It's safe to assume that if you stay with a company long enough you'll see your fair share of firings. Some are necessary for the stability and growth of a company while others seem to serve no purpose than to give management more money to play with. No matter how you look it though, it's never fun for anyone. Well, maybe it's fun for those sadistic members of upper management.
A Reddit thread recently asked people to share the worst firing they've ever been a part of or witnessed, and the responses ranged from maddening to heartbreaking. It's sad to see how little these employers thought of their once devoted employees. All posts have been edited for clarity.
"Management summoned 17 people (20% of the entire workforce) to the operations manager's office at 8 am one Friday. This was the day before the company Christmas party, a party in which we typically receive our bonuses.
Two weeks before Christmas and they were all fired and left with no job and no bonus. Morale wasn't too good.
Two months later, there was another wave of firings. One of the guys was partying in Los Angeles the night before and called in sick. They forced his supervisor to call him repeatedly at home, telling him it was mandatory he showed up. He lived like 40 minutes away, and when he got there, HR was waiting in the parking lot.
Once he parked, they handed him a packet and a check. He turned around and drove 40 minutes back home."
"I worked for this woman who owned a bakery business with several locations. She was a lunatic, but she paid well, and for the most part, I loved my job. I was constantly told I was one of her best employees, and one day, she wanted me to be a manager at one of the stores. Honestly, I gave my all at that job because she paid me well above minimum wage for someone who had no experience in a bakery position prior to being hired, and I enjoyed making cupcakes for a living.
Three weeks before Christmas, she came into the store and told me that if the police showed up to give her a call in her office so she could come upstairs to meet them. Weird, but she was always dealing with something crazy like a customer she insulted or the like. The cops came and she took them into her office to talk to them and that was that. After we closed the store that night, she called me aside and accused me of stealing money out of the register.
She had cameras all over her store and told me she had hidden ones even the employees didn't know about. She 'caught me doing suspicious things' on camera such as taking an envelope off the counter and coming back into the store after I had already locked up to get something I forgot. Just weird and baseless accusations.
She told me she had called the cops on me to file a police report and they would be wanting to talk to me at some point. She then fired me and took away my keys for the store and I left. I was devastated and for the following week, I was a nervous wreck. I had never taken anything from her, ever.
I later found out from a friend who still worked there she told every single employee I stole $3,000 dollars from her, and probably stole her checkbook as well because it was 'missing.' She also told everyone who still worked there they weren't allowed to talk to me at all. That also really upset me because I really enjoyed my coworkers, but I knew most of them were so afraid of her, and losing their jobs if they didn't bend to her every whim they just obeyed. For weeks after being fired, she'd randomly call and text me and if I didn't immediately answer, she would call and text my girlfriend and threaten to have the police come to our house if I kept 'ignoring her.'
She stopped for a while, but two weeks ago, she started harassing me again trying to set up some sort of meeting to talk about why she fired me, but I pretty much told her it can be a phone conversation or she can get lost, and I haven't heard from her since. Honestly, I'm waiting for some crazy letter saying she's trying to sue me for god knows what."
"I worked at a place that was sold to investors. They brought in a hotshot CEO to bump up the numbers then sold to our major competitor.
During the transition, about 20 people were let go in one day. The head of HR and the other HR employee spent all day at it. It wasn't easy, since a lot of the employees had been there since the early days. There were tears, some shouting, the awkward, 'Hey, I'm just going to stand here casually while I make sure you don't get weird while you clean out your desk, also, I'm so sorry this is happening,' thing.
After a whole day of that, the head of HR turned to the other HR employee and told her, 'Oh, we're going to have to let you go too.'
You may ask, how did I know there were tears, shouting, etc.? Because that skeezy butthole head of HR shared all the gory details with my coworker the next day, in our open office workspace. She didn't ask, but he needed to tell someone. To this day I get mad thinking about it."
"I was once on vacation when a bunch of people were let go. Workforce reduction was based on seniority by department. When I got back, they sent out an email explaining that all the firings were over and everyone reading the email had nothing to worry about.
I guess they forgot that they still had to fire the guy that was on vacation, though. After reading the 'you're safe' email, I was cleaning out my desk.
