No one really likes having to fire someone, it's a nasty business all around. Unless an employee really deserves it, that is. Whether it's sheer incompetence or a horrible attitude, sometimes firing is the only option.
Here are all the best Reddit stories about the most idiotic reasons people got fired. Content has been edited for clarity.
They Can See That You’re Lying
“When I worked at Waffle House, a girl hung out chatting up employees the entire second shift but then called out sick. This was just 10 minutes before her scheduled 3rd shift. And, she did it while still in the Waffle House bathroom.
She seemed like she didn’t understand why her actions were ridiculous and she got fired.”
The Temptation Was Too Great
“I work in security. Not a mall cop, but corporate security at a site that is locked down tighter than a prison.
I was taking three new hires through a tour of the facility, showing camera locations and explaining how things worked. I get to one of the employee entrances which is a ‘man trap,’ meaning that one person at a time must stand in a vestibule and wait for the door behind them to close and lock before they can then scan their card to open the next door.
There is a panic button inside the man trap. In the event that an employee notices anything funky going on, like someone trying to break in or hold a weapon to their head, they press the button and it sends a signal directly to the local police department. They are going to show up fast, they are going to show up with weapons drawn, and fully expecting a serious problem. Nobody has ever had to use a panic button at this site, thank God.
I had just gotten finished explaining exactly what the button does and how it’s serious stuff that will immediately call in the cavalry to save your life in a dire emergency. The second I closed my mouth, one of the new hires calmly reaches out with a pointed finger and punches the panic button. Just. Like. That.
I just stood there in dumbfounded, speechless awe at his casual display of absolute stupidity. I heard one of the other new hires whisper, ‘What the heck dude?’ I was still speechless and frozen in place when the first cops pulled into the parking lot with sirens wailing.
He was fired right after the police left. I spent the next few hours writing an incident report and making apologetic phone calls to very unhappy executives.”
He Didn’t Think This Through
“We had an ATM at the front of the store that people would come in to use without buying anything because it was surcharge-free. A lady came in and made a withdrawal but forgot her card. The machine would beep like crazy when it happened.
This idiot working for us heard it beeping. He went up to it and pressed the button for wanting to do another transaction and took out like $400. The lady realized she forgot her card, checked her balance, and called us. It took about 30 seconds to confirm on the security cameras without having to contact the ATM-owning bank.
He was fired on the spot.”
At Least He Was A Creative Thief
“We hired the son of one of our senior technical guys to learn his dad’s trade. It was a combination of doing his dad a favor and keeping his dad on our side and willing to help us out with some longer-term after hours projects, so it was a bit of mutual strong-arming from either side.
The son got fired a year later for theft. He was literally nicking anything that wasn’t nailed down and also stuff which was, usually metal. Door handles, toilet flushing systems, taps from the sinks, you name it. Eventually, he got busted after being spotted dismantling the banister of a fire escape stairwell. He was stopped, searched and they found bits of it in his backpack.
His dad has worked here for 37 years and is now a completely broken man.
We still frequently find out that something else has been stolen which we didn’t realize before. We’ll open a door to find it has no locking mechanism anymore. We just hauled out the ceremonial doors which are in each corridor more for decoration than anything else, it turns out only have handles on one side now. This all really got noticed when people were going into rooms which have a door which auto-shuts on one of those hydraulic hinges and then found no handle on the inside to let themselves out again.”
World’s Shortest Commute
“This guy was constantly 30 minutes to an hour late, which by itself is not that stupid. The stupid part is that we renovate hotels. We stay in said hotels for the duration of the job. We all stay on the same floor, and I have a master key to every room. All he had to do was put on clothes and walk out of his room door, out into the hallway and he’d be on site. The shortest commute imaginable was too much for him.
We normally start at 10 am too, so not too early in the morning. I’d constantly have to send people to wake him up from a dead sleep 15 minutes after the rest of us got to work, and he would go to the lobby, sit down and have breakfast for 30 minutes or so.”
Flirting Her Way To The Top
“I had hired an administrative assistant to help with the day to day office work. She was a cute girl, not too dumb, came in when asked, stayed late if you needed her. Overall, she was not a bad employee.
Except about six months in, she started coming into work showing more than acceptable skin, cleavage, leg, etc. She would flirt excessively with the junior law staff and show off a lot of skin when the partners would come in for meetings. She basically acted over the top suggestive when men were around.
It was widely ignored until she started sending inappropriate IMs via our office Intranet to many men on staff. It didn’t become a fireable offense until she was caught in the stock closet on her knees.”
