Human Resources is supposed to protect a company’s employees from any and all workplace nightmares. But sometimes, the department itself is the real horror story. From bizarre mix-ups to disturbing company practices, these Redditors walked into routine boardroom meetings, only to come out with these unsettling stories to tell.
1. Anon, Please
My company’s HR department hired consultants to run morale-building sessions for employees. Basically, they told us, “We’re not from the company. You can tell us all the things you don’t like about working here and what you would like to see changed. We’ll put it all into a report for management. Don’t worry, everything is anonymous, we just need material for our report and you guys get to have your say in improving things around here.”
Turns out, HR and the consultants recorded all the sessions and played the highlights for management. People were disciplined for criticizing the company or their immediate superiors, and any shred of faith or trust in management that the employees may have had was instantly incinerated. Managers now complain that they don’t know what’s going on in their teams because nobody tells them anything. I wonder why.
2. Straight To The Top
We introduced a new performance-based bonus system at work, where if you exceeded expectations on the goals set for the year, you’d get a good percentage bonus. So everyone worked really hard in my department, and things got done above and beyond. I worked 45+ hours a week, came in overnight; all that jazz. It all went so wrong.
Eventually, we had a huge meeting—HR said that because everyone worked so hard, EVERY employee in the department would be downgraded from the highest or second-highest levels. We were fuming…and then we found out a few weeks later that management still got their percentage bonus. I quit about six months later.
3. Loose Lips Sink Your Ship
I worked at a small company that grew big enough to hire an HR person. Her office was down from mine so in the mornings I’d swing by and say hi. That turned into grabbing a cup of coffee from the pot she had just made, then into splitting a pastry and talking about life. I found that if I mentioned someone’s name in passing, a few minutes later she would spill the beans about that person’s life.
She’d spill on what work issues they had, their health issues, family issues, etc. I learned really quickly that if I had any issues, I should not take them to her. She made it like six months before she got fired.
4. Playing Dirty
I went to HR to report that my team’s manager was shorting all of our paychecks. HR’s response was to adopt a new company-wide policy addressing the paycheck issue and back-paying most people for a certain amount…That sounded like a decent solution, but then they got revenge on me. They framed me for “work avoidance” because I was the whistleblower.
HR and IT then disabled part of my login account to a tool we used, preventing me from doing my job properly. They then fired me a few months later despite not doing anything to help me fix the issue. They tried to deny my unemployment claim afterward as well. They told the unemployment representative that they “had logs” showing that I did something to break the tool, which was nonsense.
Thankfully, they didn’t think to disable my email access in a timely manner, so I was able to back up all my emails with IT documenting exactly what went down. Unemployment approved my claim and hit them with a major penalty to their insurance.
5. Good Riddance
Upon giving my two weeks notice, I got this stupid email from an HR rep ranting about me being a snowflake. She went on about how millennials like me can’t take the stress of a real job and how we think we’re so important and unique when in reality, we are replaceable.
After the initial shock, I replied by saying, “You are absolutely correct. Me staying or not is meaningless. Consider my resignation immediate from this moment, please give me the paperwork to sign.”
6. On Repeat
At my last “real” job before striking out on my own, I had an exit interview with the HR lady. Well, actually, she was just someone who was friends with the company president who was filling in, because the actual HR lady with a degree in the field had quit. As it happened, a lot of people at this place quit. It was a terrible place to work.
Management was out of touch with delusions of grandeur, limping along and building websites for a business niche that consisted mostly of old people who thought the Internet was magic. During the exit interview, this woman asked me why I was leaving. I told her I liked my co-workers a lot but I hated the company. Her reply made me deeply uncomfortable.
She got this exasperated look on her face and seemed genuinely upset. She then told me that she’d been getting that same line from everybody else who quit and had their exit interview recently. It boggled my mind that she could hear the same thing over and over again from so many people and yet they still haven’t stopped to think that they should change something.
7. Calling All Hotheads
I asked my boss for a desk phone with a speaker function because sometimes I need to hold conferences with people on the other line and the people in my office. All we had were these old, yellow phones that made doing that impossible. So he told me to make a request to him in an email CCing our office manager, and he’d send it to the HR department of our region.
SI put forth a nice e-mail outlining what I was requesting and why I needed it. My office manager replied to everyone in the email and asked HR, “Per the request, should I order the phone through the same channels I have used before, or is there a new policy?” HR responded with a livid message. She demanded to know why I needed this phone (despite the reason having already been explained in the e-mail) and then accused my office manager of going behind her back to order phones without approval.
