No one wants to hear that they’ve been let go, but, trust us, in the following examples, it’s definitely for the best. From shocking acts of sabotage to dangerous drownings and even playing with oneself on company time, these jaw-dropping stories have one thing in common—a sometimes sad, but always satisfying, ending.
1. Hey, Sleepyhead
I've always given my team a lot of freedom in how they perform their tasks, staying away from micromanagement. However, when a new temp-to-hire employee was noticeably absent from his desk often, I decided to look into it. Using my administrative access, I signed into his computer to see what he was up to.
What I found was completely unexpected. I found an email where he confessed to a friend that he naps in his car parked in the basement, away from everyone else's sight. The following day, I went to the basement and discovered him asleep in his car.
I knocked on the window and asked for his door keycard. His startled expression was much like that of a child caught misbehaving—it was clear he knew he'd been caught.
2. Bye For Now
Back in the early 2000s, I was managing a call center, and we used to dial numbers manually from paper lists. There was this new guy on the team who, even after a few days, hadn't managed to convince anyone to take a survey. I decided to observe his calls.
On his first attempt, he got an answering machine, but on the second try, a real person picked up the call, saying "Hello?" To my surprise, my team member muttered back, “I know where you live, you spineless jerk!” I couldn't believe my ears.
Of all the calls this guy had made, I happened to hear this one. I immediately called him into my office and told him, "Buddy, you can't work here anymore". When he asked why, I said, “Because you told someone, ‘I know where you live, you spineless jerk’”. His reaction was priceless.
3. A Real Head Scratcher…
I once employed a young lad who was quite self-impressed, to say the least. He was educated in top-tier schools and catered to by his parents. I selected him out of a competitive pool of highly qualified economics graduates.
Straightaway, he raised a red flag: in his initial week, he made sure to show off his new position to his previous employer. Fast forward six months, he turned out to be utterly self-centered. His work quality was substandard, and he would complain openly when given basic chores.
Plus, he sneakily badmouthed the ones signing his paychecks—that's to say, me—and was foolish enough to circulate these remarks in company emails, which my assistant often discovered.
His email analyzing how terrible a person I was, detailing my salary, and mockingly describing my supposed love for parading in my Porsche (even though I actually drove a vintage 1978 Toyota Corolla!) was a particular highlight.
On the day marked for his much-awaited performance review, which also happened to be just before his exotic vacation, I kept him in the office after hours and summoned him to my room.
Then, I handed him the pile of his emails my assistant had gathered, told him that he had left those on the printer, wished him a good vacation, and advised him not to bother returning.
4. Taking Care Of Business
Once, I employed a guy who was extremely overconfident in his intelligence, although in reality, he wasn't very bright. But my yogurt shop needed staff, so I kept him, ensuring I only scheduled him when I was around. One day, after his shift, his pals showed up—and I knew trouble was brewing.
They had fully punched loyalty cards, courtesy of him I presume, meaning I had to give them their order for free—that was the first problem. On another occasion, he was on duty while I had to step out, and when I returned, the cash register hadn't recorded any transactions for a whole hour, despite being opened numerous times—clear theft and the second problem.
I decided to have a chat with him, playing on his inflated ego. I said, "It seems like it's about time for you to become vice president". You should have seen his eyes sparkle! “Yes indeed," I went on, "you're now Vice President of trash removal. Go replace all the trash bags and clean up the parking lot".
He just sat there, stunned, as I added, “And by the way, you'll only be needed for one hour a week at most”. The befuddled look on his face was absolutely priceless.
5. Swim For Your Life
At the summer camp where I worked as the lead lifeguard, we had a new employee who pretended to be a certified lifeguard. This was surprising as most of us had worked together for a while. It was painfully awkward observing him. He struggled to swim even short distances and had no knowledge of how to perform simple tasks.
