Sometimes people get fired because they genuinely are bad employees. But sometimes, people get handed the pink slip and find out they're getting the boot for a completely bogus reason.
Even if the person is innocent, getting fired unfairly can be a very traumatic event. Not to mention, the potential impact it can have on potential job applications in the future. Luckily, most people don't want to work for a company that treats their employees so unfairly. Content has been edited for clarity.
They Couldn’t Admit They Were Wrong
“I worked for a rather large miniature gaming company in their retail store back in 2000. We’d have some great fun at weekend meetings after work at a local games and drinks establishment in the same mall. Our manager would tell us to shut down the store, but don’t worry about going over and making the money drops, he’ll do that after the meetings. This happened a few times and no one really gave it a thought.
Cut to a few months later. We have an unpleasant briefing in the store about how money has gone missing on more than one occasion and this had happened while the assistant manager was working. So, he was fired for that. A few days later another meeting, another employee gets fired. A week later and it was my turn.
The guy that was next in line after us kept good notes and he gave those notes to the regional manager. Each bag that had missing money in it was dated on the nights we had our meetings. No surprise – the manager was the one stealing the cash. The newbie was the one that caught him. The company’s response was to black-list the fired employees from the store and admit no wrong-doing.
But that got me out of retail so I got that going for me, which is nice.”
“Myself and another guy were hired at a bagel store at roughly the same time and we shared a shift. He was skimming money from my till when I wasn’t looking, was on break, or was in the back. It wasn’t possible to be at the till all the time.
Rather than figure it out, they just fired us both. It got comical after that, as they tried to deduct my wages for the money this guy took. That was against the law so when I got my last cheque, I called up one of the owners.
The conversation went like this:
Me: ‘So you deducted from my wages without my consent, which is illegal, and I would like my money.’
Lady: (screaming) ‘We told you when you started to watch your till at all times because you were responsible for the money inside!’
Me: ‘Umm okay. Well, if you don’t pay me, I am going to file a complaint with the labor board.’
Lady: (still screaming) ‘You do that!’ (hangs up)
So I filed a complaint and three weeks later she was forced to write me a cheque for 80 bucks. Totally worth it.”
“The Payroll Machine Is Down”
“I had been working at a company for 12 months, and at the time my dad nearly died from a heart attack. We needed to see how much money was coming into the house and he asked me for pay slips. ‘What are they?’ I asked. I never got any.
So I go to my employer asking for them. He goes, ‘Er…yeah, I’ll sort it.’ A week goes by, nothing. Then another week, nothing. I then go in and ask and he says, ‘Oh yeah, the payroll machine is down.’ I tell him that’s a joke isn’t it? We then have a massive argument.
I go back the next day, he’s expecting an apology. I ask him does he have my pay slip, he says no, so I ask him why does he think I should apologize to him? He fires me on the spot.
Turns out they’d been deducting tax from our pay cheques but not paying the taxman. Just pocketed it themselves.
Forget them though, I’ve had the last laugh. I referred them to HMRC (the British version of the IRS) and to the VAT man. The VAT man is a lot worse than the tax man. They can shut your company down while they investigate.”
A Devastating Reason To Be Fired
“When I was 15, I washed dishes at a small restaurant.
The granddaughter of the owner also worked with me. We were close in age and joked around a lot. We weren’t that close, but that’s not what he thought. He fired me one day out of the blue saying I was asking too many questions about running the till and thought I was looking to steal. This was complete nonsense and really hit me and other employees out of nowhere.
Anyways, I got a better job at a hardware store and loved it. A couple of years later, his granddaughter finally went off the deep end with mental issues and it was revealed that her grandpa was banging her almost every night after work in the restaurant. He was worried she was going to say something to me, I guess. Then it made sense why he let me go so quickly and for no reason. I think he died in prison.”
Glorified Dumpster Diving
“I actually was about to be fired and quit just before that happened.