My office manager told my boss, who then called HR and chewed her out. He came out of his office and yelled at me, saying, “See what you’ve caused?!” HR had to apologize to the office manager for her accusations, and it turns out, after everybody yelled their lungs out for an hour, the speaker I needed was literally free and we had boxes of them in storage.
I had that phone for a month before HR rolled out new fancy phones that were actually expensive and convoluted, requiring training to set up and use…At the company picnic, we had to wear name tags, and I had never met the HR lady face to face before. She came up to me and said, “Oh we haven’t met, what’s your name?” I tried to hide my nametag but it didn’t work. She read it and didn’t seem happy to see me.
8. Above My Pay Grade
I was pulled into a meeting with two HR reps in the middle of my shift. They took me to this really nice boardroom, which was confusing because I was just a grunt and they were located literally floors above where I should ever be. They sat me down and asked me, “What do you have to say for yourself?” I told them that I had no idea what they were talking about.
Everyone was really quiet and I started to get scared. They then said, “You know what you did—this is cause for termination,” blah, blah, blah. I was literally thinking to myself, this is really excessive of them if they’re punishing me for being a few minutes late sometimes. I insisted that I didn’t know what was going on. One of them then realized something was wrong because they flipped open a file and said, “Uhh, you’re Jason, right?”
Turns out, they got me mixed up with someone else who had the same name. On the elevator ride down by myself, I was still sweating. I don’t know what that other person did but man, HR does not play.
9. Honesty Isn’t The Best Policy
During a performance review cycle one year, my manager at the time opened with, “Just so everyone is aware before I start performance reviews, I will put ‘Needs improvement’ for at least one field for everyone. This is from upper management and I don’t personally agree with that, so don’t take it personally.” This was in a private department Slack channel so that all my co-workers could see, but our up-lines weren’t in the channel.
When he actually got around to my performance review, he started with: “Firstly, I’ve been advised to retract my statement about the mandatory “Needs improvement” before going into the review.” I figured someone ratted him out. I’m really wondering who the rat was. Personally, I’d rather have an honesty about things like that, but I can see why HR and the up-line managers wouldn’t.
10. Deny, Deny, Deny
I put in some honest opinions about a member of my team—they were fair criticisms of a system he designed that was not working as promised. I had little involvement with it, but my concerns still seemed reasonable to me. Ultimately, I was demoted for this. A position was created above me and a colleague who was my equal was turned into my manager.
This happened the same week my husband passed away and the management felt horrible because of the timing. But still, on my return to work, I was basically called out during a company meeting, where the higher-ups said anyone who thought the system didn’t work was stupid.
Cut to two years later. The person above me quit, partly because he was scared to tell the company that things had gone wrong because of how I was treated. So they now had to promote me to his position as I was the only one who was qualified for it. At the next company meeting, they admitted that the system wasn’t working and they finally hired consultants to find out why”
I laughed. I couldn’t help it. I had to leave the room.
11. Bonus Revenge
The HR manager at a small hospital I worked at had a bad habit of not paying out the sign-on bonus that was given incrementally in three payments through the course of a year, as well as the sign-on bonuses for picking up extra shifts. After repeated requests to be belatedly compensated, I took it to corporate. While they addressed my issue immediately, they also got their revenge on me.
A couple of weeks later, they fired me because of a technicality. I forgot my badge one shift and my relief was late to take over, causing me to receive more points against me than if I had called out for that shift. When I was called in to receive my notification, the director of nursing was shocked, but she couldn’t do anything.
12. Do As You’re Told
The HR guy who helped tabulate these customer service test results admitted that even though the passing score was 70%, he loved the company so much that he had taken it upon himself to only pass people scoring above 95% up the chain. To make matters worse, these were personality tests designed to detect how subservient you were to others.
13. Pure Of Heart
Every second Friday of the month, people in my office would get drinks after work. One time, it happened to fall on my birthday. Because they let me pick the bar, I figured I would just invite some friends there too to meet up with me after. Usually, my co-workers would only stay from 4 pm to 5:30 pm and then leave. Well…one co-worker, who was generally a bit odd, stayed and sort of stuck to me and my friends.
I didn’t really want her there, but she couldn’t take a hint and I was three drinks in, so I just gave up and didn’t say anything. At some point, one of my friends started talking about intimate activities. Nothing particularly vulgar, or even about our personal lives—it was more abstract; about the politics of it and stuff. The following Tuesday, I got an email that made my blood run cold.
It was from HR, and it was about having “inappropriate conversations” with co-workers. I tried to explain what happened, and even though I think the person believed me and other workers corroborated my story, I was written up for misconduct. I obviously did not want that on my record, so I escalated it all the way up the company. That…did not go well.
