There are times where people get fired for some of the dumbest reasons, but there also times where people keep their job despite not using their best judgment. The people in the following stories still can't believe how their fellow coworkers still have a job after these feats of ineptitude.
(Content has been edited for clarity.)
"My roommate had a girl call in dead to work. She was too hungover, so she had her roommate call her boss and say she died in a car accident. Everyone in her team thought she was dead for four days until she turned up the following Monday as if nothing happened.
She didn't get fired and works in HR."
"I knew a guy at my old telemarketing company that could talk his way out of anything, I mean anything. He stole our boss's credit card, drove to Boston with his girlfriend, and ran up $2,000 on it. When the boss canceled the card and realized what happened, he asked the guy about it, this guy said, 'My girlfriend took the card from your desk without me knowing.'
They got the security camera tapes to check them, but they hadn't been recording properly. The boss thought the guy was lying and bluffed about the security tapes and said, 'We have the security tapes of you stealing it.'
The guy, thinking he was guilty and cornered, did the only thing someone like him would think to do...He replaced the large water bottle on a water dispenser in the office kitchen and faked a back injury. Then he threatened to sue the company.
The company gave him a month's severance to go away.
So he got the severance, disappeared for a month, then showed up the next month like nothing had happened. By this time, our old boss didn't work there anymore, so the guy kept his job. Business as usual."
"These two guys I work with do everything wrong. It's worse that they are EMTs. They've most likely killed a patient.
So Dumb and Dumber get called for a cardiac arrest. They show up and the patient is laying on their bed, no pulse or breathing, so D and D start CPR while the patient is still on the bouncy, shock absorbing, mattress, thus rendering CPR useless. Strike one.
They also seem to have left the oxygen bag that has all the equipment necessary to make a person breathe in the ambulance along with the AED. Strikes two and three.
They realize they have no idea what they're doing and call for back up. More EMTs show up empty handed because D and D were supposed to have all the equipment. Team Two, realizing these two are morons, take over and send them out to get equipment.
They come back with their oxygen bag, but the tank is empty because they never checked the equipment. Team Two finally has enough. They move the patient down to the ambulance and continue care there. Strike four.
The patient is treated and transported to the hospital (after much delay and suffering, no idea if they lived) where D and D ask Team Two not to mention the whole missing equipment or the CPR on a bed thing in their paperwork. Strike five.
These two kept their jobs for months after continuing to be nothing but morons."
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"I used to work for a government contracting corporation where I was a systems administrator for deployed servers. We rotated out every six months to Iraq, Afghanistan, Djibouti, and Kuwait, and kept a specific set of servers and clients running for Army units.
We had this one guy who was a real jerk in the States. He hardly ever showed up to work on time and when he did, he made tons of mistakes that cost other Sysadmins days to fix. He was, simply, incompetent at his job.
So then his six-month rotation comes up and he's being slotted into a solo position with no management and no other company personnel at the location.
He's been out there for about three months, earning around $20,000 a month, and one day we get a phone call from the military unit he's supporting. They say, 'Hey, our last sysadmin rotated out three months ago. When are you guys going to replace him? Our servers aren't working.'
We say, 'We DID replace him with [jerk's name], and he's been there three months. You haven't seen him?'
They send a soldier to look for this guy because it's not a big base. Honestly, we thought he might have been killed and we just weren't informed or something. They check the roster and sure enough, he signed in on the day he was supposed to. They check housing and find out he signed for a single occupancy trailer. So the soldier goes and finds the trailer and knocks on the door.
Our employee answers. He's been sitting in his room for three months, earning tons of deployment money. His room is filled with urine bottles that he's too lazy to throw away and he never checked in with the unit to start working.
Not only does the company not fire him or even bring him back to the States, they just swap him to another location that has two employees so they can make sure he shows up to work and he's still pulling nearly $20,000 a month."
"Early in my career, I worked with a project manager who had a serious drinking problem. He would disappear for an hour or two in the middle of the day, sometimes more than once. He smelled so strongly of Jack all the time, he always seemed sweaty/shiny faced, and he was quite twitchy. He'd mumble something about a meeting and then disappear. We all knew he was going for a drink.
