Filling jobs with the right type of person is of the highest importance for an employer. With a couple interviews and a look into a person's previous job history, a business owner can get a good feel as to how a person will work and interact with others on the job, however sometimes an employers first impression could be terribly wrong. Here are a few instances when obnoxious employees lost their jobs for some fairly outlandish reasons. Content has been edited for clarity.
A Tough Break
“We hired a new girl for the local pharmacy I managed. She was very sweet and hardworking and had prior experience at another major pharmacy chain.
We had our own build of a common pharmacy software and it took a day to train on how the system worked, and a day to train on how our company’s process worked. She paid great attention to the first day and knew her ins and out of the software, but then checked out on the second day because she already knew how pharmacy process worked since she’s worked in one before.
But ours didn’t follow the same protocol or procedure. We had no storefront, we were purely delivery only. These deliveries needed to be scheduled in a specific order and as efficiently as possible. As compared to retail chains where they will fill Prescription 1 on Monday, Prescription 2 on Wednesday, and Prescription 3 on Thursday so you have to come in three different times.
We could not drill this into her head no matter how many times we tried. She was retrained by me twice, and by two other colleagues because we thought maybe a different training mindset would be beneficial.
The day I had to fire her, she had an appointment that night to take her sick cat to the vet to get put down. I felt awful and wanted to cry with her, but I also felt like I gave her so many chances and she kept coming back to ‘we always did it this way at the other place.'”
Why Was That On Your Computer?
“Years ago (like in the 90’s), my husband worked for a small company. He did a little bit of everything and one of his jobs, along with a co-worker, was keeping all the computers running. Now this was a sales-based company, so all of the salespeople had laptops for themselves. If there was an issue or problem, they’d bring them in to be looked at.
So, one day, one of the non-local sales guys was in for a meeting. He said, ‘Hey, my computer is running really, really slowly. Can you take a look at it?’
My husband says ‘Yeah, sure no problem.’ Sales guy leaves the computer and goes to whatever meeting he was off to.
My husband and his colleague take a look and see that the disk is nearly full and figured that was slowing things down. They dig deeper and see the computer is filled with lewd photos, like FILLED with it. Photos of all sorts – nothing illegal per se, but very, very close to it. Now, mind you, the salespeople signed an agreement that their assigned computer was for business use only, not personal use. So, we have a slight problem here. My husband and his colleague, not wanting to make a mountain out of a molehill and not wanting the guy to lose his job over a fixable problem, just wiped the drive clean, reformatted it, got things set up again and the computer was working great.
The guy comes back the next day and my husband goes, ‘Hey, Sales guy, we took a look at your computer. It was running slowly because the disk was nearly full with personal files so we wiped it clean, reformatted things and you’re good to go. You know, just a reminder, that [OurCompany]-issued computers are for business use only. If you’re looking for something for personal use, here are some relatively inexpensive laptops with a lot of storage space. You can put whatever you want on it. Small investment for privacy, you know.’ And with that, they gave him a printout list of some good, reasonably-priced laptops he could purchase for himself.
The salesguy just kind of mumbled something, grabbed his computer and was on his way without so much as a ‘thank you.’ Well, the guys figured that was that, but guess who was back six weeks later with a not working at all computer? Yep, sales guy. Problem? Yep, computer was again filled with even more lewd photos.
They were done at this point. The two of them went straight to the President’s office, showed her what was on the computer (well, enough to give her an idea) and explained what had happened previously. She was a very no-nonsense lady, so needless to say by 3pm that afternoon, that sales guy was no longer employed.
What an idiot.”
“Nice” Guys Finish Last
“About a year ago, I hired a guy who was down on his luck, though it went against my best judgement. Due to the nature of my business, I usually don’t hire people that fit his profile (out of shape, poor hygiene, etc). It wasn’t long before I started hearing complaints from female employees and clients.
Turns out that he would often attempt to flirt with women and when turned down, he would lose his mind and call them terrible names and insults. I don’t tolerate that, so I gave him a very stern warning. The very next day, I found one of my sweetest female employees visibly upset. Upon inquiring, she said that the guy had followed her home yesterday to ‘make sure she got home safely.’ Then he showed up this morning to ‘lead her to the office.’ She was genuinely scared.
I called him into my office and told him to scram. He threatened to file a complaint with the Department of Labor for discrimination against ‘men who have an innate need to protect women.’
Didn’t matter, still told him to beat it! And now I’m fighting the stupid claim with the DOL.”
In One Ear, Out The Other
“I own a small construction company and there is one guy in particular that sticks out the most.