Eventually, we had a four-hour meeting with a regional HR person where my co-worker just cried and caved. Then afterward, she got a bunch of people in trouble for allegedly promoting a “toxic work environment” because nobody wanted to be around her and she was never invited to any social events. It was the stupidest thing I’d ever experienced. Of course, that doesn’t mean all HR reports of harassment or misconduct are false and unwarranted. Still…
Like I said, she was odd…not so much a Karen, but like a former Jehovah’s Witness who was homeschooled and did not know how to function in the real world.
14. An Inside Job
I worked in HR, and the workers’ compensation lady at my work refused to train anyone on how to provide payment information in order to get their benefits. She had also accrued enough PTO to be out five and six weeks at a stretch, leaving injured employees to twist in the wind. I only spent a couple of years in HR. It was a couple of years too many.
I will sweep streets and clean sewers before I will ever work with such psychopathic people again.
15. Full Disclosure
One day, this stupid, absorbed, airheaded HR person made the WORST mistake I’ve ever seen at my company. She replied to an actual spam email that said it was from the boss. In so doing, she leaked the personal information of all 400 employees. Everything on their job profiles was sent to con artists. Thanks, Kathy, you idiot.
16. Tit For Tat
When I started my job, the person who was training me was telling me that a leader in a different department had been harassing her, so she finally told HR about it. It ended up horrifically. Well, in response, HR pulled up their chat logs, and since she had called him a bad slur for calling her all sorts of names, she also got written up.
17. Zero-Sum Game
I worked in HR for a time, and it soured my view of HR more than any stories I’d heard. One incident that stands out in my memory involved a young, casual worker who accused her boss of harassment. I dutifully brought it up the chain, but the higher-ups did not care if the boss had done anything or not. It cost the company nothing to no longer give her any hours, so that’s what they did.
That’s just one case that I dealt with, but you’d see it on a daily basis. There were literally pop-up notifications on phone calls and emails from people deemed too high up to refuse. You’re a part-time employee who’s done everything right, hasn’t been paid in two months, and can’t make rent? Oh well, out of luck. Nothing we can do. Meanwhile, their boss who forgot to put in a timesheet? Of course sir; an expedited payment will be in your account by close of business sir.
HR is there to protect the business. Do you want protection? Join a union.
18. Bait And Switch
At my job, we used to hire a few special needs individuals who would do some cleaning and light duties around the office. One day, one of them did something wrong. Although I can’t remember the exact specifics, it was definitely very minor. The manager’s words gave me a huge chill. The manager said out loud, right next to this guy, “Why do we keep hiring these retards?”
One of the girls who saw this whole thing happen was rightfully angry about it and reported it to HR. The next day, she was put on unpaid leave for “creating a hostile work environment.” The same manager is still here… she is not.
19. My Kingdom For A Chair
After four years on the job, I was given a first and final warning for asking why the heck HR was behind a locked door and now dominated over half the first floor. It was also filled with new furniture that was unused after six months. Meanwhile, my chair was taken by another employee and I was told to use a chair without padding instead.
An executive from another department heard my complaint, took one of the unused chairs from the HR expansion, and gave it to me, explaining that if I had taken it myself, I’d be fired. She was literally daring them to fire her.
20. Out In The Open
The company I work for does anonymous surveys every year. In my first two years, I was working under this horrible manager in a terrible department. While the surveys were anonymous, they were broken down per manager. This was fine, but my manager had only three people under him, so it was easy to determine who was who.
At a department meeting, the associate director said, “If the person who isn’t happy wants to say something, now is the time or we will just move on.” What happened next haunts me to this day. 30 people were in that room and most of them looked at me. It was so embarrassing. My manager used to make me use an Excel sheet to track everything I did, and he would look over it during our weekly one-on-ones and he would often say stuff like, “There are 20 minutes of your day not accounted for.” So yeah, I complained.
Luckily, he was taken out of a manager position and the department was eventually split up. Now I’m in a new role making twice as much under a new manager who is amazing and understanding. If he ever leaves the company, I’m definitely following him. The people you work under set the tone and it makes all the difference in your day-to-day.
21. Masking The Truth
An anesthesiologist I worked with refused to keep his mask on at the end of the surgery, even though it’s required to stay on in order to keep the room sterile. I asked him again to put his mask back on and he hit my arm. At that point, I got in his face about it and told him to never touch me or anyone else again. I then wrote an incident report, which went ignored.
After that, I followed up with HR. The HR lady replied, “Well, what do you want me to do about it?” I replied, “Your job,” and then silence from her. I’ve never had a good experience from HR, and that jerk finally got fired after five more nurses came forward saying he hit them as well.