During training, he nearly drowned me by holding me underwater in a chokehold, and I had to hit him just to get him to let go. One day, a real emergency occurred—a child started drowning. The new guy did nothing. A lifeguard apprentice, startled, jumped in to help but got dragged under by the panicked child.
This all happened while the new guy remained idle. Though the apprentice was only supposed to assist from the side, an unforeseen situation led to them being the only one on duty. Hearing the distress, my colleague and I hurried over, dove in fully clothed, and pulled both the apprentice and the child to safety.
The new employee's indifferent response struck me. He confessed, "Oh sorry, I got high off some stuff I took earlier". Right there and then, I dismissed him in front of everyone, instructing him to gather his belongings and wait by the roadside. I promptly contacted both my supervisor and the police, who took him into custody.
6. Completely Unhinged
Once, I saw an employee aggressively pushing his girlfriend against the wall in our breakroom, and I exclaimed, "That's not acceptable, man!" He replied by saying it was none of my concern. Unfortunately for him, I was their superior at work, making it very much my concern.
So, after a brief exchange of threats, I took his girlfriend to a secure office and reached out to the police. I then attempted to de-escalate the situation until I saw the authorities arrive. Simultaneously, he flung his shirt at me, challenging me to a fight outside before storming off.
Unbeknownst to him, police were waiting outside. He was immediately apprehended upon stepping out. As he was being handcuffed, I told him, "Just so you know, you're dismissed. You'll receive your paycheck in the mail." He was sobbing in the backseat of the police car while his girlfriend was being questioned.
It was a sight to behold. On top of it all, he had outstanding warrants, so it was an unexpected bonus for the authorities. In case anyone's curious, the couple, as far as I know, are still together.
7. Got Your Back
At the age of 23, I found myself managing a person who was significantly older than me for the first time. He was a 40-year-old youth pastor with a bit of cleaning experience, so I thought I had discovered a hidden gem.
Our initial interactions were promising as I guided him through the job, although he seemed to have an attitude when I showed him specific procedures. By the end of the first morning, I asked him about a certain part of the task, to which he snarkily replied, "You know I wasn't born yesterday, man”.
It was an unexpected response, and when I checked, it turned out he hadn't completed the task. He then sat on his phone during the last part of the morning, not even bothering to help me. I felt disheartened by his lack of teamwork and basic courteousness, considering I had been nothing but polite to him.
As we took out the trash, I asked him about his job experience to which he said he didn’t have an issue with the job, rather with me and my mannerisms. Feeling exasperated and disrespected, I faced him, laughed and asked him to explain what my flaws were. He rambled on about how I was rude and lacked basic manners like saying "please" and "thank you".
I found his complaints hilarious, which further annoyed him. The next day, I discussed the incident with my boss, who decided to let him go. This sparked a harsh email from the guy, hurling allegations about me being a terrible manager and my boss smelling like alcohol from their first meeting.
This touched a raw nerve since my boss had once struggled with his drinking. Needless to say, that was the last we saw of the ex-employee. However, the incident brought me closer to my boss. He confided more in me, and I even got a promotion and a raise.
Enjoying my new part-time "counseling position", I now often serve as my boss's sounding board.
8. Plot Twist
I let a guy go—but it was for a very good reason. I told him that he was clearly too talented to be working under me and he should be heading his own kitchen. He picked up a new job and later ended up expressing his gratitude to me.
9. Special Delivery
I used to work at a pizza joint in a university town where we had a delivery guy, let's nickname him "Runner Derrick". Interestingly, our boss was also named Derrick. Runner Derrick had a side hustle selling some under-the-table stuff. It wasn't a big operation and he kept it on the down-low, but most of us in the kitchen were in the know.
One day, another delivery guy has his day off and phones in to talk with Derrick. Boss Derrick picks up the phone and greets him with, "Thanks for calling our Pizza Parlor, how can I assist you today?" The guy on the line blurted out, "Hey, Derrick! Got any stash left?"