It was Goodwill and I was one of the people who picked through the boxes of donated garbage for stuff to sell. There was a minimum hourly rate of 85 pieces for clothing and 100 for stuff like dishes and knick-knacks. Except you have to sort through boxes and bags of actual garbage to find these things. Sometimes we weren’t allowed to put out certain things like no heavy coats during summer when that’s all anyone donated because it was hot. So you have to somehow, at the speed of sound, tear through these enormous pallets of stuff that you aren’t guaranteed to be able to sell. You have to pick out 85 pieces of clothing, hang them, put a tag on them and write the size on the tag. In an hour. Or, you have to dig through boxes of broken glass and wasps nests (yes really) for a few FILTHY pieces of dishware someone took from granny’s garage after she died, wipe the six inches of dirt off them with Windex, then put a sticker on them.
It was impossible and no one could meet the rate all the time but for some reason, the witch manager decided she didn’t like me and I got wrote up for it like five times before I stopped showing up. The witch can do it herself if it’s so easy.
After finding used tampons, needles, rotten food, actual dog crap, period stained panties, and the crown jewel: Very Obviously Used Adult Toy, I can wholly recommend you do not wear Goodwill clothes without washing them first. My first day working there, I stuck my hand in a trash bag of clothes only to find they were drenched in pee. The next day I woke up with an infected finger! I wouldn’t wish that job on anyone.”
He Was Fired For Having Safety Concerns
“I was with a company for five months and saw a lot of safety issues. After careful consideration, I wrote a letter detailing my concerns and included suggestions of ways to deal with those concerns. I gave it to my boss on a Monday and he was going to take it to the general manager later that day to set up a meeting. Well, the day ended without having that meeting so I went home.
The next day, I went into work and was handed a termination letter saying that I was being let go for high absenteeism. I did miss some work the month before because my wife’s dad died during my probationary period and we had to go back to her hometown to deal with that. Funny, though, that the week before I was fired, I’d been given a letter stating that I had successfully completed my probation and was being given a raise, as per my written contract. I took this to a lawyer, who said I had a good case against them, but due to the short period of time I’d worked there, it wasn’t going to be worth pursuing in court. Not the best outcome, but it didn’t matter in the long term.”
“I had a babysitting job when I was in high school.
This woman’s 9-year-old daughter was bigger than me by 4 inches and 25 lbs. She pushed me down the stairs, tried to drown me in the pool by grabbing my hair and yanking my head down, threw a puppy in the pool inside a pillowcase, locked me outside when I jumped in to get it, and smashed my cell phone when I tried answering her mom’s call. I got fired for ‘leaving her alone inside while I was in the pool’ and ‘failing to answer my phone/turning my phone off.’
That witch didn’t replace my phone because her little angel would never!”
Fired Over Apples Pies
“Way back when I was a teen, I did the whole fast food thing as a job. Now at this one place, there was a girl working in the kitchen who was mentally handicapped. I came back from a break and she went on a break. The deep fryer beeped and I pulled up a basket of apple pies. At this chain, you coat them with cinnamon and sugar. So I did.
All of a sudden this girl is back there screaming at me because I ‘tried to murder’ her. Apparently, one of those pies was for her and she can’t have sugar. I did not know this.
Oh, and she was the manager’s niece. So I got fired for workplace harassment or some nonsense.
I didn’t care much as I had another job lined up so I burnt my bridges but good leaving there.
I suppose it could have been a combination of things but every single job I’ve had, I’ve been promoted to supervisory positions or management, so I think I have a good work ethic.”
The Graveyard Shift
“I worked as an overnight stocker for a grocery store. I was in high school. I originally asked for a cashier position on applications but they called me and offered this position instead. I needed money so I just accepted the interview request.
During the interview, I made it very clear that I wanted it to be a part-time job, especially because it was overnight and I was in high school. Work started at 10 pm, and for full-timers, the shift ended at 6 am (2 hours before school started). They scheduled me for four hours a day per week, so 20 hours total, exactly as much as I wanted.
I worked bulk everyday. I was able to finish all of my lanes within my work time every day. I would swipe out of work at about 2 am every day, 4 hours, exactly what I was scheduled for.
