For a lot of managers, firing people is one of the worst parts of the job. Unless, of course, an employee really deserves it. Usually, someone gets fired for being totally incompetent or rude and insubordinate. But sometimes there's something so out there about the firing that it really stands out.
These managers can't forget their experience firing someone. Here are all the best stories we found on Reddit about managers who had to fire someone. Content has been edited for clarity.
Get Out And Take Your Mom With You
“My boss would do the hiring, but I had to do the firing. There were multiple occasions that someone would make him mad and he would walk up to me and say, ‘Go fire that idiot.’ I would ask why and he would just say, ‘Think of something.’ Normally, I would use the ‘we are cutting back due to a slow season and you are the newest and, sorry.’
There was one kid that we had a meeting about and decided to fire him the next day. This kid would come in late, decide when his lunch was, not follow through with paperwork, etc. On the day he was going to get fired, he was late. I had to call him and find out when he was coming in. He said, ‘I’ll be there in a few unless you are going to fire me,’ and then he laughed. I waited for him to come in, told him he was done and to grab his tools and head out. He called his mom for a ride since she had a truck. When she showed up, she started cussing us out and flipping chairs and stuff. I told her to leave or I’d call the cops.
She sat down on the ground and said that she wouldn’t leave until we gave her ‘little boosky’ another chance.
I said, ‘Ok, ok…we’ll give him another chance, but only if you go outside.’
She left and he came back in and said, ‘That’s what I thought.’
I replied, ‘And now you’re fired again. And I’m issuing you and your mother a no trespass warning.'”
The Racial Interrogation Stops Now
“I fired a man who simply would not stop interrogating people about their ethnic makeup. Notable instances include asking a relatively light-skinned black woman if she was ‘mixed or just regular black.’ He also asked whether the ‘ethnically ambiguous kids’ whose photos were on my desk were mine AND if so, what their father’s ethnicity was. I’m the manager, his supervisor’s supervisor, and he walked into my office and said this stuff. I took the opportunity to discuss the complaints that had been filed against him.
THEN he mentioned to another black woman that her kids were lucky that she had gotten with a Puerto Rican, as they would be more beautiful. Not that it matters, but he is black. He was SHOCKED when he was fired despite multiple warnings, even with HR present, and tried to argue for his job. He flamed us on Glassdoor whining about how it’s too ‘cliquey’ and that management (that’s me) plays favorites.”
His Boss Was More Impressed With His Exit Than His Work Ethic
“I fired a guy at my work who was just way too timid. The guy avoided confrontation like the plague. He just couldn’t get his work done on time because he was too afraid to ask for help. Even after numerous chances to improve and being put on a Performance Improvement Plan for 12 weeks with copious amounts of retraining, he just couldn’t bring his work up to scratch. He was such a nice guy and it really pained me to have to fire him as we knew he relied on his job.
When I delivered the news that he was fired and thanked him for his service, he calmly stood up, put on his jacket, walked to the door and flipped me the bird, then left. Didn’t say a word.
Part of me wanted to rehire him just for that.”
When Delegating Goes Wrong
“In the 90’s, I worked for a big bank as a network/systems architect for a high-profit line of business within the bank. Our organization was rolling out 19” monitors for all users. Because of the cost of the units, our management decided that the 700 or so monitors for Dallas be stored on our floor and distributed/installed by our engineering group.
In less than a week, they realized this was a poor use of their money and our time. I was tasked with bringing in some temps to get the work done. I went through one of our approved temp agencies and brought in two guys who were experienced techs but certainly not network engineers by any stretch. I explained the work to them and they seemed happy to have the opportunity to work in a nice air-conditioned office tower during the summer with no big deadlines. I got them started, they worked through the first day, no issues.
Sometime during the second day, these two guys decided to outsource their work to several homeless people. They went and found some, bought them matching polo shirts and put them to work. Shortly thereafter, our helpdesk, which was located in another state, started getting complaints about service techs who smelled bad and who were acting inappropriately. Helpdesk contacted me, I went to investigate and figured out what’s going on.
