Work somewhere long enough and you'll see at least one person get fired. It's just a matter of time before people slip up, cause some damage, or commit a felony and are forced to sign their walking papers.
A Reddit thread recently asked people to share their craziest stories about their coworkers who got fired. While some of these people probably could have gotten off with a warning, most of these terminations were more than justified. After reading each of these stories, it's easy to see why some businesses, and industries as a whole, have such high turnover rates. For the sake of clarity, all posts have been edited.
"Many years ago, an architect in my firm hooked up with a secretary after a party. One thing lead to another, and they end up doing it on the main conference table in the center of the office in the middle of the night.
The next day, the architect was confronted by the head of security who had CCTV footage of the event which he threatened to reveal to the firm leadership. Instead of being blackmailed, the architect went directly to the leadership himself.
The leadership felt that blackmail was much worse than getting lucky on a desk, and the head of security was fired immediately."
"I was working at a big box retail electronics store and we were having an all hands on deck type of meeting.
We learned that management fired a guy right before the meeting, and before the guy walked out, he stood up in front of the crowd and said, 'Well, I'm going to miss you all. These idiots fired me because they think I've been stealing stuff, and well, I haven't!'
Right as he finished, an iPod Touch came tumbling out of his hoodie's pocket and hit the floor. It was sealed in its box with the company's inventory and antitheft stickers still on it."
"I worked in HR for many years and have been a part of any number of interesting job exits, but for me, the one that stands out most was having to fire a woman who was quite obviously a victim of domestic abuse.
She had frequent absences and tardies, sometimes could not be physically able to perform, sometimes could not be mentally able to perform, and her spouse called and visited the workplace a disruptive number of times. Her management and co-workers were very compassionate and protective towards her and were constantly working to get her away from the situation. But when he began threatening employees, mentioning his arsenal of weapons, and stalking the office to the point police were called multiple times, they finally escalated the situation to our office. Leadership was livid that they had waited so long to communicate to HR, because now it was too late to help the woman; the risk to the rest of the workers was just too great.
To the company's credit, they did ultimately try to arrange a shelter escape for her, which she refused. Within about 45 days, we rolled out an addition to the Employee Assistance Program and changes to our security escalation procedures."
"So a couple years ago, my husband worked for a security company. One of his main security sites was a very secluded equipment yard for the gas and electric company.
He worked a 12-hour graveyard shift by himself every night out at the yard. Strange things started happening around the yard, namely a few of the big (and very expensive) generators started to go missing.
Then one night, my husband and I were sitting on the couch watching a movie and he got a call from his boss. Apparently, some woman had just called my husband's boss from my husband's phone number, claiming to be my husband's girlfriend and chewing out his boss. His phone had been on the table right in front of us the entire time, and he wasn't on it at all.
So then we found out that my husband's coworker had been calling his boss telling him that my husband was doing all this crap that he wasn't doing at all.
The climax of this all happened when the boss finally started getting suspicious of the coworker, and decided to search Craigslist for the generators that had gone missing from the job site.
Lo and behold! They were listed for sale, and the contact name and number were none other than the coworker himself.
The next day, they had police waiting for him at the job site when he arrived.
We found out that this guy had been plotting and working over the boss and my husband the entire year, hoping to cover his tracks and make my husband look guilty, like he was the one that was stealing equipment."
"Sort of a nasty story, but it happened to a manager I had working at another company.
They hired someone's 'mentally challenged' nephew as a fork truck driver. Shortly after, they noticed a lot of stuff showing up as damaged and questioned him about it. He refused to admit it was him, and they asked him if he hit anything or noticed damage to just report it.
Three weeks later, more damage showed up around the place such as poles being hit or clipped and product with fork holes in it. My manager was pushing the paperwork though to terminate him because he was a poor fork truck operator.
Just days prior to the paperwork being signed and him being terminated, he drove off the end of a loading dock and tried to jump from the fork truck. He didn't clear it and it fell on him and crushed him.
