In addition to helping employees understand their 401k plans, health insurance contributions, and official company holidays, Human Resources directors are also tasked with letting employees go when they don't quite meet the standards. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.
A Reddit thread recently asked Human Resources managers to share the dirt on the worst employees they ever had to fire, and to say that these stories are ridiculous would be an understatement. The following stories are quite shocking and sometimes disgusting, but they are all worth a read. All posts have been edited for clarity.
"We never had to actually fire this employee (he went to jail and we never heard from him again), but the police once arrived at our office and told us one of our drivers was robbing banks and using our truck as his getaway vehicle.
It was effective because he'd cover his company shirt, rob the bank, then uncover it and jump in the truck. He'd go into the bank, pass the teller a note saying to give him all the money in the drawer or he'd shoot a bystander. The teller always handed over the money and hit the alarm, but he would immediately leave. He was smart to only go after the drawer cash and not stick around, but eventually, someone saw him get into the truck.
Nobody looks twice at truck drivers in uniform. He got away with 10 heists before he got caught."
"We had a 20 something kid lie about his 3-year-old son dying a week or so after we hired him. Supposedly, the kid fell down some stairs and hit his head, and was dead a week later. He missed work for doctors appointments and then the funeral. This guy cried and full on balled his eyes out several times following the death of his son.
Our office manager didn't buy it though. When she attempted to call the funeral home where the guy said the funeral was held, they didn't know anything about the son's supposed death. So she got suspicious and started digging around. She couldn't find any record of the child's death, no obituary, nothing. When she questioned the employee about the funeral and when and where it was, he became extremely wishy-washy. She later found the boy's doctor and they called the mom and confirmed the boy was just fine.
We finally confronted the employee, and he said he was an addict and was detoxing. Really shook up the whole shop because most of us have kids, and we thought he was living every parent's nightmare."
"My buddy was the manager of a Pizza Hut in the '90s. They had this big account with one of the local schools where they had to deliver multiple pizzas each day. They were required to have the pizza at the school at a certain time before lunch, and if they did not deliver, they would not only call my buddy's boss but call his boss's boss, and basically, they would chew him out.
So now knowing the premise of the story, one day he came in early for his shift, and normally another guy would already be in, we can call him John, to start kneading the dough for the day's pizza. Yet this day he didn't see John, so he yelled out 'Hey John,' but got no response. He walked around a corner and there was John on the kneading table with his pants around his ankles 'pounding' into the dough if you caught my drift. You can say he was pretty serious with his kneading. My buddy told John to get out. He had to throw all the dough away and started making a batch as fast as possible.
He ended up getting the pizzas late to the school and his boss and boss's boss got called in and basically asked what happened. He told his boss to come to the back room, and he explained everything. They were like okay we won't talk about this.
My friend always tells me he wonders how long this had been going on as John was there for at least five years."
"We had a computer operator who worked the weekend night shift. His responsibility was to submit jobs on the mainframe and break down the reports and distribute them.
One Sunday, the head of payroll did not have the report she normally had every week. She called into the operations center and there was no answer. Repeated calls yielded the same result, so she called the operations supervisor.
He attempted to check the security camera that was in the room but the camera had been turned away facing a wall and had been software locked, so it could not be rotated. He tried the operator's cell phone but could not reach him.
So he went into work and when he arrived the windows on the doors to the operation center had been papered over. He opened the door and found the operator hanging, no clothes on, DEAD, in front of a laptop full of adult videos. Apparently, he spent his downtime on the weekends choking himself with a cord wrapped around the attic trusses while watching the stuff. I guess this time he pushed it a little bit too far and ended up terminating himself.
Really not a good scene around here in the weeks and months that followed. Obviously, it's still talked about every so often."
"I worked for a smaller, family-run company with only about 12 office employees. The company was run by a husband and wife, and pretty much everyone employed worked there because we knew the family in some capacity outside of work, which led to employment. There was one woman in particular who had been there 15 years, and no one really knew WHY she was still there. She messed up all the time, forgot to follow through on pretty important work tasks, frequently arrived late, and had a habit of smoking weed on her lunch breaks in the parking lot. She would even steal from work - we had conference rooms on site stocked with snacks and sodas for our clients, and she would help herself to these things on an almost daily basis. In the course of her working there, she got married, and I remember her even using our work postage machine to post all of her wedding invitations. Just one of those total mooch-type of people who any good boss would at LEAST talk to, probably terminate.
So years go by, and while others are reprimanded for little things because the wife/owner was crazy about rules, this woman continued to get raises and stay employed. No one knew why, until one day she let it slip that she had been banging the husband for the better part of 10 years. She started showing lewd photos of our boss on her phone to others in her department, claimed she and the boss hooked up after-hours on a conference room table, and that as part of the arrangement he basically turns a blind eye to her terrible behavior during work hours.