22. Raising The Bar
Our entire IT department got tested based on our skills level. Turns out, more than half of us were suited for higher categories. In other words, we were super underpaid for the services we could provide the company. Well, suddenly the test didn’t matter and HR basically forgot about it, but now they had a bunch of employees who knew they were being played. Everyone left eventually.
23. Doesn’t Play Well With Others
I was working at a five-star hotel years ago. I was a banquet man, so I would set up and tear down events like weddings, parties, etc. I knew something was up when, as an inexperienced new guy, my other co-workers left me alone to tear down a huge Bar mitzvah and set it up for the NBA. As you could imagine, the room was a mess.
I stayed by myself until 5 am to tear it down and set up it. Well, I couldn’t get it done. Once the morning serving staff came in, they complained. I was like, “Screw this” and went home. The next shift, I went to HR to complain. That’s when they told me I was getting suspended for being “hostile” towards my co-workers. Days later, I got a call from them telling me that it would be best to “separate.”
I remember telling a woman I was dating this story and she was just like, “That’s messed up.” Indeed.
24. Unhappy To Help
Overall, I’ve been able to get along with HR departments—with one big exception. I was working a help desk job for a company during college and the head of HR called for help. He was making an Excel spreadsheet and he couldn’t figure out how to make a formula do what he wanted. I offered to take a look as we were in the same building.
He told me I couldn’t help because the spreadsheet was full of confidential information. So I asked then if he could describe what exactly he was trying to do without giving away any specific info, and he, once again, stressed that what he was trying to do was confidential. It was definitely a fishy situation—how could I help him if I couldn’t see it? He wouldn’t even tell me what it was he was trying to do.
At that point, he agreed that I wouldn’t be able to assist him since he couldn’t divulge anything. But here’s the kicker. As soon as we hung up, he called my boss to complain that I was useless.
25. Friends In High Places
At the last real job I had, not counting a short stint at a call center, I was working for a contractor. Another contractor bought out the company, and they shuffled some of us around. About halfway through my stint at a new location, I started having some serious problems with one of the leads. Basically, these were guys who were one step below the supervisor.
Long story short, this guy was harassing me, falsifying records, and claiming that I was wasting time. Just a whole laundry list of accusations. I went to HR to voice my concerns, only to have the new HR director take the lead’s side because they were old friends. I was given one of two options. Either they would buy out my remaining contract…or I could accept a transfer to somewhere else.
Based on my skill set, I didn’t relish the idea of being shuttled off to God knows where, so I let them buy out my contract. They paid me about half of what my remaining contract was, and I never looked back.
26. Peer Pressure
During an exit interview with my last job, HR asked me where I was going to next. HR: So, what’s the name of the company you are moving to next? Me: I’m not really comfortable disclosing that. HR: Are you sure? It would really help us out. Me: I’d rather not say. HR: It’s company policy. You need to tell us. This is where I snapped.
Me: I said NO, and if you continue further you’ll be hearing from my lawyer. I told my old boss this after I left and he was absolutely shocked. HR has no right to know anything about the next place you are moving to. It’s literally none of their business but they tried to press it out of me anyway, more than likely to call them up and talk bad about me.
27. Keep It In The Family
The HR lady was the boss’s sister, and the boss just so happened to be a narcissist. As an HR lady, she had very little actual life experience because they both came from a big pharma family and never really had a sense of what working a real job was like. The boss could do no wrong in his sister’s eyes, so complaining about anything just got you gaslit. I’m so glad I’m not there anymore.
28. Candid Camera
We found a spy camera in our department office. It was shaped like a charging brick and had been recording video and audio all night. We copied the videos off the camera after the offender took them down and left them out on their desk. We then took the video file, which showed the person sneaking around an employee to remove the camera, and turned that in with the information of what happened.
That was almost a year ago now and nothing has been done. We are getting ready to turn it in ourselves to the FBI. No idea why the company hasn’t reported anything.
29. Liar, Liar
HR ordered me to downgrade my three excellent employee reviews to “satisfactory” because management didn’t recognize their names. I got written up for telling my employees this. But that wasn’t even the worst part. After that, HR denied that they told me anything, even though I had the emails from them documenting it.
Totally worth it. My employees were excellent and got the raises they deserved.
In the six years I worked at this company, I forgot to hit the “Submit” button on my timesheet once. Queue HR telling me that I wouldn’t get paid for my worked hours. They also called me in for a disciplinary interview which was essentially one hour of four people telling me how dare I forget to click “Submit.” FYI, I forgot to hit “Submit” because I was so overworked, and I couldn’t believe all four of them had time to waste an hour on such a useless meeting.
