Human Resource employees are trained to deal with different types of situations. From employee disputes to weird behavior, they'll have to deal with it all. That training comes definitely in handy during those incidents. Just ask these Redditors.
Human Resource workers share the craziest thing they've seen on the job. Content has been edited for clarity,
A Valid Concern
“Our benefits team made the decision to eliminate reserved parking, as lots of employees were frustrated when they walked past dozens of empty spots in the reserved lots every day. This new policy applied to all of the company’s locations.
Of course, the benefits manager received hundreds of complaints in the first few days from people insisting they needed an exception for their own personal spot. The best reason by far was from one person who ‘needed a spot close to the door because they were terrified of bobcats.’
No other context. We didn’t have bobcats near the corporate office, so at first we thought they meant construction equipment? Turns out there actually were sightings of bobcats, like the animal, near this person’s location.
Last I heard, they were told to arrive earlier to get a closer spot and didn’t get an exception.”
“Horrible Situation All Around”
“There was a mid level supervisor at a state agency I NEVER got along with. Guy was nasty, argumentative, real piece of work, but still had a decent amount of people loyal to him.
I come in one day and he’s not there, everyone was distraught. Turns out Law Enforcement had come after the guy- caught him red-handed trafficking child photos.
Rather than arrest him immediately, they gave him the option to return home, settle his affairs, maybe call his lawyer. He took the opportunity to simply hang himself in his own garage instead.
The next couple of weeks was just damage control among the staff when the details came out. Horrible situation all around.”
He Had No Idea How Bad It Was
“An employee (from a different country and culture) never showered. He said that where he comes from, they shower about once a month. His coworkers complained of the smell, which was gaggingly offensive. His supervisor eventually sent him home, and told him he couldn’t come back until he showered.
It was a union business and the guy filed a grievance with the union steward. They came into my office, which has a camera because it was where we had all major disciplinary meetings.
The moment they walked into my office, I almost gagged from the smell. It was suffocating. I had two chairs in front of my desk and I asked them to take a seat while I went and pulled his file. When I left, I pulled the door closed behind me.
I went to my boss’s office, told him the situation and asked him to pull up the camera in my office. It was hilarious.
The Union steward was holding his shirt over his nose and telling the guy, ‘Dang dude! You’re killing me! You’ve got to take a shower!’
After letting them marinate in the stench for about 10 minutes, I went back in and the Union steward retracted his grievance and agreed to send the guy home.”
A Total Accident
“I used to work at a staffing agency that placed people at manufacturing positions. Everyone had to be substance tested at the office as part of the orientation. If the pee cup came back as ‘inconclusive,’ we’d send the potential hire to a medical lab. They would take another test and the lab could determine if the person was on a prescription or using illegal substances (and therefore, not eligible for hire).
So one guy failed his test at the lab. He came back to the office claiming that it wasn’t his fault. He explained that he was riding in a car and he stuck his head of the window. Then, when the car passed under a bridge, someone threw a bunch of crack off the bridge, it hit him in the face, and he accidentally inhaled it.”
Don’t Mess With Grandma
“I heard about him through the grapevine. He was fired from his last job for touching himself in the break room. Somehow, he was hired to my company, God knows why, because I haven’t heard a single good thing about from anyone ever.
His job was to sweep the floor of our factory. That’s not back breaking work. It’s pretty much endless, but you can take it slow and have time to chit-chat with other employees and roam around. We have retired and disabled people who do that job and they are fine with it.
In the first three weeks he was there, I got so many write ups (extended break time, job not done after multiple request, smoking on the job and not in designated area, constantly on his phone), complaints (dirty and inappropriate joke, body odor), OSHA violations (not wearing PPE), about him, it was hard to keep track. So I did what I always do. Fast track his termination and send it to the head of HR.
I hear nothing about it until a few weeks later, I start receiving complaints about him again. I go see the head of HR, asking if those were just delayed paperwork because in my mind he was fired weeks ago. Turns out, he was never fired. He was the nephew of the head of HR. She transferred him to another department. She took every complaint about him directly, except one that got to me. He was now a security guard, but not like you see in music festival. He was a button operator. He operated the button to let the people in the factory and kept track of everybody that entered or left the site. He was under training with the sweetest old lady there is. Everybody, even the CEO call her ‘Grandma’ because she just so sweet.