They warned him multiple times about putting pallets on loading dock plates and common sense should say not to put pallets in front of an open dock door. Sadly, if this was any other person and not a relative, he would have just been fired. Getting his uncle's permission to fire him ended up costing him his life.
My supervisor was upset about it and blamed himself for not pushing harder to have the kid fired. But every time he said something, HR just told him no and they weren't going to do anything about it until someone reported more damage. He shouldn't have been operating machinery to begin with.
It was a very fraternal hiring type of company. The people higher up were almost all related in some fashion and the people out on the floor were almost always related or knew someone in the offices.
From what my manager told me, a lot of people working there shouldn't have been hired in the first place."
"I had a co-worker who was into arm wrestling. We're talking arm wrestling competitions and everything. He would take anybody on, and almost always won. Most people just stayed pretty far away from him, he was pretty nuts.
The cleaning crew didn't know how nuts he was, as they only came in at night, shortly before the regular employees left. Our arm wrestling buddy was working one night when the cleaning crew arrived. I was on the sales floor by myself. The store was quiet. All of a sudden, there was an audible POP that came from the backroom, and seconds later, one of the cleaning crew came running onto the floor, crying and clutching his broken elbow.
Arm wrestling buddy came out a second later saying, 'I feel bad for the guy, but he had terrible form.'
I never saw him again."
"I was one of three people who opened a Dunkin' Donuts at 5 am every day, which meant we had to be there at 4:30 for prep. Let me describe the other two. One was a dealer who also cooked for the Applebee's across the street on most nights, pretty chill guy, customers liked that he played Frank Sinatra on his phone which drowned out the soul-sucking pop radio station that was on repeat. The other person was a 30-year-old addict who was horribly abrasive to everyone and had a 2-year old with a deadbeat baby's daddy.
A combination of two of us opened the store each day. On days that these two people opened, there was always a shortage of hash browns at 6 am. No one knew why. Until one day, when I showed up to work (had a later shift) and neither of them were at work. Apparently, no one had unlocked the door to let customers in at 5 am. This led to the manager being phoned and she came in early to find my coworkers passed out naked in the freezer in the basement. They would both get in at 4:30 am, go downstairs in the freezer where there were no cameras, smoke, and then bang.
They were hired back a week later because no one wants to open Dunkin' Donuts."
"Not my own company but a competitor in the same city. After one particularly wild industry party, a couple of guys from this company picked up some street walkers and went back to their office. There was banging, there was drinking, there was everything — apparently, it was a pretty crazy time.
At one point, the guys from the office went into the stairwell to go up to the second floor to get more supplies. Being that it was 3 or 4 in the morning, the stairwell exit was locked and required a security key fob — which none of these employees happened to have on them. Presumably their keys were in their pants which had long been removed. Anyway, after the employees locked themselves into their office stairwell, the girls ransacked the office, stealing laptops, monitors, and whatever else they could get their hands on.
The guys were let go the next day, but not before becoming part of advertising folklore.
"We had been noticing a lot of tools going missing at work, like thousands of dollars worth of drills, batteries, saws, that type of stuff. We are a pretty large manufacturing facility, but our processes hadn't caught up to our size yet, so nothing was really tagged or identified, which made it hard to track.
I was working in one of our shops and the supervisor came in and grabbed one of the apprentices and asked him to come with him. Now this kid was always a pretty decent guy, pretty funny and not a bad worker. We all knew he was kind of a mess though and had a lot of bad habits so when he got asked to go, we started to put it together that he must have been the one stealing stuff to pay for his habits and that he was getting let go.
He came back a little bit later and confirmed that he was fired and grabbed a couple of things but didn't touch his tools. Very odd considering that's how we make our living. One of the guys asked if he was going to take them and all he said was, 'Nope, don't need em...but watch for me in the news.' Then he left.
We kind of looked at each and laughed, figured he was just upset and that he'd come back and grab them when he calmed down.
It turns out he had some relationship issues going on along with the rampant substance abuse, which he had even more time to enjoy now that he had no job. He ended up assaulting the girlfriend and when she split in her car, he ran down the street to a convenience store and carjacked some poor lady's ride (she managed to get out before he took off).
