We all spend a significant chunk of our time in places of work. Nevertheless, most of us don’t actually know these workplaces as well as we might think. Even if we are there every single day, there is often much more going on behind the scenes than anyone can perceive from the surface. And that’s no accident! There are many things that people in businesses don’t want their employees or customers to know about. Some businesses even have deep, dark secrets that no one ever could have imagined or suspected to be true—and that no one was ever meant to find out about. Here are 42 stories about the craziest workplace secrets that employees have discovered and been bold enough to share.
42. Sounds Like Someone Needs a Detention
I work in education. My former chairman knowingly allowed a female employee to embezzle money from the school. I found out and blew the whistle. I assumed the woman would be fired and the chair would be demoted. Instead, the woman was asked to quit and given a package, and the chair stayed in his position because of his status as a coach. He proceeded to make my job very difficult for the next five years until he gave up the chairmanship to someone competent. His secret was that the woman was his mistress, and she was also a former student of his from just a few years earlier.
41. Not That Dire…
The secret I know is that our company president still took his annual raise last year, despite the rest of the company having had a salary/wage increase freeze for over two years due to our “dire financial issues.” He now makes over a million a year. There are only 30 employees in the company.
40. Knowledge is Power
My boss likes to pretend he’s only making $100K-$200K a year so that the low-level employees don’t ask for more. Meanwhile, he actually makes more than $6M annually. I make more than everyone solely thanks to the fact that I run the books and know how much he actually makes, so I have the leverage to ask for more.
39. Sticky Situation for Your Boss
At my first internship, I had a very restricted laptop that needed the admin password to do just about anything. My boss kept it on a sticky note. So one time, during a meeting, I just glanced over and memorized it. I never needed him to authorize something again and my efficiency went through the roof.
38. A Siesta Fiesta
I know the key code to a storeroom I’m not supposed to have access to. I use it for naps whenever I want.
37. You Needed Me
I work for a company that fixes people’s computer problems. The big secret is that 95% of the time, we just Google the problem and don’t actually have any special skills. Instead of paying us $100 to fix your computer, you could most likely Google the issue yourself and resolve it within the next ten minutes, almost always.
36. Income Info Inequality
Once, instead of receiving my paycheck, I accidentally received a file containing every paycheck for everybody in the company. Thus, I knew how much money everybody was making, what benefits they had, etc. For the record, this included the CEO and upper management.
35. Don’t Get Seasick When You Read This One…
The chiefs on my ship and others in our home port are being investigated for wife swapping. This may sound harmless, but adultery, even when mutually agreed upon, is technically illegal in the military, so it was therefore always kept as a big secret amongst them.
34. Till Work Do Us Part
I know that my boss is sleeping with the head of HR. They’re both married—and not to each other. Pretty sure I’m not supposed to know this…
33. Heart and Sole
I know that the shoe store I used to work at covered up problems with their faulty shoes in order to sell more. We were encouraged to sell shoes that they knew were faulty, and to not tell the customer about the problem if they didn’t see it themselves. And then we were instructed to play dumb if they came back for a refund or complaint. It was really immoral and all. I remember serving a pair of shoes to the nicest guy on his 16th birthday, who was there spending his birthday money on this. I knew they had a fault and decided to inform him of it. My manager was not impressed. Glad I don’t work in a place like that anymore…
32. I’ll Stick to Coffee
I know that our CEO secretly does coke before public speaking—and I don’t mean Diet or Zero.
31. Don’t Have a Cow, Man
I’m a cook for one of the food courts at a major university and we have a food section that is run by a very well known franchise restaurant that serves burgers, pancakes, wraps, and milkshakes. I found out recently that the veggie burger that we were told was 100% vegetarian and which we had been advertising as such actually contains beef.
30. Tailgate Technology
The secret I know is that my boss stores cases of beer in the server room for our computers because the temperature is always kept consistently cool in there.
29. To Delete or Not to Delete
At a place that I used to work for, I was the only person with any IT smarts, so anything to do with computers or technology was passed on to me. One of my responsibilities included sorting through emails using a spam filter that forwarded any suspected spam to my inbox, so that I could then delete the ones that were spam and pass on the legitimate ones to the people in question. On two separate occasions, the filter forwarded me an email receipt for a large order of Viagra—which one of my colleagues had clearly purchased with his work email address. I just deleted them rather than forward them on because, well, it’s just easier that way…
28. Don’t Let the Hotel Managers Bite!
I know that the bedbugs in the hotel I work at are not isolated to just one room anymore and that our management has no plans of telling our guests…
27. Drinking and Deceiving
My boss is faking going through an alcohol recovery program. In the meantime, she hit her ex-husband with a car. She is never going to change or get fired because she’s the owner’s daughter, who “can’t do anything about her.”
26. If I Can’t Have It, No One Can!
I know that the real reason my boss won’t replace the aging fleet of company cars for people below him is that he wasn’t allowed to get the car he wanted and he’s now taking it out on the rest of us. He’s pretty emotionally weak, and now he’s just pouting around. And because of that, nobody is getting a new car. Even though a Jeep Patriot isn’t supposed to live to 200,000 miles…
25. The Costanza Method
The office secret I’ve discovered is that upper management has so much going on that if you just act super hurried, they will think you are doing a great job at something and will leave you alone. Honestly, that might work in most places—give it a try!