I encounter Grandma on break one day, and she look disturbed. It was not her usual break time, so I ask her what she’s doing in the break room alone so early.
She tell me, ‘It’s the new hire’s…. personal time.’
I ask her what she means. She tell me, ‘Well, you know, I made lots of complaints about it… Haven’t you read them?’
I say, ‘No, none of them got to me!’
She look disturbed, and almost like she was going to start crying. She then tells me. Since he was transferred to her, he noticed there was a computer at his post, to log ins and outs. Bear in mind, this computer does not connect to the internet. Well the second day, while Grandma went to the bathroom, he started touching himself, with adult videos he brought from home on a flash drive. She caught him, and he acted like it was no big deal. In the weeks that followed, he continued to touch himself on the job to the point where he would not even stop when Grandma caught him.
He told her: ‘I don’t give a care if you watch, but if you don’t want to see it just leave.’
So she made a schedule, where every two hours she would leave for 15 minute for him to do his business.
I was furious and went straight to the head of HR with it. I told her that Grandma had gotten a lawyer and was threatening to sue the company. I knew it was false, but that’s the only thing that could make thing move. The matter was transferred to the legal department, and he was fired that very morning. The head of HR still argued that without proof, we could not fire him. The meeting ended with her storming out and saying: ‘Fine, do whatever you want.’
She quit a few months after that.”
A Big Miscommunication
“I got a call from a woman I’d never spoken to, asking when she could start. She’d received a job offer after interviewing with a manager for a customer service position, she told me, but no one ever contacted her about a start date or pre-employment processes like a background check, and it had been a month.
After a lengthy investigation, it came out that this manager had fabricated a job opening and offered it to this woman in an attempt to impress her. She quit her job (but, it should be noted, did not respond to the manager’s romantic overtures) with the expectation of joining my company. She got a settlement (with an NDA) and the guy who ‘hired’ her got fired.
There was also a guy who faked his son’s death for some extra PTO.”
He Didn’t Think That One Through
“We had a guy start and immediately start using his work computer to watch adult videos. Now this immediately caused some alarms to go off in IT. So because it was my job to keep an eye on stuff like this, I decided to do this guy a solid because it was his first day and physically go to his office and tell him he couldn’t do that at work.
Guy gets super furious at me and storms off to HR to lodge a complaint against me for trying to tell him how to do his job.
Dude gets fired because he stormed into HR and told them how the IT guy was trying to tell him that he couldn’t watch adult videos in the privacy of his office.”
Ben Lost His Cool
“A while back, at a very sales-focused company, it was crunch time for basically every department. Lots of orders, lots of money made but with a bunch of pressure to deliver on those orders. Tensions were a bit high, so we (HR) did a few things to raise morale and keep people happy; we had some lunches catered in, donuts and coffee brought in for people, just small things to bring the mood up. After a week or two of this kind of atmosphere in the office, I get notified by one of the sales managers to hold a disciplinary meeting for one of sales guys who had been around for a few years.
I knew this guy (call him ‘Dave’) but never really talked to him much, seemed alright, not one of the ones I’d expect to be a troublemaker. What surprised me was that this meeting apparently also included one of the newer sales guys (‘Ben’), out of college for maybe a year, and also not one of the ones I’d expect to cause trouble. Turns out Dave had been coping with the stress of the office by sneaking into empty conference rooms with his cellphone and ‘enjoying’ some adult films – IT said that since he did it on his own phone, they couldn’t track it. Well Ben stumbles across him, which you’d think would just make an awkward moment and maybe a report to HR… but instead, maybe due to stress of his own, started loudly yelling at Dave to stop slacking off and started taking swings at him.
This broke out into a fistfight in the room, which drew a crowd and ultimately broke some of our video conferencing equipment. After a minute someone managed to get the two of them apart… which calmed things down for about 10 seconds before someone made a joke about Dave throwing punches with the same hand he had been touching himself with, which somehow provoked Ben to lunge at him again and take another swing before being restrained.
The weirdest part? After the meeting and like a week of internal discussion, during which both sales guys kept working to keep orders rolling in, we had to make a decision. Our department head had carefully gone over the rules and relevant laws (assault charges and things) and determined that Ben be terminated for assaulting an employee, but Dave not be fired and instead required to attend harassment training to keep his job.