I am very laid back when it comes to how people medicate themselves or choose to unwind. I’d much rather have someone smoke for back pain or something while they are at home rather than take an opiate. If you wanna drink, go ahead. My only two rules are not before work or during and nothing extreme. It’s pretty simple, it’s not hard to follow, everyone has an understanding.
I explain this to all my new hires and everyone appreciates it, because near every construction company in my state will fire someone for smoking green.
Now something I offer my guys is, if they want, I set them up to take courses at a community college so they can get a better education in our trade. It’s a win for everyone. I get smart guys who know the trade and are more efficient; it’s a tax write off; if they pass, I pay them more; and they can always take this education somewhere else if they want to. I only take a very small portion of their pay (about a dollar an hour) and foot the rest of the bill. I really like doing this with ‘second chancers,’ I call them, guys getting out of prison looking for a job. I believe everyone deserves a second chance. My number 1 guy was in prison for 10 years and you wouldn’t even know it unless he told you. The schooling and stable job really turned his life around (his words).
So now with all that outta the way, there was a kid that I had to fire. We basically just needed a helper, someone to get tools and materials for the guys working and clean up, you know, the basics. It’s a very easy job and every apprentice starts out doing it. I offer him 20 dollars an hour to do this job, which is VERY good for where I live. He’s a young guy with a new family, so I figure I’d throw him a bone, but he’d have to show he wants more by taking the classes. I made it very clear if he wanted more he could have it. He just had to follow my two very simple rules I mentioned earlier.
I’m literally giving this high-school dropout a free education, a very easy and well paying job, and the opportunity of a great career. How does he thank me? By not going to the classes, leaving early constantly, and not only showing up late, but high as a kite. Like anyone who thinks it isn’t obvious they just smoked a bowl before work is just sadly mistaken. It’s super obvious. And you smell like it, too. If I can smell it, my customers can smell it. I gave him a warning, clean up his act and get it together because he WON’T find another job like this with his lack of education and background. The very next day, he shows up 20 minutes late to the job site with bloodshot eyes and reeking of pot mixed with cologne. I just told him to get back in his truck and I’ll send him his check. I’m a super understanding guy, but even I have my limits.
In the end, the company makes more money because smart workers are efficient workers, efficient workers are faster workers, faster workers means more jobs done in a shorter amount of time.”
“You Can’t Fire Me!”
“Hired a girl to answer the phone and sweep up real quick before close. Literally 10 minutes of sweeping MAX a day if you were slow. As far as the phone goes, there’s literally nothing we can do for you on the phone but customers have some sort of problem with not having a phone for a business so she only had to say hello, hear them ask whatever it is and say some variation of, ‘I’m sorry we can’t really do that over the phone but our hours are such and such and you can come on in and we’ll get you taken care of.’
This lady made a hundred dollars a day to mostly sit around and play on Facebook or whatever she wanted. Instead she chose to stand outside talking to her unemployed boyfriend on the sidewalk all day the first day a week she’d actually shown up and she wouldn’t even take the phone with her, I would still have to answer it. Then closing time came and she’d be nowhere to be found. About the third week of, ‘Well, I guess she doesn’t wanna work here,’ I go to fire her butt and she starts hitting me with the ‘I’m pregnant, you can’t fire a pregnant woman. It’s illegal because the stress could kill my baby. If you fire me and my baby dies, I’m going to sue you for everything you have!’
It was unbelievably satisfying to watch her face un-smug itself as I said, ‘You remember that contract I kept trying to get you to fill out? The one saying I hired you?….. yeah….. you don’t work here, get lost.’
Also, she wasn’t actually pregnant.”
World’s Dumbest Employee
“My Dad and I ran a business together cleaning out foreclosed homes for a real estate agency as I was finishing high school. I was a senior so I got out at lunch time and we could usually get a house done in a half day. Sometimes we’d get some bad ones and we had a few guys that we would call to see if they wanted to make a quick hundred bucks for a days work.
On my literal last day of class, my dad picked up one of our usual guys and got one house about 90% done by lunch. He was a pretty normal guy that we had never had any trouble with. The guy we paid to help my dad went out to the truck and came back into that house with a weapon and robbed my dad of his wallet and took his keys and left in our truck.
Funny thing is, my dad only had the cash he was about to give him an hour later for finishing up the house. The state police got the guy’s number from us and they told him some bogus story about how my dad was being investigated for not paying his workers and if he met them with the truck, they would get his statement and let him go. Idiot pulls up and gets arrested on the spot. He got 8 years in prison.”