A couple of times at the end of the shift, my boss would ask if I would like to ‘stay overtime to help.’ Every time the question was asked, I would reply with, ‘If you guys need the help, I would gladly stay over, but if you can get it done in time without, I’ll just go home if that is okay.’
He would say, ‘Yeah, we can handle it, you’re good to go.’ I assumed he was understanding that I wouldn’t want to work overtime after I specifically asked for part-time considering I was in high school, and working past 2 am would destroy either my sleep schedule or my social life.
One day in the middle of work, I was called down to his office for him to tell me, ‘You aren’t a team member, I’m going to have to let you go.’ This was my first ever job so I just left and didn’t care, but I always thought his reason was pretty stupid. If you want a full-time worker then hire one, not the high school kid who asked for part-time during the entire interview process.
I graduated high school soon after and got a job as a basic to high-level math tutor at my community college; I got paid less but it was so much more enjoyable as a working experience.”
“Wrong Button Moron”
“Well, I had been working like 30 hours straight at that point, so I was a bit loopy.
I was waiting for the morning manager to finish the checklist before I could leave, and decided to humor myself by changing one of the error messages on the cash register. Something stupid, like ‘Wrong button, moron,’ just to catch people off guard. Big mistake.
Turns out all of the registers were linked together in a way that by saving one change, it replicated the entire setup to all of the other machines. This broke the drive-thru machines… Made them act like normal registers.
Worst was that the only person who could fix it was the CFO, and he was on vacation. He had to get an emergency flight back and spend the day reprogramming the drive-thru.
They didn’t actually fire me, though. Instead, they offered to let me manage a different store – in the middle of nowhere. Or stay at that store but not as a manager. I quit.”
She Filed A False Complaint
“I was a security guard at a rather small university. I got fired for asking a car full of people what they were doing parked in the middle of one of the empty lots at 2 am. I’m a white guy, it was a car full of black women They refused to answer after me asking politely twice, so I calmly left and called my supervisor to see if he knew anything about it. The conversation between myself and the women in the car began with me smiling and asking if they needed help (I thought maybe they pulled into the parking lot and were lost). They immediately said, ‘Eff off,’ so I calmly obliged without a word, left the area, and privately called my supervisor. Us security guys were always asked not to get into an argument without anyone. Just leave (unless someone’s life is in danger) and let the supervisor handle it. We’re not cops, after all, just bodies with keys and phones.
Turns out they were there for a school-sanctioned trip I hadn’t been briefed on, and they were leaving early that morning, so I said, ‘Oh, okay,’ and didn’t bother them again.
The women then decided once they got back from the trip the next day to file a written complaint. The one that filed it stated that A) I referred to them as ‘n-words’ B) threatened to have them arrested if they did not leave and C) threatened to drag them out of the car.
The next morning, I was fired because they all told the college I was harassing them and being racist. Nothing of the sort happened, but the college didn’t want to deal with any potential backlash, so they let me go. I ended up pressing charges against the school and one of the women in the car and won the lawsuit.
Thankfully, I was recording audio of the entire conversation. In our state, it’s legal to do so without two-party consent. Handed that to the judge and he was quick to award summary judgment. The woman that filed the complaint was found guilty of defamation and perjury. The school settled before any proceedings started.
I don’t know why they did what they did, but I handled the interaction cheerfully and respectfully. They did not and doubled down on lies that ultimately cost me my job. Whether or not they had a bad experience with a cop in their past doesn’t make that okay.”
That Job Sucked, Period
“It was my first real, paying job, and I was a camp counselor at a summer camp.
One of the girls lost her tampon in the pool – it was her first time using one and she hadn’t inserted it correctly. One of the younger counselors found it.
The other counselor proceeded to swing it around over her head and make a huge scene about the tampon floating in the pool. The poor 11-ish-year-old who’d lost her tampon just about died of shame and ran to hide in the poolhouse.
I got fired for demanding that the other counselor stop what she was doing, get out of the pool, and go apologize. Apparently, it was not the place of a unit leader to issue commands to other counselors. Particularly not if they were well-liked by the campers or happened to be the director’s underage niece.
