Your job might suck, but the only thing that could make it worse is being the HR person. Most of the time they are stuck wading through paperwork and crazy nonsense. These HR managers share the wildest cases they’ve dealt with.
“We Don’t Get Paid Enough For This”
“I am on the HR team that supports a wide variety of US cities for our company, including our colorful Florida locations. This is the best story I heard.
We had some woman trying to avoid doing work by sitting out in her car in the parking lot. While she was hiding out there, she needed to use the restroom. Well, instead of going back inside (or doing literally anything else) she decides to pee out her car window. Even though I am also a woman, I was impressed and disgusted by the physics behind this feat. She had stuck her bare rear end outside the window and just went for it. Unbeknownst to her, her male co-worker had arrived at work late due to an appointment. He drove past to find a parking spot as this was happening and got a full view. He then reported the incident to us.
One of our HR people had to investigate this, and sure enough, parking lot cameras could corroborate his story. Our HR person confronted the woman. Her response: ‘Well how did he know it was me?? It could have been anyone.’ We thought, ok fair enough. The cameras aren’t CSI-grade zoom, so we only saw the butt part. It was harder to completely identify the face. So we went back to the male peer and asked how he knew it was her. His response? ‘Oh, it was definitely her. The face tattoos are pretty recognizable.’
We definitely don’t get paid enough for this.”
“When I was on my gap year I worked a part-time job as a fitness instructor at a leisure center. One of my coworkers, call him Bill, was a nice guy and I would often sit and chat with him on my breaks, etc. Long-term GF and baby at home.
As part of my job, I used to teach spinning classes on a fairly regular basis. I would normally leave my phone in the staff room while I was teaching, or behind the reception desk. Both these places were secure and my phone had a passcode on it. I didn’t want it going off while I was teaching because when it received calls/texts it interfered with the stereo in the spin studio. I didn’t have a locker or anything where I could store it.
Sometime in around January, I was at uni for an interview weekend. My girlfriend at the time had come to pick me up and while she was waiting in the car, she was scrolling through my messages on my iPad. When I got in the car she showed me one of my chats and said why did you send this video to Bill? I had no recollection of sending any videos to Bill since I did not speak to him outside of work beyond ‘I’m going to be late’ or similar.
I thought it was a mistake but as I scrolled further back up I saw that ‘I’ had sent this same video to Bill a couple of weeks prior. Feeling thoroughly perplexed I clicked into the video and saw it was a video of me (20F) and my girlfriend (26F) on holiday in Thailand. I’d like to stress that it was not a provocative video, we were just joking around but we had just got out of the shower and were both unclothed.
At this point, I’m still thinking it’s some kind of big mistake as Bill is a nice guy with a baby at home. However, I looked a little closer and realise that the dates/times of when ‘I’ had sent these videos was at times I was teaching spin classes and therefore had left my phone unattended.
Bill, being the sicko he was, had obviously seen me put my passcode into my phone during all the times we had been sitting chatting on breaks, etc., and had memorized it. He had then taken the opportunity to scroll through all my personal photos and videos when I had left my phone unattended to go and teach classes. I’m assuming that he had deleted the video once, hence why he had sent it to himself again a couple of weeks later. He’d also deleted the chat history from my iPhone but hadn’t realized it synced to my iPad (this was in around 2012). I would only have been about 18/19 at the time when the videos were taken.
Obviously, I reported this to my manager and to HR but it was a bit of a minefield for them to navigate. I don’t know what he told them but I imagine it was along the lines of saying I sent them to him of my own free will, how would he have known my password, etc. It took a long while to get sorted but in the end, he did get sacked, thankfully. The police also paid him a visit so I’m sure he had some explaining to do to his S/O.”
Where’d Her Pants Go?!
“Not HR, but I had a coworker at a bakery who quit in a most spectacular fashion. She was quirky to say the least. The first time I met her, I was shoulder-deep in a big bowl of buttercream when I felt a hard slap on my butt. I turned around, totally shocked, my arm covered in frosting, to see a total stranger. She grinned and said ‘Hey, girlfriend. Which one’s your favorite Prince song?’ I said I wasn’t sure and she responded ‘Me neither, but if I had to pick I’d take broccoli over asparagus any day.’