24. And, The Michael Scott Method
I know so much about how crazy my boss really is that it’s not even funny. He watches weird and inappropriate videos on his office computer all the time and he almost always takes a nap at his desk after lunch. I’ve also seen him drinking beer for breakfast.
23. Bathroom Break
My boss’s boss doesn’t flush, pees on the toilet seat, and doesn’t wash her hands after using the bathroom. Unfortunately, I know because I witnessed this first hand…
22. Special Treatment
I know that my workplace’s super strict “zero tolerance” policy on substances only applies to some of us. Turns out that the CEO’s executive assistant and the head of HR go out and party—and I mean party—on weekends together, and he doesn’t mind. At least I always know that if they’ve been out that weekend, I don’t have to worry about getting tested that week.
21. Too Much Information
All I can say is that you would probably be surprised at how much hooking up goes on in the back of the Pizza Hut I work at. Just saying.
20. Leveling the Playing Field
Not my current job but at a past job, my manager quit and the CEO gave me access to his emails so I could find information about how to do projects that only he knew about. While on his emails, I started looking for all the salary information I could find on all the coworkers on my team. I found out that I was being paid significantly less than the person who previously had my position. I went in and negotiated about a 40% raise with the CEO based on that information.
19. This Sounds Like an Incident to Me
I know that the managers at my former job would falsify department records so that they would all get a nice bonus at the end of the year for not having any incidents.
18. Try a Little Kindness
I know that the reason there’s such a high turnover rate in my office is because our management fired the one competent manager for “being too kind.”
17. Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace
My office secret is that all of our CEO’s inspirational speeches about success are actually written for him by low-level grunts. Makes me wonder about all the other “inspiring leaders” and their great speeches of the past…
16. Less is More
My office purposely messes up people’s wages on their paychecks to see if A) they’re honest about receiving extra or B) they can save money by not paying people the full amount. It’s such a scum thing to do, and I’m just glad it never happened to me. Yet, at least…
I know the secret password for the executive laptops in our office. The IT guy from four years ago never changed it from something that we all had all known about before.
6. Sounding the Alarm
I found out that the managers of the company I work for secretly know that in March of next year, we will be losing our biggest catering contract and all employees will probably lose their jobs instantly. I can’t sleep at night, nor can I look any of them in the eyes. The company that contracts us has already started negotiating with another contractor and I am friends with someone high up in that company who privately confirmed all of this when I asked. They’ve told me to get out ASAP. My main boss doesn’t even know as much as I do. I have been dropping hints to try and warn but I don’t know what to do. If I can, I will find new jobs for my team before then and encourage them to put in applications, but I can’t make them so who knows how it’ll turn out.
13. In the Hood
I know that those shiny new fume hoods and laminar flow cabinets at my old job didn’t actually have working vents.
12. Red Scare
I work in a restaurant kitchen. The big secret from the customers that I know about is that our most expensive salmon dish on the menu is not actually the expensive red salmon you think you’re getting, it’s just cheap pink salmon with red food dye.
11. Cool Story, Bro
I know that the third story of our office building isn’t complete yet. A colleague told me about how he was reprimanded for talking about it to people not in the know. I wasn’t in the know. Makes you wonder what they are trying to hide…
10. Jack of All Secrets
By jumping from department to department over the years, I knew a whole combination of things at my old job that no one person was ever supposed to know. I knew alarm codes, vault combinations, locations of keys, passwords, schedules, location and functionality of cameras and security systems. This led to pretty much nothing more than a lot of idle daydreaming on bad days of things I could, but never would, do if the company didn’t keep me happy.
9. Soap Opera
The hotel I work at tries to save money by making our own detergent to wash the linens in—out of all the unfinished complimentary soap that you used and left behind.
8. Vanity Cam
I know that only one of the security cameras in our building actually works. The rest are for show.
7. Losing It All
I’m a casino worker. I know about a disturbing number of suicides that happen on our property. Almost none are reported to the public.
6. This One Stings
At the convenience store where I work, a few of us found a live scorpion inside the frozen yogurt machine one day. The manager does not want to let the public know that this ever happened.
5. Company Transformers
From my last job: “Under no circumstances are you even to look at what’s going on in the other half of the plant.” I peeked. What was going on? They were building an automated side of the factory. I got replaced by a robot a year later.
4. On the Lam
One of our guys disappeared from the office for a few years without explanation and just returned recently. I know where he was that whole time. Turns out he took a work van to rob a bank. He got arrested and after five years of “working somewhere else,” he “decided” that he wanted to come back to work for us again.
3. Mine! Mine! Mine!
Someone had been stealing things from everyone’s desks in our office. I set up a teddy cam on someone’s desk (with their permission) to find out who was doing it. Turns out it was the owner of the company. I confronted him about it in private. Over the course of two to three months, the majority of things then started reappearing and the stealing came to a stop from then on. At least for the most part—occasionally something would still go missing, but it wasn’t anywhere near as often or severe as before.
2. Side Interest
My boss is secretly a competitive ballroom dancer, but he’s too embarrassed to tell anyone. I found out when my girlfriend and I took a beginner course and he was in the studio working on a routine. I got sworn to secrecy, but I think it’s super cool and interesting.
1. Who’s Your Daddy?
I know that my boss has been secretly having an affair with his married secretary for many years and that the secretary’s first kid—now 14 years old—is actually my boss’s biological child. It’s a big secret, no one is allowed to know—ever. My boss is also married with kids of his own, by the way.