What she didn't count on was her department co-workers being tired of picking up her slack while she got off (literally) with no consequences. Someone in her department ended up letting details of the affair slip to our HR person, who had to then take it to the bosses. She was fired by the end of that same day.
The husband still runs the company to this day, with zero repercussions. He insists she made the whole thing up. Also worth noting his wife is the mistress from his first marriage, and current wife looks remarkably like the terminated employee."
"I worked at the head office of one of the UK's big retailers a few years back. This temp receptionist on her first day started off putting out call announcements and such sounding a little nervous and stumbling. As the day went on, the announcements were getting worse, stumbling over words, sounding confused. People laughed politely to themselves at the poor girl struggling with her first day.
At the end of the day, she left, got into her car and weaved out of the car park like a cross-eyed badger before giving a good tap to another colleague's car.
Turns out she had a water bottle on her desk all day filled with Grey Goose and had been getting more and more wasted as the day went along, before deciding to get in her car and try to drive home. She appeared to have no intention of stopping when she hit the car and it was only the fact she was so unable to get the car out of the car park that enabled someone to stop her.
She was obviously let go."
"This was an IT company that employed help desk techs, field techs, and also had telecom and fire/burglary systems divisions. It was really segmented and fairly large, but it wasn't a bad place to work. One of the field techs was a bit of a character; he moonlighted as a private investigator and repo man, and there was at least one occasion during my time there where he disappeared for a few days. We later found out he was arrested and in jail as a result of his other profession, but he continued to work there after that incident.
Anyway, there was always a fair amount of infighting between the techs and managers, and apparently, there was some real hatred between this particular field tech and his dispatcher/manager. The tech had decided to quit but decided that he wanted to scorch the earth on his way out. He utilized his resources as a PI to dig up dirt on the manager and fired off an email to the entire company on his last day with an attachment: scumbag.pdf. Apparently, the manager in question was a truly horrible person with a fairly extensive criminal record. He was actually a registered child predator in a couple of states, so the revelation was a bombshell for the rest of the company. He was one of the top five managers in the company, basically leading his division, and had been there for something like 15 years.
They canned him without any hesitation but then had to deal with the fallout from all of the other tenured employees. Imagine the feeling of betrayal when it's revealed that you have been working closely with, socializing, and attending company picnics, and events, with a greasy predator. If you had worked there any length of time, this man had met your family and your kids.
The criminal history report was also sent to many of the company's clients, which basically became a nightmare for everyone there. From what I gather, it was (and still is) a complete nightmare. I hear they'll be performing background checks from now on."
"The police came in one day and asked about an employee. He was there at the time, so an entire swat team went in after him, but he managed to get away. Apparently, he killed his wife and daughter three days earlier and continued coming to work as if nothing happened.
When the cops went for him, he got away because of the size of the building. The building was maybe a 1/4 mile square with 32 exits, 20 elevators, and over 70 floors. He knew everything about the building as he was the maintenance guy. It was also surrounded by buildings on three of the four sides with dozens of pedestrian only access and he had worked at most of those places also, so he knew the nooks and crannies there. He was caught a few days later trying to catch an international flight.
He also played an evil character in our Christmas party video that he fit so well it was creepy, but not as creepy as him hanging out with us acting completely normal for two days while going home to his dead family. I never figured out why he did it, but a coworker in my department had started dating his daughter (he was the same age as her) and he told us that he was scared of him and he went crazy over her dating a black guy. He actually changed shifts to not see the guy. There was also an unconfirmed rumor that the guy had a divorce pending."
" I'm a supervisor at a landscaping company. I hired a woman in her early 40s because she seemed like a good hire (experience and whatnot).
A month went by without any issues. That was until a good employee of mine up and quit without any reason. When I met him to give him his last check he showed me text message after text message of that woman sending dirty text messages without him responding.
This created problems for that employee and his wife so she gave him an ultimatum, her or the job, so he quit.
After doing a little digging, I found out he was not the only one. She would send text/Facebook messages to half the company. Also, I found out she ended up making a deal with another employee that if she blew him he would mow the yard by himself.
I read off EVERY text message that I saw via print off transcripts and asked if she actually sent those. She admitted to everything, even the bj incident. Both employees were obviously fired.
Hope the head was worth it."
"A guy that was recently hired was liked by us and our client, they interviewed him and loved him, nice older gentleman.
One day Bill doesn't show to work, okay, it happens. Next day Bill doesn't show, hmm, seems uncharacteristic of him. Give him a call no answer. Next day a no-show, now it's job abandonment. Give him a call, no dice. Day 4 a no-show, we're going to have to talk if he shows back up.
That night I get a call from one of my employees.
TURN IT ON 11!!!!!