One day she was working up front, making coffees, and helping customers and what have you. She was in the midst of filling the honey container that went out for customers to use for their coffees. This was a messy sticky job, as the honey came in a 50 lb tub, and it needed to go into one of those tiny bears. Our manager asked her to come to the back for a second. I was back by the ovens pulling out a rack of cookies and I overheard the manager informing her that she was being written up for tardiness. Which was fair, she was 15-30 minutes late every day. He asked her to sign a document saying that she had been informed of the write-up so it could go in her file.
Girlfriend lost her mind. She started shouting and insulting everything from his choice of shoes to his wife’s hair, to the way he walked. She then threw her hat at him, ripped off her shirt (buttons and all) tossed it on his desk while shouting ‘I quit your lousy job’. She then preceded to take off her pants as well, tossed them in the guy’s face, and left. She walked across the bakery, through a line of customers, across the parking lot, and out to the bus stop to wait for the bus while shouting, wearing only her undergarments, and smeared with sticky honey. Our co-workers were giving the manager some very dirty looks. The thing that has always baffled me about this whole exchange is that the hat and shirt were issued by the bakery and had the logo on them, but the pants belonged to my girlfriend. Why in the world did she decide to take off the pants too?”
Talk About A Drama-Filled Workplace
“This wasn’t in my territory but we had a guy murder, someone, during his training period. We had a week-long, classroom-style training. On Tuesday night he shot and killed someone in an armed home robbery, he continued to come to training until he was caught by police. The entire thing was caught on the guy’s doorbell camera and it took the police a week to catch him. We found out he was being charged with murder when his manager saw it on the news and called us asking how to proceed.
We had an HR employee steal upwards of $20,000 over the course of about a year in time card theft. She would clock in when she left her home and stay clocked in throughout her commute. She would often take 2+ hour lunches and leave hours early but stayed clocked in. She would clock in for 12+ hours a day on weekends and claim to be ‘working from home’ but would just clock in and basically take the day off. At one point, she spent 20 hours in the office and clocked in for almost 80. It took them about a year to fire her and they ultimately chose not to sue, lucky her!
We had an employee threaten a manager with a loaded weapon, I don’t know all the details of that but something to do with the manager calling him a name and the employee finally having enough of it. I believe we ended up paying the employee a small amount of hush money so I know it wasn’t good.
We’ve got a manager (I work in a very blue-collar industry) who’s known to ask women who are taking care of their children in interviews. We’ve got another one who tries to figure out people’s ages based on their application and won’t interview anyone over 40. There’s a third who explicitly said he won’t hire women. That’s all run-of-the-mill stuff in my industry. Major HR violations but these guys have to have regular training on why calling someone the N-word because they were 5 minutes late isn’t appropriate so nothing surprises me anymore.
This wasn’t at my company but I know someone who had a manager in their department get fired for harassment. It wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill inappropriate comments, he would constantly make the one woman on his teamwork late, overload her with work, and then give her bad reviews on it. He called her names and often would talk about her appearance in front of the team. In an odd turn of events, they slept together and were even kind of friends outside of work.
She left the company and he was fired shortly after. They figured she probably told HR what was going on in her exit interview and he was fired for it. That wasn’t all it was… apparently, he had been hitting on an intern for a couple of months and she took that to HR just before the other girl left. Then as icing on the cake, he told a woman in another department that he could sleep with her entire department if he wanted, whether they liked it or not, and HR wouldn’t do anything about it. He was fired the next day. A textbook case of harassment and a man with a god complex. His termination followed him and it took him about a year to get another job. He has two degrees, a CPA, and a great work history prior to this.”
“What’s Your Ghost Policy Here?”
“Where do I start?
One employee wouldn’t work once it got dark because he was scared of ghosts (in the interview he asked if the building was haunted). He was from Ukraine and refused to listen to a woman boss. If I asked him to do something he would say ‘ok’ and then literally stuff the task between files in storage so I couldn’t find it. If my husband asked him to do something he couldn’t jump high enough up his butt to get it done.
He accused every single female employee of harassing him and ‘his wife didn’t appreciate it’. I asked for examples…the 55-year-old woman who is as sweet as a grandma asked him what cologne he was wearing (it smelled like he wore the whole bottle). I was looking for employees when a friend suggested I hire him and I said we already had and it wasn’t working well due to his wife’s complaints. Her response: ‘Wife?? He’s gay, haven’t you met his husband?’