THAT’S Easier Than Just Quitting?!
“This guy suddenly failed to turn up to work, and again the following day. Another employee contacted his girlfriend to ask if he was okay considering we’d had a staff outing the week before and he’d talked about how much he needed the job. The girlfriend said he was suffering from anxiety and would have a panic attack whenever he picked up the phone to call in because ‘he’s scared he’ll be shouted at.’
The third day, he is suddenly at the entrance with his girlfriend outside. I take him into the office to talk about what is going on. He tells me his relationship is all over the place and his mother’s cancer is back, and he is struggling to cope. I’m compassionate and tell him it’s fine to take some time, but I need to know if he will be in or not. I give him my number and tell him to text instead of calling. When I asked if he thought he was any better after a few days better, he said, ‘Yeah, I am. I mean, at least I’ve left the house today.’
Next morning, no contact from him. I then have two employees tell me they saw him hanging around another factory nearby. I call the factory they spotted him near and ask if they recently hired someone with his name. The receptionist was sassy with me, with a ‘Why do you want to know?’ attitude and then put me through to someone who turned out to be the boss.
I explained who I was and the situation, and he replied ‘Well, according to him, he no longer works for you, as of the end of last week.’
Turns out he lied to my face about the anxiety and his mother’s cancer to start a new job. His new boss pulled him into the office and made him call me, where he continued to lie. I said, ‘I don’t care if you want to leave and get another job, just do it properly! As I haven’t actually received your resignation, you legally still work for us, so I’m more than happy to tell you that you’re fired.’
The idiot hadn’t thought it through very well – he still had a locker full of stuff he had to collect.”
Her Tantrum Over Her Phone Was Way Too Much
“A girl loses her brand new iPhone in the kitchen. She proceeds to go on a tantrum accusing anyone and everyone of stealing it. She goes so far as to call the police from the store phone without my knowledge.
When the police arrive, I explain that we are in our dinner rush and I do not have the time nor will I allow them to search my staff. I do allow them to look around the kitchen where they proceed to find it laying under a shelf. They give it back to the girl, apologize for bothering us, and leave. I tell her to go home and we’ll talk in the morning.
She storms out, without apologizing to anyone, gets in her car and proceeds to hit a guest as she tries to speed out of the parking lot. The cops are still by their car and see the whole thing.
So yeah…she was definitely terminated.”
Interesting Method Of Getting A Job
“I managed a bar and needed someone for a couple shifts a week. One girl stood out. I didn’t ‘hire’ this girl, but told her to basically do a training shift with me and that would be her interview. Then I’d hire her. She seemed competent. She talked about her experience which I glazed over, but the fact that she sounded honest and confident was all I needed. Her resumé was normal, but the real kicker was that stapled to her resumé was a business card with her name and the title ‘Bartender.’
We worked together for four hours during a dinner rush. I asked her to wash pint glasses and she looked at the three sinks and was like, ‘What do I do?’ We had a mini fridge that we chilled pint glasses in. I asked her to stock it, she looked inside and asked: ‘Do they just go anywhere?’ It is literally a cube that contains one item exclusively. Afterward, I pulled her out back and asked if she had ever been behind a bar at all and that I was not going to hire her. She admitted to lying about all her experience and burst into tears. I was so confused about the business card. She said she printed them for the job she wanted, not the job she was already good at.”
Oh Yeah, That’s Way Better
“I work in a residential home for people with learning difficulties and other mental health issues. Our staff turnover is ridiculous, due to the fact that it can become a soul destroying and difficult work atmosphere at times. Luckily, 90% of my staff team are amazing and reliable. I have so many stories of people being fired and ushered off the premises though – the walk of shame, we call it. It’s not a job everybody can do, especially when our residents turn violent.
We once had a girl who had only been with us a few months, turn up two hours late for a shift. She walked right into our secure unit with powder around her nose from that morning’s pick me up. Unfortunately for her, one of the residents noticed and mentioned that ‘that girl has talcum powder on her face!’ to another staff member who mentioned it to other management. She apparently tried to fob it off as ‘foundation powder’ and tried to blame her weird attitude on ‘drinking half a bottle before work.’ It was 10 in the morning and that would still get you fired. She didn’t go quietly either. She was quite feisty and had to be physically restrained by myself and the deputy before the police were called to help remove her from our offices.”
Taking Out The Trash
“I worked at a grocery store where we got 15 or 30-minute breaks. I managed the front end where the baggers and cashiers worked at.