The four days following were pretty crazy; apparently he was randomly committing crimes with no real idea of what he was doing. Lots of random B&E’s and at one point he was confronted by a home owner to which our hero whipped out a meat cleaver and threatened to kill him. It was pretty crazy seeing someone’s face that you just worked with a few days prior plastered all over the news, although I guess he called it, right?
It all came to a head when an undercover officer spotted him in yet another stolen vehicle on the highway. The cop flashed his badge to try and get him to stop and stop he did...by ramming the police car and forcing them both onto a side road.
The poor officer was assaulted with a baseball bat before getting everything under control via taser and some backup. The guy received a decently long jail term for his efforts and I’ve never heard from him since."
"While I was in the Navy, two friends of mine got fired for stealing a fishing boat and crashing it. We were stationed in Sasebo, Japan, and were out drinking and hanging out at this local beach. My friend 'Dutch' was already pretty wasted when he came up to a group of us, giggling to himself. He said that he and another guy were going to take a boat out.
At first, we thought he meant some of the small kayaks that were on the beach. What he actually meant was a full sized Japanese fishing trawler down the beach a ways at a dock. So this big trawler fired up and sped off across the inlet and slammed into the rocks. We were all staring at it wondering what just happened. Not long after, the Japanese police showed up and found Dutch and the other guy passed out on the boat.
Those two geniuses got arrested. And just their luck, they got arrested right before Golden Week. A time when everything shuts down for a bunch of holidays in Japan. And since the command was not too happy about the whole situation, they got to sit in jail for two weeks.
Needless to say, they got canned."
"I work as a shift supervisor at a call center doing academic research studies, so the work is not super fun and gets pretty repetitive. Lots of people quit after working here for a few months, but we've had two really weirdo quitting stories:
One was a young woman, who I think had some emotional problems. She used the supervisors as therapists and would corner you for like 10 minutes and cry about her crazy roommate, her crazy parents, and all other sorts of stuff. She really disliked one of the other supervisors and one day after being asked to call a project she didn't like, she went nuts on this supervisor and screamed at her in front of about 10 other people. When she was confronted by the field supervisor and told she would be let go, first she denied the incident ever happened, and then when she was asked to leave the building, she pretended to trip on the chair she was sitting in and claimed her ankle was broken and we owed her workman's compensation or she'd sue us. She was committed to the lie, and sat in the hallway screaming and crying for about five minutes saying she needed an ambulance. But my field supervisor doesn't mess around and saw through the bull, and as soon as he dialed 911, she miraculously got up and walked away quickly. She went on to file an unemployment claim for wrongful termination. She lost.
We had this other dude who worked for us for about four months. He seemed pretty normal and spoke Spanish, so he got paid more than most people. One day, he came to work, placed about five calls, and then just got up and walked out 30 minutes in to his shift. He didn't say a word to anyone, didn't even shut down his computer, just went out the door like he was going to the bathroom and never returned. We called him for like a week to see if he was okay and he never answered, and no one ever saw him again - not even on campus or around the city. Personally, I think he was a spy who got activated and is now carrying out some mission. But probably he just hated this job and said 'forget it.'"
"So the company that my dad works for was starting to notice that they were having a much higher electricity bill than the usual. The building was a large data center and kept a pretty accurate look on their electricity usage.
The building was more closely monitored and they started to notice that an employee would leave precisely at 3 pm into a stairway where there weren't any cameras and would disappear for around an hour. In response to that, they placed a hidden camera in the stairwell to find out that the employee was removing a large vent duct and crawling through it to reach a room that was hidden.
The company investigated and found out that there was a very large grow room within this hidden room. The police were contacted and they setup a sting operation so that when he came to check the plants the next week they could catch him in the act.
When the police did the sting operation, the man was caught red-handed and revealed two other accomplices that were helping him. Three employees were arrested on the spot in front of all of their co-workers."
"I was working as a waitress and during my first shift at a new place, I noticed that the kitchen was a little tense. The head chef was off work, so it was the sous chef and apprentice who apparently didn't get along.