Apparently to our work events he was bringing his sister as his wife? After he worked for us, he applied for a job elsewhere and listed my husband as a reference. A woman called to do a check and my husband told her he didn’t work with him, that I did but she wouldn’t talk to me because my name wasn’t listed. She asked him a few questions about his duties and my husband explained his duties…long pause on the other end ‘that’s not what he has listed…he said….’ to which my husband said those were MY duties as manager/business owner and he never ever had access to such positions and then he went on to explain to her this guy would never take direction for me. She quickly ended the convo.
Another story: Before we invested In cameras, we had one season where money theft was constantly happening and we had an idea who it was but couldn’t catch her. She manipulated us (it was my first year and I was naive), she always had a new (fake) type of cancer for reasons for missing work. One day a client came storming into my office and said she and several others would take their business away if we didn’t terminate her. Now not being from this area I didn’t have any background except her reference check. Turns out she’s stolen money and credit card numbers from various places of employment but she’s never been charged because she’s always apologized or repaid it back. So then the money missing made sense and we were right. Once we got rid of her the money stopped disappearing. She reapplied later on and her resume was so padded I turned it into a drinking game. The duties she put down under her position at my businesses either 1) didn’t exist or 2) were my job! When you pad your resume don’t send it to a previous employer!
One employee of ours developed a drinking problem. I couldn’t figure out why they were going outside every 15 minutes for a smoke. I dismissed it at first because they were a hard worker, put in long hours, and barely took a lunch break. But then I was finding bottles hidden in places and on the day I caught it, they had also overdosed on anti-depressant meds and I had to rush them to the ER and help hold them down as they kept trying to strip me and run. They were admitted to the psych ward, I didn’t hear anything for days and one day they just showed back up. The hospital let them out on day passes to come back to work because they would be in the hands of a responsible adult! This wasn’t cleared or discussed with me at all.
The last story, we had this one girl who started off great – on time, professional, great office etiquette. I thought I’d hit the jackpot. One day she went out for her smoke break and FORGOT TO COME BACK! I asked her the next day what happened and she looked at me dazed and confused and said she did come back. I showed her the time clock and camera and she said she had no idea what happened. She started missing shifts and on one busy Friday didn’t show up and I couldn’t get ahold of her. Another employee had gone on lunch and said she was outside our office wasted, laying in the street. I went out there to talk to her and she was adamant she didn’t work that day. Her glasses were broken and she was scrapped up and with two very large men who were intimidating. She ran away from me, missed her Saturday shift. Emailed me Sunday saying she had been in the hospital with a liver infection and would be in Monday with a note. I asked her for the note both Monday and Tuesday and she ran home to get it and never came back. She didn’t remember seeing me when she was wasted! And she was still wearing her broken glasses.”
Terminating TT The Teller
“Not an HR employee, but a manager who was handed an HR nightmare to help ‘resolve’. Someone will get a kick out of this.
Background: I was working as a Teller Manager in a small regional bank. My branch had six small colleges within a 30-minute drive. The company liked to hire college students to work as tellers because they usually didn’t want to work full time (no benefits, therefore cheaper to employ), and with their somewhat random availability, it was easy to schedule even the unpopular shifts. All of the tellers in my branch are college students.
I get a call from the regional HR Manager, he is transferring a teller to my location from another branch (across town) who has been nothing but a headache. I am to document every single thing that this teller does wrong, no matter how minor the infraction. Apparently, she had ticked off all of her coworkers thereafter filing HR complaints against all of them. I’ll call her TT (Transferred Teller) from here on.
I was able to get more detail out of one of her managers. TT was a student at one of the local colleges, but her only hobbies were riding her horse and going to her church. The only things she ever wanted to talk about were her horse, her beliefs, and trying to convert coworkers to her religion. Talk about anything else and she’d find a way to connect the topic to violating her beliefs. Criticize her, or talk about something that she wouldn’t do, and she’d file a harassment complaint.
TT was transferred to my branch., and on her first day, she went off on another teller for talking about a date said teller’s boyfriend had taken her on. The next day, she filed her first HR complaint, harassment, against one of my staff for talking about using a certain famous dating app. Speaking to TT while taking the complaint, discovered she’s very socially conservative.
The employee handbook said, in summary, on the topic of harassment, what counts depended on what offended the most easily offended person present, so watch your mouth and where you talked. I pulled each teller into a one-on-one meeting, walked them through the sections of the handbook on harassment, and warned them to be careful of what they discussed where. I did not call out TT, but everyone guessed who we were talking about. Word about her had made its way around the grapevine.