The post-firing story is even crazier. Immediately after I left, one of my co-workers went to our boss and told her he was finalizing details to take a new job and hadn't broken the news yet. Our department couldn't lose two people, so they asked me to come back. This was my dream job at the time, so I tore up the firing paperwork, came back and worked there for another eight years, including a promotion, and then left on my own terms when I landed a dreamier dream job.
In the end, me getting 'fired' was me spending a few days at home with full pay."
"A friend of mine helped secure a BIG contract for his company, and one of the incentives for getting contracts was a percentage of the profit.
He just started working there about two months prior and went out on his own several states away to talk to a potential customer from a lead he got at a convention in person, out of his own pocket. He secured the deal, called his supervisor to tell him, was congratulated, then drove 12 hours back home. His payout would have come out to around $40,000 over five years.
He went into work the next day and was fired for 'suspicion of theft,' and the boss of the division (not the supervisor, that guy is lower) would be taking over all his current stuff. He lawyered up immediately, but since he was still on his probationary period and they could fire him without cause, he got nothing but the $3,000 finder's fee.
Basically, his boss tossed him to get some more money."
"When I was in my early 20s, I was about nine months into a job at a retail store and had been working my tail off for a chance to be part of a new department that the store was about to open. I aced my review and I got the promotion to the brand new department. It was going to be more challenging work, it came with a pretty hefty pay bump, I would have my own office, and the work would be impactful to the whole company.
The promotion didn't kick in until the start of the next week. I was laid off that Friday. When they were asked to cut payroll, management literally selected the people who were making the most money. My name was listed next to the salary I hadn't yet received. Instead of admitting that they messed up and keeping their best performing employee at that store, they doubled down and tried to hold my last paycheck ransom until I trained my replacement in the job that I hadn't even done yet.
The store owner just happened to be around that day. Normally he was a very kind man and knew everyone by name. I tried to explain the ridiculous situation to him and he just told me to go home.
In a rare moment of frustration, I said something to the effect of, 'You know, bull like this kills stores.'
He coldly replied, 'Hastings will be around longer than you.'
I guess the joke is on him because Hastings filed for bankruptcy and was forced to close in 2016."
"We had this guy in our department that got fired within three days of starting. On the first day, he had emailed all the females - only the females - and wrote an introduction that resembled an eHarmony profile. Not that bad.
By day two, he was trying to get 'to know' a few select females better. One of them was Lori, who also in my department and who had a healthy sense of humor. She went with it to see how far this guy would go. He made it known that he was attracted to Lori and that he would like to give her a full body massage. According to him, he was quite good at giving them. I should mention at this time that Lori was eight months pregnant. We had a good laugh, but at that point, Lori stopped encouraging the 'Creepy Masseur' as to not get into any trouble for inappropriate use of company property herself.
On the third day, Lori started getting rather explicit texts. She discreetly let us know that she thought it was Creepy Masseur. My coworker, who is not discreet, heard this and loudly announced,'I'll call the number and find out.'
When my coworker dialed, behind us, you could hear the distinct 'Brrr brrrr brrr' of a cell vibrating in someone's pocket. My coworker called again, and again, we heard, 'Brr brrr brrr.' Creepy Masseur's ears turned red and he had a 1,000-yard stare at his monitor.
Lori was a pretty cool chick and could have laughed it off. It was some of us that gave our manager the heads up. Apparently, women in other departments were more disgusted by him and had already complained."
"A very close friend that was working with me at the time was fired in one of the worst ways.
His shift started at 11 pm, mine started at midnight, and we were both given transportation from door to door, meaning, pick up at your house, drop off at the very office, every day. My friend was picked up on time and brought to the office as usual, 15 minutes before his shift started. He was fired on the very spot for some errors he had made that, in my opinion, shouldn't have been grounds to fire him, but for a warning and coaching, but whatever. There were clauses in our original hiring contract, so, it wasn't appealed.
Now comes the bad part.
In my country, the last buses run at 11 pm for most areas, and even earlier in some others, and he lived two cities away. While firing him, they revoked his access to the building and the business center where the building was located. That meant he was was escorted out with no way to get home.
And of course they wouldn't provide transportation as he was no longer an employee, and neither could he wait outside for the buses or even his scheduled morning transport, since by firing him, the system automatically removed him from the travel routes.
It was awful. He texted me and let me know as soon as I got there. A friend had already offered him a place to stay nearby, so I just gave him cash for a cab there instead of to his house."