As a result, a week later, we had to send an office-wide e-mail informing people that referring to the incident in vulgar terms – off the record, my favorite was ‘Dave, you beat that kid like you were beating your meat in there’ – was technically grounds for warning under our harassment policies.”
Did They Forget About The Bathroom?
“I worked closely with HR in a call center. You’d get some crazy stuff.
Guy that carried a cooler every day was wiping poop on random walls and desks. It was his poop in his cooler. We thought it was his lunch. He got caught when he wiped it on the front desk directly in sight of the camera.
Another guy had a colostomy bag that he refused to empty when it got full. You would find these trails of liquid poo randomly, and we had to throw out four chairs that he ruined. He was fired quickly and tried to claim discrimination because he was a veteran.
You’d also get a crazy amount of period stains on chairs. Look, it happens, but when it’s the same few people (and we have free sanitary supplies in the bathroom!) you know they just don’t care.”
Why Would He Do That?
“I work HR for a call center. Entire company has around 500 employees, maybe 250 of them are in the call center. Entry level work, tiny bit more than minimum wage. A girl started her first week doing really well and then week two got really weird. She walked into the CEO’s office (on another floor in the building) WHILE HE WAS MEETING WITH SOMEONE, to demand that he buy her a dog because she thought having a companion would improve her work performance. That was the entirety of her rationale.”
“I work at my family’s business in the industrial sector, and HR is one of the hats I wear.
2018 was insanely busy for us, so we had to hire a staffing agency to get some General Labor guys in. It’s a simple wax-on, wax-off kind of job.
The most memorable part of that hectic summer was one temp that the agency sent over for 3rd shift (Midnight-8AM). We will call him ‘Bobby’ for this story. Bobby shows up wearing nothing but a pair of cargo shorts, so we had to provide pants, shirt, and steel toes. Come break time at 4, he decided to go out to the parking lot and scale the building (about 30 feet, probably climbed a tree or something), had a smoke and managed to turn the security camera away from the parking lot.
Bobby then walked away from the job and went home in the uniform and boots we provided for him. We assumed he wanted to break into some cars, but nothing was gone. Ended up costing probably $300 for training, uniform and just wasting our time.”
They Messed Up So Many Times
“I used to work in HR at a large corporation.
There was a big HR back-office team doing a lot of processing and data entry, including employee’s bank info for their salary. It just so happened that on the same day, two employees with the same name started, and a huge mess ensued.
First the banking information was entered for the wrong person, one of them realized and had it corrected, but the other wasn’t fixed so both salaries went to one person
The unpaid guy started refusing to come to work, but payroll said that the payment cleared and the account was in his name, so he was terminated for refusing to come to work.
He kept calling and the HR support team kept misidentifying him as the other guy who was still working for us, so when they raised a ticket to get his bank information changed they changed the info of the wrong guy. So now the guy who doesn’t work for us is getting paid the salary of a guy who does.
When this was finally worked out the first guy was given his job back, but on his first day back security misidentified him and issued him a badge of the other employee, so now he was clocking hours for the other guy and not getting paid again because he never clocked in for himself.
It took about 3 months for all this to be worked out. Moral of the story is use a freaking email address to identify people.”
He Didn’t Know Who She Was
“Years ago, I worked HR for a retail store. A manager would always clock out on time, however the alarm wouldn’t be set until about 30-45 min after he clocked out. Since we had a lot of trouble with internal theft, we assumed he was stealing. Loss prevention approved the installation of cameras across all stores, but we were told not to talk about it to see if we could catch any internal theft.
The way the ceiling was set up, the cameras weren’t too obvious but if you knew what to look for it was quite noticeable. Anyway turned out this dude was banging a co-worker who was 16 (he was 25 expecting his first child with his wife). I didn’t see the footage but our regional manager of loss prevention did and had to turn it over the police. The real kicker is the girls dad was a captain on said police force.”
Not A Friendly Neighbor
“I was an HR manager for a small company that shared an office with a mid-sized business. Their HR manager really disliked us, mainly because our company cultures really clashed. It wasn’t a big deal for a long time, maybe just a little tense, until one day they decided to terminate one of the shared administrative staff members. I wasn’t part of this decision, though I agreed with it, and technically that was their employee. The other HR Manager (let’s call her ‘Cheryl’) calls me into her office to inform me the next morning that this admin had been let go. Cheryl made it clear, I was not to e-mail our company’s employees and inform them of the change in employment status.