“He Held The Equipment Hostage”
“My husband was a contractor for a long time before moving to another industry. It was a small operation, just him and his dad plus a couple employees intermittently. My husband had gotten a contract with the local Lowe’s to do some installations and needed more help. Enter this middle aged man who had all this experience.
Right away, my husband got a bad vibe since the dude had been doing it so long but didn’t own any of his own equipment. He ignored it because things happens and maybe the guy just had some bad luck. He was on for a few weeks, doing great. No real problems. Since he had experience, my husband decided to make him a crew lead over some small projects.
During this time, the guy had possession of some of the equipment my husband furnished for the job (this is important later.) The guy had the audacity to go to Lowe’s for payment before the job was even done. Not only that, but Lowe’s agreement was under my husband’s name and paid via mail or auto deposit (can’t quite remember.) After yelling at some poor cashier and the management, he told my husband that he was getting ripped off and needed more money. Note: my husband paid for any and all work materials and paid him weekly for work done. He thought he could just cut out the middle man and get paid from Lowe’s.
He ended up trying to hold the equipment hostage for more money. My husband ended up paying him something but wasn’t near what he was asking. The guy then showed up to our house with his young daughter to threaten my husband. Now, my husband is a big man. He’s over 6’2″ with years of martial arts, mixed martial arts, and rugby under his belt. He has mellowed dramatically since we’ve been together but I know he’s been in lots of fights over lesser reasons. We got our equipment and the guy got his last payment. But he was told that if he ever came to our house again, it wouldn’t matter if he had his kid or not; he would get his butt kicked. My husband later lost the Lowe’s contract with this episode being the main reason.”
“I Really Had No Words For The Kid”
“This guy was about 28 years old with a company car. He needs to pick up some out-of-town customers from a hotel. What I’m unaware of is that he’s been working with his girlfriend riding along as a passenger/companion. Well, they end up short one seat in the vehicle as a result.
His purpose was only to pick-up and deliver these people about 15-minutes away. Reasonably, he should just leave his girlfriend at the hotel and come back for her. I would have found the situation stupid but not something worth firing anyone over.
In a turn of events I’m still incredulous over–because I don’t know in what world this is even a thought that enters anyone’s mind–he loads all of the guests and proceeds to load his girlfriend into the trunk of the car. As I meet and greet the guests, they’re horrified and start telling me that the employee has a woman in the trunk.
I really had no words for the kid. I was really speechless except I could basically manage to say, ‘This isn’t like a three-strikes situation. This is like, I don’t even know how this idea could have entered your mind and then to even follow-thorough with it–how?!? This is like any and every strike you could imagine here.’
I think my head was stuck in an endless loop of shaking and face-palming by this point.
Yeah, I’m pretty sure that takes the cake for firings.
He only lasted about three-weeks on the job and there was a discussion had with the employee who recommended him.”
Bed And Breakfast Workers Over-Extend Their Stay
“My business partner hired a boyfriend/girlfriend couple to work our bed and breakfast because they were getting evicted and needed a place to stay and we needed workers. This pair had two kids, one was about a year old, the other was 7. The parents were in their late 20’s, early 30’s. Dad was a pot smoker when I met him, a struggling musician, etc. A bit of a loser. They moved in and started working. That’s when the problems started. The dad started doing harder stuff and they both argued for 8 hours a day, every day. They claimed to be working 12-16 hours a day, but in truth, the ‘work’ consisted of an 8 hour argument about whose turn it was to take the trash out – a two minute job! Screaming matches, all day, every day. In front of paying customers. Very little got done.
Then the real problems started. The arguments got heated enough to turn into domestic violence. The mom attacked the dad with a kitchen utensil. Cops were called, it was a mess. It was late November and about 4 weeks from Christmas. I needed to set things straight and fire them. After an hour long talk, I considered that it was close to Christmas, this family was broke, had nowhere to go, it was cold and rainy, so firing them would make them homeless. I decided to give them one last chance. They seemed happy and enthusiastic, but a week later, it devolved into the same stuff. More domestic violence, etc. I had enough. The following weekend, I fired them both, rented them a U-haul and they packed their stuff. I gave them $4,000 and sent them on their way to Portland. It’s more than enough to land on your feet and get something going…
About three months later, they had their kids taken away from them by CPS. The dad went off the deep end with substances. Who knows what happened to the mom. I don’t really care anymore.”
“You’re Actually Going To Let This Kid Fire Me?”
“So my dad ran a small side business as a logger and I was his foreman whenever his main guys couldn’t show. It was nice when I was able to skip school and make money as a teen. But, this came with a drawback. Not many grown men respect the authority of a teenager on a job site.