"I got assaulted by someone after work. In defending myself, the guy's car took some minor damage. I thought nothing of it, went home and then police turned up and arrested me on suspicion of criminal damage.
I was released without charge but told my boss about it just in case. The police had me on bail for like two months whilst they checked evidence putting me well in the clear. Due to form, the cockroach who assaulted me started calling my work trying to get me fired. My boss had my back on it but about a month later, I got called to a meeting about an hour and a half drive away on a Friday afternoon. This was whilst my boss was on holiday.
They made me go through the meeting for nearly an hour before suddenly saying they were going to let me go. Apparently, the person had been writing and phoning in every day. Here is the kicker though - they told me that I was sacked for telling this man to get bent in the process of defending myself. They allowed that I was entitled to defend myself and that I had not been charged with any offense but said that it was unacceptable to swear in my uniform under any circumstances.
I had to leave my work vehicle there and was then miles from home and had to take a taxi back costing me $80. Luckily, when my boss was back off holiday, he got them to refund me that."
"I was participating in a 'service call' that turned out to be the off-boarding process for a pretty large corporation as a contract worker, specifically ensuring that certain information security protocols were undertaken during what turned out to be a pretty large-scale firing.
The day started normally, except that all keycard access beyond the lobby area was restricted. No explanations were supplied, people started crowding up, none of the security or managerial extensions worked. Management showed up about 20 minutes into this, from the front doors, with armed security, and herded everyone into the cafeteria. The cafeteria doors were subsequently locked.
From there, all requests for explanation were declined. People were instructed to sit, and all electronic devices were confiscated and placed into resealable electrostatic bags labelled with the employee's name and identification number, then removed from the cafeteria by security on a cart.
Subsequently, individuals were called alphabetically, one at a time, every five minutes, from approximately 10 am to 6 pm. They were escorted by security into the building. If they were being retained, they were ushered out the back doors, instructed to return to work tomorrow morning, and provided with strong legal threat to neither report the firing or attempt to contact co-workers. Security then ensured they left the property.
Individuals to be terminated were given an exit interview in an otherwise empty conference room while technicians wiped the electronic devices that were confiscated earlier. There were lots of tears, surprise, and bargaining.
Words of comfort like 'you should have performed better,' or 'be a man,' or 'grow up,' were offered by senior management during this process. At one point, an exit interview was paused midway through, and the to-be-terminated employee forced to wait silently at the table, while management grabbed takeout and ate it at another table in the conference room.
If they had a phone, they were given a burner phone with a prepaid contract. If they had a tablet or laptop, it was factory reset and returned to them. If no factory reset could be performed, it was retained and they were informed it would be mailed back to them. All company-issued devices were simply retained without comment or replacement.
They were given the same threats reporting the firing, contacting media, or co-workers, then ushered out the doors via a second exit neither visible to the cafeteria area nor the exit retained personnel were ushered out of. They were then shown off the property in the same fashion as everyone else.
All and all, the entire office minus management got to show up to find the place locked, sit around getting confused and upset for an hour, get herded into a cafeteria where they were essentially detained for eight hours with no communication or entertainment, with everyone being single-file pulled out of the room never to be seen again.
When all was said and done, they had security usher the contractors off-site without sign-off or confirmation of attendance/service provision, and subsequently attempted to duck payment. I almost let it go, as disgusted as I was by what I had been brought on to participate in, but at the end, I was responsible for getting the contract for myself and my colleagues, so I fought it and got us paid a few months down the line.
It's pretty high up there in the list of professional moments where I started to wonder if I'd gotten hit by a bus on the way to work and somehow ended up temping for the devil."
"The previous company I worked for got into financial trouble. The month before, I'd been awarded a considerable raise for 'excellent performance.' But they were losing contracts from customers and not much fresh business was coming through the door.
I walked into work one day without any indication that anything was wrong. My boss had taken the day off and, as it was a Friday, I didn't really think much of it. The next thing I knew, my manager requested to see me in the private office (nothing unusual, we were amidst planning a project) and handed me a letter from my boss to say that I was fired. Coward didn't even have the balls to tell me to my face.
They reasoned that it was due to 'unsatisfactory performance,' when I had not done anything wrong and had previously been awarded a raise for my performance in the company. It was because they needed to cut some costs, and because I was the last one through the door, I was the first out.