As she put it. ‘They’ll find out when they get in and she isn’t here, and if they don’t, well that’s not my problem.’
Lovely. That is not how handle communication matters in my company, and I was completely uncomfortable with it.
So I go to a VP and discuss what we should do. He says to hold off for a day, let everything settle, then go back and work out a strategy with Cheryl on how to redirect employees who used the old admin until we can hire a new one. Most of our employees, unlike theirs, work out in the field, so it would be important to communicate with those individuals specifically, but it could hold a day. We knew that the old e-mail for the admin was being forwarded to Cheryl, so at least someone was watching the e-mails in case something critical came through. Ok, cool.
Not two hours later, Cheryl comes barreling into the cubical area of our office screaming about how our employees are idiots. They clearly are too dumb to understand that the employee who was terminated the night before was no longer with the company. She was sick of getting our stupid e-mails, and didn’t want to have to deal with our incompetent employees e-mailing her non-stop. I was a horrible HR manager, I didn’t know how to control my people. I clearly wasn’t able to handle my job. Just insulting me, our employees, the entire company at the top of her psychotic lungs.
I was clearly to blame, and she was going to get me in so much trouble. She goes running into the CEO’s office, and starts flipping out about me. It was a complete mess. She had freaking set me up as a scapegoat in case her lovely approach to HR went wrong, and when it did immediately, tried to throw me under the bus for something she did! I believe that someone had sent the admin a time-critical e-mail the night before, and Cheryl hadn’t caught it, and the deadline had passed for the item by maybe 15 minutes before she actually opened the request.
Thankfully I’d already talked to the VP, who was a lifesaver. Cheryl was reminded that whatever had happened was her own dang fault, and she was told behind closed doors that if she ever did that again, our company would be logging major complaints with her company, and the CEO’s of the two companies were close friends.
She told every new hire they had that our company was full of lazy, entitled people, and actively encouraged hostility between people in each company. She forbid our company from going into their part of the office, despite the shared (and partially paid for by us) soda fridge being over there. Would host ‘office lunches’ for her company, and bring the leftovers across the hall to other companies so that our employees couldn’t get some. It was the most petty, childish reaction to her attempt to slander me and get me in trouble.
We moved offices in under six months.”
The Secret Came Out
“We had a woman who was terrible at her job, always off sick, never met a deadline. Protocol was followed. Because some people had given her half decent staff reviews to get rid of her, she called in the union to support her. This dragged the process. Then when she got the final papers, she sent them back saying she couldn’t be fired, she was pregnant. This woman was 54. It turned out she had frozen eggs so she defrosted them. The process proving no discrimination then began.
Six months go by, she gets served again. We worked at an organization, big building in Manhattan hence terrible beaurocracy. Papers come back, and she claims she never got them. Turns out she had provided a false passport when hired, she was actually in her 60s. In the end they gave her early retirement to get it over with.”
An Interesting Fascination
“This happened a couple of years ago when I worked in HR at a smallish company.
It was Memorial Day weekend, and I was typing away on the computer when all of a sudden I heard someone very loudly say, ‘OH MY GOD WHAT?!’
This employee proceeds to go into a conference room so that their voice is muffled but they scream again and loudly say, ‘WELL, DID THEY RECOVER THE BODY?’
I hear rustling from around my cube, and same employee talks to their boss, wishes them a Happy Memorial Day Weekend and that they have to leave early. This employee proceeds to wish me and a few other of my coworkers a cheery ‘Happy Memorial Day weekend!’ and leaves.
My mind races thinking I’m going to have to report said employee for being an accomplice to murder or something, but a few minutes later, from my cube, I overhear a couple of other employees talk about how said employee had to leave because one of their friends who was visiting had fallen into the Grand Canyon!
Later at lunch, I’m talking with my coworkers about the situation when my coworker casually says, ‘Oh yeah, my uncle died the same way.’
She goes further to explain that her family was from a different country and that whenever she talks to her mom (who lives in a different country) about going hiking at the Grand Canyon, her mom always says, ‘Why are you so fascinated by the hole in the ground where your uncle died?’
A few other weird things happened while I was working at that same company, including me having to do a more intense background check on someone because they had the same name as someone on a wanted list of some sort, and a weird older guy creeping on the interns.”