One time, he had an argument with his ex-wife about child support in a meeting room that wasn't soundproof and had glass walls. He was thumping the table and screaming at her while the entire department was watching. It was like, really? You're only in the office for half the day but for some reason, you can't take this call outside?
No prizes for guessing that he also sucked at his job. He would forget stuff: numbers, meetings, agendas, names. The head of HR had a 'chat' with him one time and instead of playing it down or getting himself in order, he stormed back into the department and started cussing her out in front of everyone. She was still on the other side of the wall, and he was yelling that she 'just needed a man to take her up the wrong chute,' and described all the depraved stuff he wanted to do to her, Loudly, to everybody who was sitting there and then started going on about how he would love to do some other lady in HR.
Incredibly, this isn't what got him fired. He stuck around for a couple weeks. It was our busiest time of year. We had over 10,000 letters of communication turn up at our office address instead of at the client's homes. We had to manually stuff the letters into envelopes and have them sent out. On this day, he turned up for work four hours late. He was bright pink, looked like he was still in yesterday's clothes and his hands were scuffed up and bloody with dirt under the fingernails. I remember him leaning heavily on my desk while I tried hard not to gag.
He claimed he thought it was Saturday and overslept; it was Thursday. The department manager had one conversation with him and that was it. We didn't even see him leave the building."
"I used to work at a zoo while I was in college and one of my colleagues whacked a baby elephant in the groin with a shovel. The guy did it with such force that the elephant winced and was on the floor shaking and making whimpering noises I didn't know elephants could make.
The zoo manager didn't care at all; he even laughed about it afterward. The baby elephant was renamed Cindy as some kind of a joke because of the wailing noises he made after being attacked. The guy who actually did it has since graduated and is now a marine biologist."
"I work in a call center. One of my colleagues received a call from a man who apparently sounded like he came from South Asia and was middle-aged. When asked our standard security questions, the caller gave his details, which fit a young English woman. That should have rung alarm bells. However, my colleague accepted that and the MAN successfully passed security questions posing as a WOMAN. Anyway, the man asked my colleague to confirm the bank details on the account. My colleague willingly gave them to him.
A week later, the woman called in because she was noticed something unusual with her services with us. A different colleague realized what had happened and had to tell her that someone in our call center willingly surrendered her bank details to someone who made a living making scam calls. The colleague who gave out her details was not fired, not even given a formal warning, but was simply put on a four-week improvement plan."
"I used to work in the federal government with a guy who is a violent, sadistic, narcissistic sociopath. He has assaulted several women, regularly stalks and harasses women online and in person, abuses his kids, and pathologically lies all the time.
It turns out you can only get fired from your job if you are found guilty of a felony AND sentenced to jail time. So when he was charged with violating a woman, assault, breaking and entering, and breaking a protection order (his victim had complained before about his stalking her), he negotiated a plea deal down to a misdemeanor with probation.
This violent predator took vacation time for court days and is still spending tax dollars to put together federal contracts, and probably hunting a new victim.
I don't work there anymore."
"I had a coworker that was loudly talking to a bill collector on the phone in the middle of the common area. We worked with people that had moderate to profound stages of Alzheimer's, and one of our patients walked up to her and started fidgeting with the tub of napkins that we use during tactile activities.
The coworker screamed at her and said, 'I know all about your type of people. Always causing trouble. Think you're better than everyone else?' The patient started crying. I walked up and asked her what was wrong (I hadn't witnessed any of the previous interaction). I figured maybe she misunderstood or something, and brought her back in there after calming her down. I asked my co-worker about it, and she confirmed that the patient was right, and began screaming at the patient again.
I reported her. She didn't get fired. But she was no longer allowed to work on that floor.
I was training another guy. I think it was his third day of training. He pulled out his little notepad to write down what I was telling him. Along with the notepad out popped a tiny bag of speed. I finished the day with him and went to my supervisor to explain why I was refusing to train him any longer. He didn't get fired. He still works with me to this day."