By firing me, they were only required to pay me my owed salary and nothing else. Where, had I been laid off, there would have been other financial responsibilities. So by firing me instead of laying me off, it was cheaper for them.
Some of the other guys kept their jobs, but the company has since been liquidated and restarted under a slightly different name.
The funny thing is, I still have FULL access to all of the company and customer systems. They haven't changed any admin passwords since I left. I have full administrator access to PRIMARY SCHOOL computer systems. Good thing I'm not the vindictive type."
"On night shift, a coworker came in and tried to log into the computer system, but it wouldn't work. She was locked out of everything. She'd also had trouble clocking in that same shift.
The lady's supervisor was off that night, so she started freaking out and crying. She said she knew they were looking for a reason to fire her, but when were they planning on telling her? What was she suppose to do now?
Despite multiple people reassuring her that if they were going to fire her, this was not the way they would do it and suggesting there might just be a mistake, she was still determined that she had been fired and they forgot to tell her before they cut her access.
She went home and didn't come in the next night either. She wouldn't answer calls and was out for the rest of the next week.
It turns out they hadn't fired her, but they had been looking for a reason to fire her. Not calling and not showing up for work was enough of a reason, so then she really was fired."
"I was hired at a company back in October by a woman whom I consider the best boss I ever had. Awesome person, great marketer, and we are still friends to this day. Anyway, at the end of December before we went on a New Year break, she told us she was leaving for a much better company. I didn't blame her, the company is awesome.
When we get back, I instantly inherited all of her work and basically became the Director of Marketing without the title. I proceeded to bust my tail to pick up all the new duties, make sure everything is attended to, and try to make a case for being the replacement. Well, the VP went ahead and conducted interviews, we met with some candidates, and ultimately, they hired the one who was my last choice of the four. I didn't like her. She was just off. I took it in stride and just went back to doing my job.
For the next three weeks, I continued doing all of the work I was doing before she arrived, and then some, while teaching her the business and how we did things. Well three weeks ago, I came into the office, went about my routine, and got pulled into an office where I saw HR. I instantly felt sick to my stomach. She then terminated my position due to 'budget' and I was let go. No severance, no real explanation, nothing.
So basically I manned a department for nearly four months, trained the new Director, and was then laid off by her, three weeks into her tenure. Oh, and I found out she quickly replaced me with a friend she had worked with at four other companies."
"My mom worked for a small medical practice that was fast on its way to bankruptcy. Her boss gave her a promotion without raise, and over the course of the next year, made her fire her coworkers one by one. She came to realize the reason she was 'promoted' was so her boss could make her do the firing while he avoided everyone. Her coworkers saw what was happening, but still drifted away from their friendships with my mom as they saw her as an accomplice with the boss. The stress of firing her peers and feeling completely isolated at work was really eating away at my mom right up until the day her boss fired her, too.
I'm sure there's worse ways to get canned, but my mom is a sweet woman who hadn't yet learned to speak up for herself and I'm disgusted at the lack of character and integrity her boss had.
This happened in the mid 90s. At the time, my mom had accepted her original position for just over half the pay as the guy before her because she was a woman. By her boss' logic, since my father would obviously be the bread winner for the family, my mom 'didn't need the same pay' as the guy before her. When she got a promotion, she saw it as an opportunity to prove her true worth and planned to use it as ammunition to eventually ask for a raise.
It's hard to believe that this way of thinking was present just two decades ago.
Happy to say my mom started her own business that year and it's still going strong. She's been able to put me through college and seriously upgrade our family's lifestyle. None of that would have been possible if she hadn't been fired."
"About ten years ago, I was working the internal help desk for a large company. One of our duties was to provide password resets for computer user accounts whenever a user had an issue signing in.
One day, my co-workers and I in the bullpen started getting more calls than normal from one of our subsidiary brands, all for password resets.
We'd go through the procedure, but the reset wouldn't work.
I raised the issue to my supervisor to let him know that we were having issues and he went off to see if he could get further details for us.
When he came back, he let us know that the company had decided to lay off 500 or so workers, and that we needed to tell all of these employees that they needed to speak with their managers... managers who were also being laid off. All of the user accounts were disabled, preventing the reset from working though we wouldn't see any error messages.
It was the worst thing I've ever had to do, and it was one of the most unprofessional things I've ever seen."