I still feel like I wasn’t really in the wrong. She was being an enormous jerk to a kid who was already having a really horrible time. If I were put in that same position today, over a decade later, I’d probably do the same thing but with more cursing this time.
Kid, if you’re out there and reading this, I’m still really sorry I couldn’t do more to stick up for you. You didn’t deserve being shamed like that. Periods suck, and it takes practice to get tampon use right. That witch was only 14 herself and had no right to even be employed by the camp in the first place. You kids deserved better.”
“We Will No Longer Require Your Services”
“I was 18 years old working in a factory. At the end of my shift, I was to break down my machine and clean it. I figure out that I could turn the 30-minute task into a 2-minute task.
I did it and at the end of the day showed the manager. Pointing out how much money I saved them for a triple shift day. He asks me why I didn’t suggest this idea before doing it, being 18 I thought saying this was brilliant:
‘If I had asked, you would have said no, and I wasn’t sure it would work, so I tried it out and it does work.’
After the ten-minute drive home, I had a ‘we will no longer require your services’ voicemail waiting for me.
Factory workers aren’t supposed to do unauthorized modifications to machines. They are supposed to run ideas like this before trying it. What if it hadn’t worked? What if it shut down a machine for days? I was wrong in doing that and mouthing off about it. I had a new job within a few hours. I am an automation engineer now. It has treated me well as a profession.”
He Was Fired Twice
“I was working at an amusement park. Awful job, 0/10 would not recommend. To give an example of how terrible they were, the office wouldn’t give me a week off for college orientation. They just wouldn’t. I told the girl point blank when she refused, that’s cool, but I’m not coming into work. They ended up writing me up every day I was gone and I came back to a week of write-ups. Luckily, my supervisor was cool and tossed them.
When I gave my two weeks notice, the witchy office lady wasn’t happy. I was like, I’m leaving for college. Live with it. The next week, I noticed she’d scheduled me past my last day, so I went in to talk to her about it. She acted all rude about it and when I checked my schedule again, she’d not only left them, but changed my shifts for the last week so my hours were much worse than normal. Didn’t bother to inform me, either.
Never went back. Got a call two days later saying I would be written up if I didn’t return to work. Ok, cool, I’ve already quit.
The day I was leaving for college, they called again (musta been desperate for employees I guess) and told me if I wasn’t there in an hour, I was fired. I just hung up at that point.”
He Didn’t Want To Lie To People
“I was in Santa Cruz and really needed a job. Found a job for CALPIRG, some Greenpeace style nonsense.
I was hired to go door-to-door soliciting donations for bank reform. Yeah, bank reform. Like, ‘Hey stranger, banks are really crooked – wanna give me a donation to like…make that stop or something?’ When they sent us out on our own, we were supposed to make $200 in donations in 8 hours. I just walked around smoking and donated $20 of my own money because I just felt so bad about going door-to-door and bothering people. My friend who I lived with/started the job with did EXACTLY the same thing. We both went back at the end of the day and the manager fired us simultaneously in the nicest way possible. He says, ‘Hey, you guys seem like cool dudes – but…yeah it ain’t gonna work. We’ll pay you for the day.'”
(Not The Best Story To Tell At That Time) “…A Ton?”
“I sold vacuum cleaners for a week.
I was shadowed by this kid who had worked there for a while and he was supposed to go with me to a woman’s home who ‘won’ a free carpet cleaning, which was basically the setup for a lengthy sales pitch. This dude starts talking about the vacuum, but then he decides it’s a good idea to small talk with her.
For whatever reason, he tells this story about when he used to work as the guessing game person who tries to figure out how old someone is or how much they weigh. He says that this overweight lady came up to him (the woman that he was speaking to was also obese) and wanted him to guess how much she weighed. He goes, ‘Uhhh, I don’t know…a ton?’
The woman looked at both of us and said, ‘I would like you to leave now.’ I stared at him in shock as we picked up all these stupid vacuum pieces off the floor and put it in my car.
I dropped his butt off at the office and never went back.”