"I spent 20 years in the Marines. It is impossible to be fired from the military.
-It was daytime on a ship at sea and the entire crew in the bridge was not paying attention, and almost collided with another ship.
-One time at night, the entire bridge crew fell asleep. A South Korean ship in the area called on the radio for them to identify themselves, but everyone was asleep, so there was no response. The South Koreans figured out what had happened, then turned on all their searchlights to wake up the crew. When the officer on deck awakened, he overreacted, got on the PA system, and announced, 'General Quarters, General Quarters! All hands, man your Battle Stations! This is NOT a drill! We are under attack!' Thankfully, the situation was soon resolved.
-On a Western Pacific float, the enlisted personnel were constantly threatened with severe consequences if we ever came back late from liberty call. When we pulled out of Singapore, every Harrier pilot was missing. After delaying our departure, we eventually went to our next port-of-call, Hong Kong. The Harrier pilots flew in to join us there. Nothing happened to them, as they were all 'officers and gentlemen.'
-During a Combined Arms Exercise at high desert one summer, hydration was a huge priority. During the exercise, numerous road guards were placed to ensure no one accidentally entered the impact area. First thing in the morning, an officer in charge had to personally verify all road guards had 10 or 15 gallons of water. Once every person was ready, the exercise began. Tanks, artillery, and infantry did their thing. Jets from El Toro flew in to do their thing. Helicopters were everywhere, doing their thing. Thousands of people were involved. About four hours into the exercise, one of the road guards called into headquarters, saying they had no water. The exercise, with thousands of people and hundreds of weapons and vehicles, was halted. The road guards must get their water! Jets headed back to El Toro, helicopters headed back to Camp Pendleton, and everything stopped. Everything. Frigging. Stopped.
When the impact area was safe to enter, a vehicle was sent out to deliver water. When the vehicle arrived, they delivered the water and asked if they had their morning re-supply of water. 'Oh yeah,' they responded, 'We have plenty of water. We're just out of smokes. Got any smokes?' Nothing happened to them."
"I work for a nonprofit legal aid organization. We once took on a volunteer, we'll call Em, who was okay, but had certain attitude issues. Not enough to get rid of her since we don't fire people here unless they do something wrong, but still, she got to be annoying.
Well, one day Em goes to speak to our housing solicitor; seems she has a friend facing eviction. We offered to help the friend with representation at court. Em refused, said she just wanted advice to help her friend. Fair enough, general advice was given about the eviction and what to expect at court. We advised her that on the day of the hearing, one of our housing officers would be doing court duty, so if she wanted help on the day we'd be there.
Cut to the hearing. My colleague Sam, doing duty, spots Em and her friend at court. Em doesn't even acknowledge him and he's too busy with other clients to go say anything. Em goes into the courtroom with her friend. Sam isn't involved, so he doesn't follow. A few minutes later, Sam is called into the courtroom. The judge is angry.
When Em went in, she represented herself as a housing officer from our organization and started trying to represent her friend. The judge wasn't having it. Not only was Em doing a poor job, but we've been repping people for years. All the judges know us and he knew something was off here.
Sam confirms with the judge that Em was not a housing officer and was simply volunteering at our place in a different department. The judge rips Em a new one and grants an adjournment so Em's friend can get actual representation.
Cut to a few days later, Em comes into work as if nothing happened. She is taken into an office with our manager Clara, where she gives Em a stern talking to. Yeah, I love our management, but even I'm having a hard time figuring out why she wasn't canned then and there. She was let go for not being a good fit a few months later."
"I used to work in a big box electronics store - our branch was inside a chic upper-class shopping center. One day, the fire alarm went off. I was talking to a customer and I told him not to be alarmed - that false alarms were common, and soon enough someone would get on the PA and call an all clear. As we were talking, I noticed a bit of a commotion near the front of the store. Then one of my colleagues, who was a bit of a weirdo, got on the PA, and in a calm voice said, 'Everybody, it's a real fire and we're all going to die. Get out, save yourselves, bye!'