31. Crash And Burn
My co-worker accidentally backed his company truck into my personal car while it was parked. He alerted me and our local manager immediately—we took photos, filled out the incident report, yadda yadda yadda. We did all the proper stuff we were supposed to do. Everyone in our office was in agreement about what happened; that it was an honest accident and the company’s insurance should cover the cost of fixing my car.
Then the HR director got involved. First, he tried to get me to assume liability since it was my personal vehicle that “caused” the accident. Um, my car was parked in the parking lot and I was inside at my desk when it happened. When I pointed this out, he backed down and said he would file the claim. But he had another nasty surprise in store for me.
Next, I got a call from a hostile insurance adjuster from my company’s insurance demanding that I provide my insurance information or they would be pursuing court action. It turns out the HR director had filed the claim saying that I had run into the parked work truck with my car and tried to flee the scene until a co-worker saw what was going on and reported me. REALLY.
I informed the adjuster of what had actually happened and emailed her the photos, signed incident reports, and witness statements that we had filled out. She changed her tune pretty quickly and said she would get back to me. The next day, I was slapped with a “settlement agreement” from HR asking me to accept $1,100 for repairs and to sign a form releasing the company from any further responsibility.
I had only just dropped my car off at the body shop and hadn’t even gotten the estimate back yet. When I obviously declined, I was told that I either had to accept their offer or be out of luck. At this point, I reached out to my own insurance and told them what had happened. As I went through the sequence of events, I could hear my agent getting almost giddy about all the blatantly improper tactics HR had tried on me.
In the end, they processed my claim and pursued my own company’s insurance through subrogation. He also mentioned that they would probably be seeking additional damages due to the falsification of statements in the initial claim. In the end, the damage ended up costing over $4,000 to fix but I didn’t have to pay a cent, not even my deductible.
I don’t know if the HR director experienced any consequences, but there was a comment in our finance VP’s year-end report about needing to “reduce extraneous costs due to reporting delays and inaccuracies in liability claims.”
32. Don’t Sleep On This
I’m in IT at a hospital and I put in long hours, weekend work, etc., regularly. I’ve been here for over 10 years and basically rebuilt their operation properly from the ground up. I once had a server incident and put in 12 hours on a Sunday night, which everyone knew about. The following Monday, there was a staff meeting that ran three hours in a hot room, and I went to sleep during a particularly boring rant.
I got called into HR over this—for the first time in my 30+ years of employment. They lectured me about commitments to work and even had the nerve to warn me that they “fire people for sleeping on the job.” Yes, they fire nurses who sleep on the night shift without monitoring their patients, not staffers who drift off in a status meeting after finishing a 90-hour week and operating on a couple of hours of sleep.
Apparently, the only reason they were up in arms, though, is that the ranting person complained about not having my attention “in a critical staff update” to her friend…the CEO. That was two years ago and I’m still not over it. Every time a recruiter calls me and I’m tempted to dodge them, that incident comes to mind.
33. A Real Piece Of Work
The head of HR molested me. He used all the wording from the anti-harassment training that he had arranged for the place. At the time, my employer was deciding whether to keep me or can me, and I was very stressed about it. He was the one to decide. I had a meeting with him about it and he made up a bunch of excuses to keep hugging me.
“Ha ha ha, this is OK, right? I have your consent, right? Gotta ask consent! Ha ha ha.” I mean, who do you go to when it’s the head of HR that does this? Oh, but there was a cruel twist. They had already fired me at that point and he knew it, but he didn’t tell me. We had another meeting with the head of my division a week or so later where they just said, “We aren’t renewing you.”
He then tossed a big envelope across the table with all the unemployment stuff.
34. Removing The Problem
My much older, married boss kissed me after a day off-site. I told a woman in HR. She was furious. The next day, she said that the MALE CEO wanted to handle the situation. I was removed from the project and my boss was not punished. HR is a joke.
35. Sugar And Spice And Nothing Nice
One of my co-workers is known to be a general screw-up, but she would make up for this flaw by being nice and participating in every social committee. Well, she recently changed departments due to being promoted. How did this even happen? Her manager would cover up her bad work for reasons that seemed to make no sense to me. Predictably then, her new manager soon noticed she couldn’t actually do her job and wanted to send her back.
Our department quickly blocked this request—no one wanted this woman! So her manager actually quit for another job. Seriously. Soon after, a new manager came in from another department. He apparently got the job by saving the company a lot of money cutting useless stuff in his older department.