The bums had already broken a few monitors, set up an area to sleep in a storeroom, and at least one was high as a kite. It was a total disaster. I had to get building security to throw them out, the police ended up being called, it was a mess.
I found the two temps downstairs at the bar in one of the building’s restaurants. They were drinking margaritas, having chips and queso and generally having a great time whilst congratulating one another on being paid to do nothing.
Firing them on the spot in public, getting them fired from the temp agency, and blackballing them from ever being employed by the bank was easily my favorite firing experience.”
You Can’t Fire Me, I Quit
“My absolute favorite was a guy my boss hired who was ‘an absolute whiz’ in the shipping department. My boss had a habit of finding people on the golf course, talking with them while golfing, and hiring them.
The guy comes in and I learn he’s been hired with a quick phone call to my GM. So, I get all his paperwork filled out and send it over to HR, give him a good orientation on the company rules, break times, lunch, etc. then walk him back to shipping. Jake is my manager back there and a good guy. He’s not the fastest, but he shows up every day, does an adequate job, almost never makes a mistake and if he does, he fixes it without being annoying about it.
I hand off the new guy and go back to work.
A little over an hour later, it’s break time and I go see how the new guy is doing. I stop in with Jake and he says the new guy is out back and says nothing more.
I find the new guy out back smoking an illicit substance. He looks up at me, clearly stoned and says, ‘Hey computer dude! What’s happ’n?’
All I could say was, ‘Come on up front. I need to fill out some paperwork on you. I’m letting you go for violating our substance usage policy — the policy I read to you about 90 minutes ago.’
He responded, ‘Dude, that’s messed up. I quit.'”
Second Chance? How About We Call Security Instead
“I had a female employee who normally had perfect attendance begin calling in out of the blue. After a while, I pulled her aside to find out what was going on. I found out one of my supervisors had been harassing her via text and social media, even going so far as to send inappropriate pictures periodically. HR had me collect copies of each picture for evidence. Then I sent her home for the day.
When I confronted him with security in tow, he begged for another chance. I got the pleasure of telling him, ‘I’ve had to look at so many pictures of your junk, I have no urge to ever see you again.’ Right after that, security escorted him out.”
“I wasn’t her manager, I was in charge of Loss Prevention/Store Security. My job involved randomly auditing transactions by getting the receipt and watching the transaction on tape. One day, I randomly picked one of hers and thought to myself, ‘Oh, it’s Jane Doe, she isn’t going to steal,’ but had to do my due diligence. The transaction was strange though, no customer, no merchandise and no money changing hands. She entered a refund in and left. I thought it was really strange so I went through tape for the entire day but saw nothing weird and the register was even at the end of the day. Turns out she was making a fake refund, then when she got the chance, she would take the amount she refunded out so that the register wasn’t off.
We launched a month-long investigation watching every single transaction she did over a three month period of time (including watching her while she worked for that month, so four months worth of evidence). We caught her stealing about $5k worth of cash in that time period. During our interview, we got her to admit to stealing over $26k over the past four years and nobody ever suspected. Marching her out in handcuffs in front of all the other employees was GREAT.”
Because Falling Asleep At Work Is Very Cool
“We had a ‘starving, stifled artist’ type millennial who worked for us. The typical self-entitled kid who played the race card a lot. Funny thing, he was working security so it wasn’t really a hard or demanding position. We worked nights but he thought that sleeping during the day was wasteful so he wouldn’t get much sleep at all. So it turned into him sleeping on breaks, sleeping on his lunch, and then falling sleep where ever he could put his head. So I was constantly waking him up when he didn’t check back in from breaks or his lunches and finding him out cold, where a hard shake was needed to wake him.
Over time, this got old, then we started to write him up. Three of those and it was termination time. Except at our level, we couldn’t terminate so it was a ‘suspended pending investigation’ then HR would call them the next day and make it official.