Well one day, we’re out of state and don’t have ANY of our usual crew, so we decided to knock on some doors and hit up some homeless shelters to see if anyone wanted to make some money for the day. We put together a three man crew (excluding us) and we start the job. Now, since we weren’t an above ground business, it was really important that no one get hurt, so safety was priority above literally anything else, so I was the only one allowed to use the saws on the ground.
Along comes captain big shot. He knows everything already, so I couldn’t teach him anything. All day he’s been back talking me whenever my dad was up in the tree. I’d tell him go left, he’d go right. I’d tell him to get to work, he’d tell me to shut it. I tell him not to use the saw, he’d scoff and keep using it. Charming guy. I’d resolved to tell him to hit the road after lunch, when my dad called break. He pulls out the tailgate coffee maker and we take a load off. My dad walks off to go to the bathroom and the big shot tells me, ‘Hey kid, make yourself useful and refill your old man’s saw.’
Now, maybe it was my teenage hormones, but I got a little flustered. Sorry, did I say a little flustered? I was absolutely livid. ‘Hey mother effer, you don’t tell me what to do. You’ve been spewing bull all day. Hit the road, you’re fired.’
We got into an argument that consisted of, ‘You can’t fire me!’
Which I followed with, ‘Why yes, yes I can.’ My dad comes back and asks what’s going on.
‘You gonna let this kid fire me?’
Without missing a beat, my dad said, ‘Yeah, you’re fired, get outta here.’
He asked me later why I fired him and agreed. He was the only one on that crew that had a problem with me. The rest of them were just happy to have work.”
Pizza With A Side Of Justice
“I was a supervisor for a popular, internationally known and frequented pizza chain. We had a manager, who was a complete tool, and this manager decided to give his son a job through the power of nepotism and not for skills. His son was also equally a tool and had the literal IQ of a potato, he used to hang around the store about a month before getting the job and no one liked him.
We’ll call the son ‘Steve’ to make this easier.
Within a week of Steve starting, he started delegating tasks to the employees. The whole delegating thing was my job, so I asked him in to the office and explained to him that this wasn’t his job. He then kindly informed me that he was the new supervisor. I was thinking, ‘Well, that’s interesting, because I’m the supervisor.’ I immediately called his dad up right there and then and put him on loudspeaker. I asked the dad what was going on, and he said that he wanted his son to be the supervisor and that I was being demoted for a ‘temporary period, maybe permanent’ whilst he decides who’s better for the role.
I had been there for 4 months, his son about a week. At this point I was fuming, because there’s not a chance that I’m getting a pay cut for the sake of this cabbage. But luckily I’m not too bad regarding employment law, so I told the manager and Steve at the same time that I was recording the whole call and that was happening was rather illegal, and I then said something along the lines of, ‘And due to being the true hero I am, I have the legal power to fire Steve. So Steve, due to being inept, pack up your things and go.’
The manager tried to argue with me on behalf of Steve who looked a little speechless, and due to the way the rules worked, if a manager wants to override a supervisors authority regarding employing and firing, they have to seek approval from head office. The manager actually knew this, surprisingly. So out of what seemed like anger, he then proceeded to fire me over the phone.
Long story short, I went home that night and reported it to head office on an employee complaints line, and sent them the recording via email.
2 days later, we get someone from head office who called us all to the store and in to a meeting. I play the recording. Head office guy fires the manager and Steve on the spot, and then hands me a contract to become a manager and in front of now ex-manager and Steve, tells me I’m having 4 weeks off, double pay, a weeks paid training when I’m back and a lovely XXL pizza to take home for lunch. Absolutely fantastic.”
I Hope The Movie Was Good At Least
“I worked for a large soda chain and the delivery trucks are all GPS tracked. Knowing this full well, one guy on a particularly light workload day decides to drive his truck to the mall and catch a movie.
Well, the guy on the neighboring route got injured (sprained his ankle going down some greased up stairs) and the area manager was texting other drivers to come help finish up the injured guy’s deliveries for the day. This dude at the movies just straight up lies and says he’s across town checking on X account and then he’s got to make 4 more deliveries out in Y area.
The manager is staring at his truck’s GPS just sitting in the mall as he’s explaining this over text. The manager even drove over and visually confirmed that the truck was just parked at the mall.
The next day, the guy gets called into the manager’s office. The crazy thing is, they had no intention to fire him, but the guy just wouldn’t fess up to going to the movies, even with his truck’s GPS data staring him right in the face. He basically said, ‘Well, we’re going to agree to disagree. I know where I was, and I was busy working, just tell me how many days you’re suspending me for so we can just move on.’ That’s the line that got him fired.”