A guy who I sent for his 15-minute break drove 20 minutes home, took a 3-hour nap and returned four hours later and tried to slip back into work. When my boss asked him where he went, he said he went to take out the trash and needless to say, he wasn’t at work the next week.”
You Never Know Who You’re Talking To
“I was managing events and drivers for a major auto manufacturer. This happened during the LA Auto show a few years ago. All the vehicles were provided to us by the manufacturer. These were high-end luxury cars. All drivers were explicitly told to learn the car’s functions and to use them, outside GPS was not allowed. One driver decided to not follow these policies and was using his own portable GPS.
The driver picks up a German engineer from the airport. During the drive, the engineer asks why he is using his own GPS and not the vehicle’s built-in one. The driver said, ‘It’s so much easier, the vehicle one is hard to use and it sucks.’
Of course, the engineer is the guy who designed the car’s navigation and GPS system. A complaint came in and I fired the guy immediately.”
Not A Great Guarder Of Lives
“A co-worker of mine at the YMCA where we worked as lifeguards was absolutely terrible at his job. He was very angry, cussed a lot at the younger guards, and massively disrespected the higher ups. We were so understaffed that it took some serious misbehavior to fire him.
He’d often do these stretches while on duty, some of which involved him turning around for long periods of time. Can’t this guy just sit in a chair? He was reported three times by a swimmer for using his phone on duty. Not good. It de-incentivizes jumping in to save someone, not to mention he might not even see it.
But the nail in the coffin was slipping on his shades and taking a half an hour nap on the chair. Tough to notice at first, but it became apparent when his head slumped over and he almost fell out. I’m just thankful that he never had to make a rescue, he definitely could’ve killed someone.”
Fired For Being Childish
“I’m a call center manager.
I had an employee is trying to get my attention because he wants the next day off. We have a policy that you need to submit time off two weeks in advance. We have static schedules, so you can plan ahead. He catches me in the hallway to the bathroom. I let him know that I need just a few minutes and I would catch up with him. I go about my business in the bathroom, while he goes back to his workstation.
I come out to his area to see him shaking up a pop can and stabbing it with a pair of scissors. The can exploded in a Mountain Dew mess all over the workstation equipment, and his neighbor. When I asked him why he decided to do that, he told me ‘because I wanted your attention so I could ask for tomorrow off.’ Well, he did end up getting the next day off, and the rest of the week as a matter of fact as he was terminated for willful destruction of company property.”
A Creative Way To Get Out Of Work
“I’ve fired any number of people for dumb things, but the dumbest was two contract employees that I brought in to deliver and set up about 700 new computers in 1997. This was at a bank.
Normally my group didn’t do this kind of thing. We were network/server architects and engineers but we got roped into it because of the amount of capital involved and the timeline the operations group had planned. No big deal, we did the first 200 or so ourselves but then management wisely decided it wasn’t a good use of our time. So I brought in two people on contract to do the work. The hardest thing about the job was that they had to pass a background check because, well, banks are like that.
All of the offices getting the monitors were in local HQ of the bank I worked at. The job was simple. Basically, we gave them a list of people on a given floor that were to get the monitors, gave them a couple of carts to put the monitors on and told them to take as many breaks as they needed.
After doing the work for one and a half days they decided it was beneath them. So they hired a few street people, bought them polo shirts and put them to work. Creative but unacceptable. We got wind that this was happening when we smelled hideous body odor from the street people and went to investigate.
It didn’t help that the street people had already broken two monitors by dropping them nor that they’d broken the locks on a couple of storage closets and set up camp there.
I fired the contractors, got security to take the whole group out of the building and made the temp firm pay for all the damage.”
Didn’t Want It To Go To Waste
“The restaurant I work in had a girl bussing tables. At one of the ‘soft opening’ nights, she drank the leftover drinks from every table. The place wasn’t really even open yet. She didn’t care who it belonged to, she drank whatever was left. Glasses and bottles, she didn’t care. By the end of the night, she was completely wasted.
The manager kicked her out and told her she was fired. She banged on the front door for twenty minutes saying she wanted her final check right then. We had to call the police to come and get rid of her.”
Is She For Real?
“I worked as an archaeologist for one summer. One lady never worked. She would be on Skype the whole time instead of digging. Or if she dug, she’d dig a unit/hole then nap in it. This lasted the whole season until my boss got fed up.
The last straw was when we were excavating near a lake and the lady brought her swimsuit and went for a swim while the rest of us continued to work.”