So I had to wake him up three times when he was 45 minutes late getting back from his lunch. We get him into the office and as we are doing the paperwork for his suspension, he falls asleep and falls into me. I put my hand on his forehead and push him back into his chair, he wakes up and accuses me of assault. We had a camera/audio along with two others in the office watching this. He fell asleep two more times and I push him off of me and back into his chair each time.
So we got the papers signed, he got all mad and we had to walk him to the door. Five minutes later, we had a guest telling us there is a car horn going off solid in the parking lot. Sure enough, he fell asleep at the wheel. So we got him a cab ride home and that was it.
For the record, he had no health issues, he just refused to sleep during the day because ‘cool’ people never did that.”
Already Being Racist On Day One
“I asked some new drivers in my transport truck if any of them were felons because I, as a tow truck driver, carry a weapon. It’s illegal in this state to be in a vehicle or residence with a weapon if you are a felon.
Everybody said no but one guy had to pipe up that I shouldn’t be allowed to carry because I’m an immigrant. He refused to shut up and do his job, so I fired him on the spot. It was his first day.”
Miami Vice: Jeff Edition
“I had to fire this one guy, Jeff. Jeff was a nut case. I’m certain he spent the entire 80’s taking illegal substances and doing lame Karate.
I didn’t hire Jeff. My boss did. I was his direct manager. Jeff didn’t have a house, he lived in an RV which he ended up parking on the property. Cool, whatever. So I start to train Jeff on his daily duty of the shop. This is where living in an RV starts to make some sense. On days, it was me, another employee, and Jeff. We had a moment to rest as our busy time ended. So I sat at my desk and started doing paperwork. Meanwhile, my other employee, who was great, and Jeff started to talk.
Jeff started his story along the lines of ‘You ever watch Miami vice?’
The other employee replied, ‘Yeah, I’ve seen it.’
Jeff said, ‘That was based on me, man. I was Miami Vice undercover. I’ve seen some stuff, man.’ I glance up from my desk and see him walking over to the mop bucket and picking up the mop. He then starts screeching and doing the worst ‘karate’ moves I’ve ever seen with it. Like some messed up white ninja that had forgotten everything he’d ever learned about anything. I saw the other employee trying his hardest not to laugh. I followed suit and tried as well.
I got a grip and asked, ‘Why aren’t you a cop anymore?’
He replied, ‘Because it was a bunch of politics and I was a loose cannon,’ while he put the mop back.
I said, ‘You don’t say?’ Then listened as he told his story about riding a motorcycle in circa 1980’s Miami as he was trying to take down a crime lord.
My boss did this sort of thing. He’d hire people, anyone really. Then give them to me to train and manage them. He had the ability to pick out the most insane people in the state.
He lasted two weeks. I came in to watch the previous night’s tapes. I had to review them daily in order to ensure no theft had happened. We had employees stealing a lot. There he was, Jeff and all his Vice glory, standing in a hallway in the middle of the night. Doing his karate with a mop stick. He then went on patrol with it in the parking lot. Some customers complained and I let him go. My boss hired, I trained, fired the ones that couldn’t make the cut. He flipped out like you’d think. Cops were called and we ended up banning him from the property as he would sneak on every night and sabotage things.”
When Pulling Stunts Go Wrong
“The owner hired an 18-year-old to do security for a lumber yard against my advice. It was not uncommon to find the company car at his friend’s house when his shift was ending and mine was starting. I also caught him and his friends operating a giant Bobcat that is used to scoop up logs big enough to crush a man. The owner kept telling me to give him a chance. No big deal, right?
One night, I come in and he’s actually in the office where he is supposed to be…with tears in his eyes. He said that he was heading to the warehouse to do a patrol in the company car and an orange sports car made him run off of a super steep railroad crossing. He said that he had already talked to the owner and written a report. He promptly left. I went to look at the car. It was all beaten up and there was grass and dirt in every crack and crevice of the car. I shook my head, got in what used to be a super sweet ride, and went to scope out the railroad tracks… concrete everywhere. No grass. No dirt. So where did he wreck the car?