Well, Bill went out to a bar, picked up a girl, took her home and chained her to his bed. 3 days later she was found running barefoot and clothless down Conroe 105 at 3:30 am.
Needless to say, I didn't have to discuss his job abandonment with him."
"I was the sole sysadmin at a for-profit college, so I was often the first to know when someone was getting canned. Normally, it was fairly expected, but this one guy could not get fired quick enough. He was a friend of the dean who had been hired on and quickly promoted to the assistant dean. Not a big deal; we usually liked to hire friends of current workers because they tended to be a better fit all around.
This guy, however, was constantly late, missing for hours at a time, just a general lazy dude collecting a paycheck (or so we thought). Apparently, in his relatively short tenure at our company, he was also being super offensive to his students (we were short-handed at the time, so anyone who could teach also taught), was homophobic and mildly racist. The director had slowly been working up an actual case to fire the guy for a while.
A few days before he is supposed to have his 'meeting,' a female student came in to discuss with the director the details of her impregnation and seductions by the assistant dean. This accelerated things drastically as there was a strict 'no fraternizing with the students' policy, so I went through the process of cloning his hard drive to a spare in case there was a request to send it over to headquarters for further analysis. About three months after this guy got literally tossed out of the building when we were visited by the FBI. Apparently, one of the other people he was fraternizing with was underage and was also pregnant.
Needless to say, it was a whirlwind of events but I cannot imagine being the HR person who had to deal with all of his paperwork after that.
"While working HR at a hospitality establishment, an about-to-be-terminated-but-didn't-know-it-yet employee realized that their voluntary written statement was in fact not an admonishment of other 'lazy' coworkers, but instead a very racist rant that was going to lead to her own firing. She grabbed the paper, ran away down the hall, and ate it.
She physically ate the paper, while sprinting down the hall, as if that would stop the firing or leave her eligible for unemployment. I guess she didn't know about carbon paper. I had two more copies."
"I have worked in Human Resources for the last eight years. It's in the public sector, so I've seen some weird stuff.
We had a senior employee who had been deadweight in the company for a long time. He was a union steward. Whenever we would have a delivery that needed to be unloaded, it seems that he always had a doctor's note with a prescribed recommendation for time away. We would honor it, but he wouldn't come back, and so we would have to send multiple requests to the doctor for clarification on information to accommodate, but they would never answer. He eventually came back when there was a threat of job abandonment, and then issued a new doctor note and did the same game. He's been doing this for at least six years now.
Finally, it got to the point where the executive director had to tell this guy's manager that enough was enough. We set up a disciplinary meeting to discuss his trend of behavior and to outline clear expectations and also give him a chance to speak on how we can address anything that isn't working in the workplace. He revealed he had deep-seated depression and told us:
'If I didn't take those sick days off, I swear I would've come into work and gone postal on each and every one of you.'
His union rep immediately took him outside. We regrouped and ended the meeting early.
A few days later, an investigation was launched on his threat, and a few days into the investigation, he announced his retirement."
"When I was a teenager, I worked at a Dairy Queen. A middle-aged woman who lived on the same street as me started working with us at one point.
They had her working the grill and she would purposely make mistakes on orders with special requests like, 'Ketchup only' or 'No mustard' because she knew they'd ask for a new one. We later found out that she was pocketing the burgers to feed to her dogs because she said she couldn't afford dog food.
She only worked there for about two weeks before management caught on."
"I worked for a retail chain in their corporate offices many years ago. We had an employee that seemed great on paper and aced her interview. We were all patting ourselves on the back at how awesome of a hire this was. Her first project with the team was a trip with me to visit some of our distribution centers in the Northeast US. We went there and did our thing. Everything seemed fine.
After a few days on the road, we went back to the office. We decided that I would write up our reports for the first three places we visited and she would do the other three. Simple, easy distribution of labor. A few days go by and the director of our department asked me where our work was. I said that I'd done my part and they were in the system; she was doing the other half. Another few days, another question about where the whole report was. I asked her about it each time and she would always say, 'I'm working on it, have it in tomorrow.' Apparently, she had never used Excel (it was a very simple and not complicated at all spreadsheet, no functions or tricks or anything) and she was trying to cover it up.
Every night, she would tell our director that she was awful at the job and he should just fire her. He tried talking her down. After nearly two weeks of this stuff, she finally uttered the magic words that he could work with: 'I should just quit.' His lightning-quick response was, 'I accept your resignation effective immediately' and she left. She came in the next day like nothing ever happened, and when he saw here he said, 'What are you doing here? You quit last night, and I accepted.'
She tried to backtrack it, but he'd had enough. He told her to leave. She refused. Eventually, he had to call security, who handcuffed her to her office chair, rolled her into the elevator, then rolled her right out of the building. That was the last we ever heard of her."