He doesn’t care about typical work hours—he says you can set your own schedule just as long as things work. If it doesn’t work, he will require an explanation about why it doesn’t so he can help fix it. There was also a rumor that he is autistic or something because he’s really unflappable and believes people when they tell him about things, almost to a fault.
So this new manager tried his magic on this woman, but she just wasn’t doing any work, and any work she was doing was terrible and full of errors. At some point, he asked her what was going on. She said she didn’t have time in her day to do the work as there was too much and she never had any training. In response, he had her pulled from three social committees, hooked her up with a hired temp for four weeks, got them both training, and even took the training himself too.
How did this screw-up of a woman thank him? She complained to HR. HR wrote him up for promoting a “toxic work environment.” To defend himself, the manager showed them the email where she was basically working on social committees for five hours a week and she was behind in her work. So he hired a temp, got everyone trained, and the temp who had less education than him and this lady was doing better than his actual staff.
HR then started ducking her calls. They didn’t want to tell her she was a screw-up because they were biased towards her and liked her. So, despite the manager kept things really well documented and having proof that she couldn’t do her job they just urged everyone to forget about the whole thing.
But the woman was not having any of that. She started hanging out on coffee breaks with the HR Vice President and her previous department head, going on about how she was a nervous wreck, how she hadn’t received any training, and more. Keep in mind that both these management types know for a fact that she has had training. They started to get really sick of her complaining all the time. And that’s when HR flipped out.
They got her pamphlets on the benefits package outlining the help and psychiatric line, and they stopped hanging out with her. She tried applying for a job in her old department, but they still didn’t want her. She was telling everyone her situation and how unfair it was. Little did she know she was digging her own grave.
There was an anonymous employee survey. Everyone in her department stated they were pretty happy—except her. She thought it would be clever to say that the management team in her department was doing horrible things. And everyone in the department knew who was telling the lies because the screw-up woman told everyone, like an idiot.
Things got ugly after that, and she got escorted right out of the building. All of this happened because she didn’t want to do her work. She thought she could get away with it because HR was her best friend…the moment they weren’t anymore, it all crashed down around her ears. It was bonkers. That woman was probably the stupidest person I’ve ever met.
36. Sign On The Dotted Line
I worked for a company for four years. About three years in, they hired a new head of HR who was a total witch. She would hardly speak to anyone who wasn’t on the management team and treated everyone else in the company with contempt. A colleague of mine (who is now my boss) gave his notice because he was offered a better salary at a competitor company.
On his last day, the HR lady basically tried to force him to sign a contract saying that he was giving up his right to sue the company for any outstanding pay or bonus. Of course, he didn’t sign, but the HR lady wouldn’t take NO for an answer and kept hounding him. I gave my notice a few months later, and she tried the same stuff with me.
Having been warned by my buddy, I did the same thing—I returned all the company property (laptop, office keys, etc.) and had them sign the receipt that they received everything, but I refused to sign the agreement that I gave up the right to take them to court if they tried to screw me.
The company we work for today is very different. First off, my buddy is a C-level executive there, and I report straight to him, so we’re both very high up in the corporate organization. The HR people are excellent in this company—helpful, friendly, and most importantly, competent. Good riddance to that ridiculous, power-tripping woman.
37. Power Trip
One of our departments shut down at noon thanks to an HVAC issue. The building management needed to move cubicles and pull out a chunk of the drop ceiling, so the manager took us all out to the bar for a “team-building exercise.” We had no idea we were walking right into a disaster. Everyone in the department arrived the next morning to a “Final notice in lieu of termination” on their desk.
Apparently, our awful HR department found out about the trip. The notice also cited that we had been “drinking on the job and wasting company time.” The manager who was with us had an extra-special third citation for improper use of a company credit card. None of what we’d done was against company policy, so the manager’s boss, the vice president, called HR and told them to back the heck off.
Instead, HR forwarded over a brand-new policy manual and told the VP to make sure all the write-ups were signed and returned by the end of the day. The VP then up the chain to his boss, the CEO. The CEO hadn’t even seen it nor authorized it. But HR didn’t want to back down, even when the CEO called them. Sure, he hadn’t authorized it, but he had asked them to consider revamping it back in March. This was the glorious revamp!
Oh, and they’d been enforcing it since May, so it would probably be best for him to just sign off on it and any concerns he found could be incorporated in a future revision. Yeah, no. The CEO didn’t make it past the first page before finding a contract law violation. Actually, there were several all throughout it. The head of HR was asked to resign. When she refused, she was fired.