Walking in and out, I caught about half of what was going on between them.
The first time I walked in to get food, the sous chef told the apprentice to get bent. The second time, the apprentice was telling the sous chef that he was going to break into his house and murder his entire family. The third time, the sous chef was on the phone arranging for a friend to come and 'get' the apprentice after work.
They were being pretty loud and you couldn't hear it in the five star restaurant but you could from the office, so the owner came through to see what was up. The sous chef told her that he was going to fire the apprentice as soon as service was over, so of course, the apprentice used a knife to slice his finger right down to the bone, and then tried to claim that it was an accident and that the restaurant owed him workers compensation.
When he was called out on doing it on purpose and told that he was fired, he rang out of the back door and wasn't seen by ANYONE for like six months.
The sous chef was later convicted of attempted murder towards his girlfriend."
"I saw a pretty intense situation at work that led to a firing. It was like something out of a movie.
A new guy started in IT (we'll call him John) at my office, and it turned out he was taking annual leave days to run around for his 'Home IT Service' that he worked for on the side. Obviously, the company I worked for frowned on him taking days off to work to go to another job, so his boss decided to confront him.
From what I remember, they were going to give him a warning originally, not fire him. The confrontation was happening in the office down the hall from me and then suddenly I heard the sound of things being thrown. A few of us ran down to the office only to witness John strangling his boss with an extension cord.
Apparently, John was pretty messed up and flipped out when confronted about his side business. The situation went from a simple warning to flat out firing, and there may have been some legal implications as well."
"I worked for Radio Shack one Christmas season while searching for a real job after I got my degree. They cut our commission in half on Black Friday. The manager was an ok guy, but definitely was a corporate lifer. Payday came on Christmas Eve that year and many people didn't have or use auto deposit back in those days. They held off on giving us our checks until after the banks at the mall we worked in were closed. The manager let an employee that lived a couple miles from work go home early, while keeping me and another employee that were driving close to 300 miles for the holiday at work until close.
I drove the 300 miles to spend Christmas at my girlfriend's house. The day after Christmas, which I was scheduled to be on the clock for, I called in sick, telling the manager I had the flu. He said, 'That's ok. We have to let all our seasonal employees go after today.'
They fired all the seasonal help with no notice and they would have let me drive 300 miles back to work one day then fire me at the end of the day. I'm glad I called in sick. I hate Radio Shack and the Tandy corporation to this day."
"A few years ago, I got one of my friends a job at the convenience store where I worked.
It was a 24-hour store and he was the primary overnighter. He would be the only employee on duty, and part of the job description was that he had to take care of the deliveries, so check everything in, price it, and put it all away.
One night, THE OWNER OF THE COMPANY (we're pretty big company in the northeast) decided to pose as part of the truck delivery team. The truck showed up to our store and my friend was outside smoking, horsing around with the regular overnight customers, and just generally paying no mind to the delivery. He went inside after a bit and some customers followed. After signing off the delivery, he was chased around the store by one of the male customers who then held him down and forcibly humped him.
He got a call the next morning and told to come to the store. He was fired on the spot and given whatever money he was owed for the week."
"I used to work as a slot machine attendant at a casino. Every now and then, a co-worker would start stealing tips. Tip money was shared by all department employees, so they were literally taking money out of our pockets. In my five years, I saw three get busted, and heard of a few others
They all would hide $10 or $20 at a time, and surveillance always caught them. Surveillance would notify the gaming regulators, in my state they were highway patrol officers on gaming assignment. Gaming would order a constant monitor, which meant for their entire shift, that employee was recorded. They (surveillance and gaming) would allow the employee to keep stealing until the grand total reached in excess of $500, which was a state felony.
Every time, gaming would call the manager on duty and security. They'd let the employee count into their bank, and as soon as they were on the floor working, they would come in, place the person under arrest - in front of their co-workers and customers - and walk them out through the casino floor in handcuffs.
It was meant to be a lesson for us, but I couldn't imagine the shame and embarrassment of being called out as a thief and a liar in front of my friends. The looks of hate those people got were awful."