Over the course of the next couple of weeks, she filed a new complaint roughly every other day. All of the complaints were for coworkers talking about or doing, normal things for 18 – 22 year-olds, such as: a coworker went to a party and had a one-night stand; saw a coworker hug her boyfriend when he brought her lunch; a coworker wore a blouse that showed a bit of cleavage; a coworker refused to get up early on Sunday to come to church with her.
Morale was low, everyone is stressed coming in every day, most of the staff are refusing to talk to TT. I’m grumbling to the HR Manager, who just answers everything with ‘document her infractions’. So I’m writing up every minor mistake, categorizing them, and for each category I think I have enough, composing a formal write-up and submitting it to HR for approval. I wish I could remember how many I wrote.
Was sure we’d be stuck with TT for months before I had enough Tardies or Drawer Errors for HR to be willing to fire her. But after about a month, she made the error we needed. There’s a religious group that’s well known in our state, and the group’s HQ is in our city. The group’s religious leader occasionally would come into my branch, for some reason he liked dropping off deposits and transfers himself. It didn’t take much to get him preaching on a topic. Everyone would just smile and nod along while finishing his transaction. But, TT couldn’t do that. Apparently, her church takes some issues with what his church teaches.
He came in to run a transaction. She called him next out of line. While running his transaction, she recognized the name of the church. They started talking, then arguing, then she was yelling at him. Unfortunately, I was in the back, so I missed this. Fortunately, I was in the bank, so it went on long enough that her customer took offense. She was dragged into the back to separate them. He filed a complaint, which I wrote up as an official customer complaint. Those get reviewed by a VP and the Operations Director, but I also CC’d the HR Manager. Religious harassment of a commercial customer with a few million on deposit was sufficient for HR to terminate her the next day.”
That Is Not How You Celebrate!
“Man, I’m almost scared we know the same person. This was a woman, though. She got a new job knowing there was a pee test on her first day, and she wouldn’t be given a second chance if she didn’t pass. The weekend before she starts, she wants to celebrate her new job. Smokes weed, does some mushrooms, a few party pills on top of it all. Goes in on Monday, fails, loses the job.
And the most perplexing part was her explanation to us. We basically went in a circular argument that went something like this:
Me: ‘You knew there was a test?’
Me: ‘And you knew all this stuff would fail you?’
Me: ‘And you did want the job?’
Me: ‘Why the heck did you do the stuff, then?’
Her: ‘I wanted to celebrate my new job!’
Me: ‘But you knew the stuff you celebrated with would lose you the job.’
Me: ‘Why didn’t you just have a drink or do something that wouldn’t show up?’
Her: ‘I wanted to smoke!’
Me: ‘But you also wanted the job?’
Her: ‘Yeah but I wanted to smoke to celebrate the job.’
Me: ‘Knowing that smoking would mean you didn’t have the job?’
Her: ‘I just really wanted to smoke! I didn’t feel like getting drinking!’
Rinse and repeat.”
J is Just Creepy
“My coworker has some crazy HR stories. I’ll call him J and I’ll preface this by saying yes these are true stories with some details omitted to protect both our identities and that I don’t know how he’s managed to stay employed for 15+ years.
My first month into my job, J comes into the crowded staff room with his phone and earphones plugged in. The door leading to the outside area was locked so he sat in the middle of the staff room and talked to the woman on his phone. I finish up my break and head back to work whereupon a few minutes later, the HR head leads my manager, J, J’s sister (our co-worker), and our assistant manager to her office.
I wasn’t said anything by them, however, I’d just spent my break talking to a woman from another department who was also on break long enough to see what happened. J had started dirty talking a scantily clad woman on his phone in the middle of the staff room and was egging her on to show him more (while in the still crowded staff room). One of the other employees looked over his shoulder to confirm what he was doing, then reported him to HR. He was monitored on break for a week or so then back to normal.
After a year of me working there, we got help from an 18-year-old student who would work on weekends. J has a history of shady business with younger women. He was assigned to work late at night with her one night, just the two of them. A few days later we’re informed that an ‘incident’ has caused J to be suspended for 2 weeks.
Eventually, he came back and accidentally let some details slip that led us to piece together that he’d acted inappropriately and harassed her to the point she reported and then filed a restraining order against him. He was suspended but came back early because she quit.
That time he seemed to have finally learned his lesson, we had a new girl about 18-19 start working there and she said that he never speaks to her when they’re working together.”