38. Danger Zone
I worked in a warehouse that regularly concealed the shipping of dangerous goods to save money. This went on for years. As time went on, I bubbled up through the ranks and was eventually made manager of the warehouse. I then outright refused to ship anything anywhere until we started to claim our dangerous goods shipments properly.
Their solution? The boss started to sign his name instead. This went on for a few weeks until HR found out. They obviously knew how much trouble the president could have gotten into, so they wanted somebody else to take the fall. The next time a shipment had to go out, they got the newest guy in the warehouse to start signing his name instead.
They claimed they were training him how to do paperwork, but the poor kid had no idea…So when the driver showed up to pick up his shipment, I told him that there were a bunch of dangerous substances concealed in the shipment. He refused it and left. I got told later that my actions were “damaging to the company image” and it had to stop.
I told HR exactly what was going on and how I would not be a part of it. Less than a week after that, I was removed from my position due to “company restructuring.” Some of the most crooked stuff I’ve ever seen. My rough estimates ballpark the money they saved at about $250,000/year. Scum…the whole family.
39. I Don’t Get Paid Enough For This
I was coming into a job that I was overqualified for, but I took it for the same salary as my last job because I hated my previous job and wanted an out. Plus, I really liked what the company did—it was in the railroad industry, my dream come true. They also said they couldn’t offer me more on the salary and claimed it was already more than what they could offer. So, fine.
I was the IT guy for HR, and one day about seven months in, they asked me to pull a list of everyone who had left the HR department in the last year. The list consisted of only three people, one of whom was my predecessor. When I pulled the information from their database, I made a blood-boiling discovery. See, some of the information included his salary.
They had been paying my predecessor, who was less qualified than I was, $20K a year more than myself. I was also driving over 90 minutes to and from work every day for this job because it was a dream of mine to work in the railroading industry. I had a new job within a few weeks, only a half-hour away from my home, and it came with a raise.
40. Time To Face The Truth
I am on an 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 a woman try 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 decided to pee out her car window.
I, also a woman, was both impressed and disgusted by the physics behind this feat. She had stuck her bare butt outside the window and just went for it. Unbeknownst to her, though, 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 the full view.
He then reported the incident to us. One of our HR people had to investigate this, and sure enough, the 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 state-of-the-art, 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.
41. Smell Ya Later
At one place I used to work, one of the upper management guys who was in charge of the warehouse would hop on the forklifts and do donuts. He also had colon cancer and was always having surgeries to remove another section of his colon, so he had a colostomy bag. He would like to squeeze the air out of his colostomy bag while he was doing donuts on the forklifts.
This would waft this god-awful stench everywhere. Everyone thought it was hilarious and would immediately run outside for a break until the scent dissipated. The smell was bad enough it made a co-worker puke. When a new guy went to report it to HR one day, they kind of just looked at him and blinked. The man has cancer! Let him stink it up.
42. A Dream Disappointed
I’ve been an executive at several large companies and I know just how messed up it can get inside the halls of HR. It could be one of the best roles and companies ever—like, let’s create the greatest culture and attract the best people to make this a fun, rewarding, challenging place to be with loads of development opportunities, support, coaching, and all the trimmings.
Let’s recognize that a company is really its people and create fertile soil for them to grow. When they feel fulfilled, we’ll be the greatest evangelists for the company. The reality, however, is a nightmare. HR is actually like: No, screw you, we’re here for the sole purpose of making sure you don’t sue the company and that when we want you to leave, we’ve got enough data and leverage to make sure you go without a fuss.
43. Spill The Beans
My ex’s mom was in HR. She was pretty darn crabby about it and loved nothing more than coming home and telling us all the drama and gossip. That’s how I found out the married physician who I worked with at the time was schtupping the married doctor in the next office over. That woman could NOT keep her mouth shut. It was hilarious for me at the time, but looking back, that trait was obviously not the best thing for an HR person to have.
As for my own experience, I reported my boss to HR for mistreatment. HR said they’d talk to me again before going to him. Well, he fired me two days later, with HR at his side. He was friends with all of the higher-ups, so I wasn’t exactly surprised. They escorted me out before I could collect what I needed from my computer for proof. Yeah, I was young and dumb, and I have since learned: have backups!
44. Hidden Agenda
I worked in HR, and here’s my advice. Never, ever willingly give up any information on questions that are fishing for it. Make sure your answers are brief, succinct, and don’t elaborate unless absolutely necessary. Don’t give second-hand information unless it directly impacts you or your work environment. My goal was to protect the bottom line under the guise of employee relations.