Now, I knew this guy and knew this was his idea of a funny joke, but the look on the customers' faces in front of me? I had to spend a minute or so calming them all down. The guy did not get fired - I think he had dirt on the boss or something because that was only one of his sackable offenses that ultimately lead to nothing."
"My father-in-law is a postal carrier. He told me a story recently that during the Christmas season, one of his coworkers did a night run and set all the packages in front of the garage of a house instead of the front door.
The next morning, the person ran over all their packages leaving for work because they didn't see them. I think the damage exceeded $2,000. The carrier still works for the post office."
"I worked at a McDonald's for a few years, and besides all the dropped food and stale fries that went out, the worst was 'Corey.' He was the dumbest worker there. Somehow his shirt was always covered it ketchup and mustard despite not having worked the whole week.
One day, he was handing food out of the drive-thru, and the girl that was getting the food screamed, 'Eww! Gross!'
She refused to work with him in the drive-thru after that, but I wasn't sure why at the time.
My brother and Corey were friends. Corey came over one time, and when my brother went to sleep, he tried to hang out with me until I caught him pleasuring himself. I told my boss and they 'suspended' him. While talking about it, I found out that he had been doing similar things in the drive-thru window that day, and possibly had been doing it many, many times."
"I worked at McDonald's from summer 2004 to early 2005 in Ontario. I would sometimes work the overnight shift.
I was working the drive-thru when this car full of people pulled up and the driver asked for a co-worker named Chris. I got Chris and walked away, and I started to hear arguing, so I went back to the drive-thru window. The arguing died down and Chris told the driver that he would hook him up at the second window. The driver moved ahead and Chris closed the window and said, 'Mess this guy's burger up.'
Chris was mad because this guy had been coming by the drive-thru every weekend for a month, asking for free food and pretending like he knew employees. This is how he decided to deal with it.
He told me to prepare a quarter pounder, so I made it and left it at the end of the line. Once the meat was cooked, instead of taking it to the end of the line and putting the meat in the burger, Chris grabbed the meat while wearing a latex glove, went to the sink and peed on it.
Everyone working was groaning at this, and some employees warned him that the driver of the car might get sick, but Chris didn't care. Chris then rubbed this urine-soaked patty on the floor which had not been cleaned in 8 hours. To this day, I haven't seen a greasier and dirtier floor than a McDonald's kitchen floor when it hasn't been mopped in a long time. If I clawed at the tiles, grease and fat would build under my nails.
After rubbing it a few times on the floor, Chris saw the mop bucket at the end of the line. On this particular day, since there was a rush from around 11 a.m. until 11 p.m., the mop bucket water had never been changed. What was once soapy and clear water was dark, smelly, and swimming with chunks of fries that fell on the floor and a bunch of other food-related filth. Chris dunked the patty three times in the water like someone would do Oreos to a glass of milk. Right when that happened, Chris' friend Darrell grabbed a handful of fries and said, 'I'm going to fart on his fries,' and then he did just that and threw them into large fries container. He did this until he ran out of farts and filled up the container with fries to make it look nice.
Chris threw in some other untampered food as well and gave the bag to the driver. There weren't any customers behind him, so he continued chatting. Chris kept a calm face, told the guy goodbye, and when he left, all the employees let out a collective gag while Chris laughed."
"I briefly worked at a place that packed wood shavings and there was a guy there that had no sense of safety. He repeatedly drove around the lot at full speed in the tractor, hitting vehicles multiple times. He left the handbrake off a truck and it went through a shed, ripped off both doors, and launched off a loading ramp. He rolled a semi-trailer because he fell asleep at the wheel, and it smashed the support struts of a customer's trailer, and he laughed in their face about it.
The worst one was when he backed out of a shed with the bucket of the tractor up and ripped out the central support beam. He then proceeded to pile up wood shavings all the way to the roof so no one would see the damage, then went home for the weekend. When confronted, he denied it, and everyone else was blamed. The shed alone cost $20,000 to repair, and as far as I know, he still works there."