to be able to align my salary. Quite insane that they actually did that. Still not anywhere close to being aligned. On Monday comes this year's salary discussion. Madness to be continued.
My previous senior manager was renowned for sleeping with colleagues (he was married with kids).
Before I started there I remember seeing a huge banner plastered across a footbridge that everyone leaving work by car had to drive under to get to the motorway.
The sign said : "Joe blogs (not actual name) cheating *****"
Turns out he was cheating on his wife with a team leader from another dept, and was cheating on his mistress with another team leader from yet another dept.
Both the team leaders found out about each other and had a massive fight in the reception of the building.
By the time I started at the company both of the team leaders were no longer working there.
43. Gossip Queen
I worked at a smallish company that grew big enough to hire a HR person. Her office was down from mine so in the mornings I'd swing by and say hi. That turned into grabbing a cup of coffee she had just made, then into having a pastry and talking about life.
I noticed she was a bit chatty and decided to gain her trust. Turns out this girl was both a mine of gold and a liability to our company. I decided to exploit it to my advantage.
I found that if I mentioned someone's name in passing, a few minutes later she would spill the beans about that person's life. What work issues they had, health issues, family issues etc.
I learned really quickly any issues I had not to take to her. She made it like 6 months before she got fired.
44. Just No
I work in recruitment and a guy had applied for a job that required a DBS check (police check). He filled the DBS and all his other checks flew through. The DBS came back as he had committed a crime in the past.
Now on our end only the guy who will be the applicant manager and a senior in our department can see the DBS result. He called the department unhappy the job had been withdrawn.
He then sent a long email begging for another chance, he said when he was 17 he attacked two women then threatened the cops with a gun.
We're in the UK so guns are pretty rare especially in the 1970's. But that wasn’t even the worst part. He went into detail about the attempted attack. This dude wanted a job in a hospital.........it's a `NO` mate.