If you become a headache and disruptive, regardless if you are in the right, HR will find a way to terminate your employment. I spent hours upon hours in training learning how to ask the right questions to get the companies their desired results. I will admit this may not be true for all HR departments, but for larger companies, HR is not your friend and our attitude and pseudo-compassion are used as a disarming tactic to obtain the information they are looking for.
Despite what you may be told, HR does have an agenda.
45. Just Checking Up
The HR director put not one, not two, but three people on the job of auditing everyone’s medical leave applications. We were to look up the medical terms, print out layperson-friendly summaries of them, and add any notes of our own that might be helpful if we had prior healthcare experience, all so she could make sure no one was “fraudulently” taking medical leave.
For anyone who may not be aware: The Family & Medical Leave Act in the US gives employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of leave from their job…unpaid. None of this information was any of this witch’s business, and none of the employees had any idea she was doing it.
46. Ya Done Goofed
I worked in the Air Force. HR called me and said they wanted me to go over to their office. I got interrogated for about 10 minutes, with them accusing me of indulging in substances and hanging out with some other dude I barely knew. After me arguing with them for those ten minutes or so, they finally said, “Aren’t you this Airman s0-and-so with the common last name?”
I was like, “Yeah, but there’s multiple Airman s0-and-so’s with the common last name in my shop alone.” Turns out, they meant a different person completely. They saw my last name and never checked my ID or asked my first name. I had to get read into the investigation because they messed up so badly. Someone should have had to go to HR for that.
47. Gaming The System
One day, our HR sent out an “anonymous” survey in a Word file by email, saying we should reply back with filled blanks. There was one huge problem. We figured out it was not really anonymous, as who sent it would literally be written in “from” on the email. So we all filled the forms on the same machine and sent all of them in a single email.
HR was immediately like, “Wait, you can’t do that. By anonymous, we meant we will not tell the boss and just aggregate data for them.” Can’t say it inspired a lot of trust.
48. The Letter Of The Law
I got fired for having depression and being forthcoming about it. The symptoms started after I started to get drowsy from a new medication I was put on. All I’d asked for was two days off in a year to just spend time at home while I was adjusting to the new meds. I got a letter on my desk from my boss after I came back. Its contents destroyed my life. It was titled “Termination of employment” and specifically asked me to come to a meeting two days later with HR.
I strode in and told them that if they were honestly firing me for having depression, that was fine; but they could not say it was for my performance, which I know for a darn fact has been fantastic. They doubled down and said that they were not able to accommodate someone with my “unique circumstances.” Honestly, screw those people.
49. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
I worked in the bakery at a Fred Meyers store for about six months when I was freshly 19. There was this 45-year-old guy in the meat and seafood section who was super creepy. All of the women in my department, including a previous employee who had moved because of him, warned me about this man from day one.
Any time I was on my break, he would “coincidentally” be on his break too. He’d follow me into the break room and try to flirt with me the entire time. If I had to walk to another part of the store to get anything, he would run to catch up to me and walk with me. He also followed me to my car a few times after I got off shift.
The scariest time was when I was closing by myself and he came into the back of the bakery, following me around the long table. He kept telling me how much he liked me and how badly he wanted to be with me. When he got too touchy, I told him no and to leave me alone. But that’s not even the worst part—the managers who were there to witness the situation just shrugged and said “that’s just how he is.”
My boyfriend threatened him when he got off work one time. Heck, even my father came in and threatened him because NO ONE was doing ANYTHING. The final straw for me was one night when I was closing alone again. He came into the back area, followed me into the freezer, and tried to kiss me. He also grabbed my butt. I pushed him away and ran to the closing manager who also functioned as HR.
He said he’d “watch the store footage” and talk to me the next day. When I came to work the following morning, he pulled me into his office. He said that he saw the video and had already “talked” to him about his behavior. Apparently, the creepy co-worker responded that it was just a “misunderstanding,” and that was good enough for HR.
I replied that this had been going on for months and that I wasn’t going to take it anymore. He then had the NERVE to tell me that, “He just does this to all the new girls. As soon as another girl gets hired, he’ll leave you alone.” I quit on the spot—but I soon found out the disturbing truth. Turns out, the creep was the brother of the store’s owner.
This guy had been behind bars in the past for assault but was now “cleaning his life up.”
50. Ménage A Trois
I work in an industrial lab. I came in to work early for a morning shift. I heard noises from the back corner of the office portion of the building, but couldn’t make out what they were because of distortion. I headed over that way to see what was going on as I was the only one there—or so I thought—at 3:00 am. I ended up seeing my lab manager boinking the district manager (her boss)…all while the HR rep for the district was sitting there, enjoying the view.
I NOPED out of there, went to the lab, and tried to forget what happened.