I went about my business and drove to a hidden spot in one of the lumber yards where we would often run off riff-raff. The hidden spot was a giant mound of dirt in a narrow spot between two warehouses with a chain-link fence on the other side. My guess was that he thought he could Dukes of Hazzard-style JUMP the chain-link fence. But he never made it to the fence as there was a perfect car shaped dent in this giant mound of dirt. He didn’t make it UP the hill, he made it INTO the hill.”
“I Don’t Do Garbage”
“I managed a GameStop and had to fire a girl. She got the job because her dad was a good friend of the District Manager. She wasn’t a very enthusiastic worker and always had to be told what to do, and always seemed annoyed. She had only been there a couple weeks when one night at the end of the shift, I told her to go bring the trash outside while I counted down the register. She outright refused and said, ‘I don’t do garbage.’
I was dumbfounded by her boldness. I tried asking her again, but she was adamant and then took out her phone. So I told her there wasn’t anything left for her to do so she could clock out and go home. She clocked out and asked if she could look at the schedule for the week to see her shifts. I told her not to worry about it. She asked why. I told her I’d get someone to cover the rest of her shifts. She asked if she was fired. I nodded my head and told her I’d get her paperwork done later.”
Fired For Her Own Good
“I ‘fired’ this girl without the permission of my company once. Essentially, I had been told to hold on to a freelancer through the holiday push, utilizing her desire to get a full-time role to ask her to sacrifice her own Christmas to make up for all the extra work of the season. I was informed that we weren’t going to offer her a full-time job, though, and I knew she had another full-time offer with the other company she was freelancing for. She’d been holding out to work at my company and was at risk of losing the other offer while she was waiting to see what my company would do. Of course, they hadn’t told her they weren’t going to hire her, they instead asked me to imply that she would get an offer with a good enough holiday push. They were going to say any amount of work she did wasn’t enough to get the offer and let her lose a real offer in the meantime.
I essentially pulled her into an office and told her it was in her best interest to accept the other offer and to quit on the spot. I was pulled into a room with the CEO and some others to justify why she’d quit after talking to me, but I just couldn’t have it on my conscience. She took the other job and we made it through the holiday without her. I managed the team she was freelancing for, so I absorbed most of that extra work, but I’m so glad I chased her away instead of lying to her.”
Wrong Number, Also You’re Fired
“This girl was so entitled. Her first week, she called in sick three days in a row. On probably her third day of work, she asked to leave an hour early, not because she was sick or had any legitimate reason, but because she had ‘nothing to do.’ I told her a few things she could be doing and she looked at me like I told her to eat a bucket of slugs. She became indignant and actually literally stomped her foot saying, ‘What’s the point?’ and making a fuss. I sent her back to her seat and told her to stop making a scene. She spent the last hour texting and complaining to the person next to her, which I was happy to overhear told her to basically grow up.
The next day passed uneventfully. She even made a sale. The following day, she called me with a pretty dramatic story about how sick she was. Later that day, she accidentally texted the work group chat something along the lines of, ‘Hey girl, I’ll be there in 5 minutes so excited to see you!’ Boy did it blow up with the staff, everyone thought it was hilarious. The next day, I called her into my office to fire her. She was in utter and complete shock that she was being fired. She had some lame story about being sick but having to pick up her sister at the airport. She told me she was the best employee, how hard she’s been working. After being defensive and expressing her disbelief that I wouldn’t want her to work anymore, she quickly turned nasty.
She began lashing out at her co-workers, saying she worked harder than ‘most other people’ and she began throwing other people under the bus. Telling me who played games on their computer or was using their phone, etc. I wasn’t having ANY of that. No one likes a snitch and I felt so relieved to be getting rid of such a toxic person. I told her to stop talking and leave. The look of complete shock on her face was priceless. One of my finer moments.”