Wrong guy. He hangs up. So, Runner Derrick finishes his shift before Boss Derrick calls him into the office to give him the boot. Despite the circumstances, Runner Derrick was a genuinely good dude and pretty popular among us, so word about the incident spread fast.
The clueless guy who phoned in with that ill-advised question was also given his marching orders, but his departure didn't stir up as much emotion. This whole drama became something of a legendary tale around the pizza joint for the following few years.
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10. Very Dirty Work
I once had a chain of dry cleaners. About a month before I sold it three years ago, I decided to go incognito as a new part-time employee in training. We kept the sale of the business under wraps until all transactions were finalized. What I found out really surprised me.
On my initial day, I shadowed a delivery driver. He showed me how he sneaked in an extra $20 on the company credit card to fuel his private vehicle each time he refueled the company van. While learning the ropes from a store manager, I found out about her creative way of making extra money.
She brought loads of coupons to work every day and discreetly used them on cash orders once customers left. This added roughly an additional $10 to her hourly wage. My final training days were spent at our production facility, where I learned about our equipment and how to maintain them from the production manager.
But what I discovered was that he neglected most of the required maintenance tasks. What he did was just tick off the maintenance checklists, and then dump brand new filters, which cost $290 each. On the day of final handover, I walked around the facility with the new owners to meet the staff.
I stepped up to each employee and introduced myself properly. When I got to these three rogue employees, I came right out and said, "You're fired." Their faces were a picture of sheer surprise.
11. Mixed Emotions
I simply said, "Glad to see you again! But, you're dismissed" when my employee missed work for four consecutive days without any notice.
So, it turns out my assistant manager had some serious substance abuse issues and was habitually stealing money from the cash registers and using while on the job. But that's not even the half of it. One early morning, she was involved in a hit-and-run at 4 in the morning, and came straight to work afterward.
By lunch time, the police showed up, handcuffed her, and escorted her out. As they were taking her away, she tried to convince another staff member to cover for her and tell me she was unwell if I asked. Thankfully, instead of lying, this employee phoned me.
I came into work as soon as I could and let that employee head home early while HR and I brainstormed on what to do next. And guess what? She vindictively scratched up my car as she was being led out. When she returned for her next shift, it felt really good to tell her, “You've lost your job”.
13. That Escalated Quickly
Back in the day, I ran a T-shirt shop and had a returning employee who left a long time ago. She wasn't pleased when she didn't receive the seniority she had previously due to the long gap since she last worked with us. One hectic evening while working solo, I was swamped and didn't manage to tag the last bunch of shirts.
So, at the end of my shift, I left a note for this returning employee to complete the tagging task, which was part of her duties as a sales associate. She responded the next day with an extensive four-section text message. Surprisingly, it contained a direct threat of physical harm if I ever left work unfinished for her again.
She continued with an elaborate explanation that she’s not obligated to pick up my slack when I feel idle and accused me of unfair treatment for leading her position. She also pointed out how the additional minutes she spent tagging delayed her and disrupted her rhythm. Normally, this kind of language merits a disciplinary report.
But, given her history of being aggressive and threatening, I had enough grounds to end her employment with us, so I rang her up. The conversation was brief: "Hi S, just forwarded your text to our boss. You won't have to stress about these work situations anymore. You're dismissed." The relief I felt was immense.
14. Up In The Air: The Prequel
Back in 2003, I had a job where I was assigned to travel to a city where I’d never been before. My duty was to let go of the existing team and recruit and prepare a new team. I had never even met the people I was to fire. I had no idea why they had to be dismissed. All I knew was I was paid $20 an hour (quite decent at that time) for this task.
It made me feel terrible, like the worst person on the planet. One woman was in tears, fearful of losing her flat without this job. I never want to go through that experience again. Even if it wasn’t technically my fault the team was laid off, it surely felt like it was. I don’t want to carry that guilt again.
It’s too difficult for me, even though some people can handle it. Unlike George Clooney's character in Up in the Air, I wasn’t trained for these sort of tasks. I was pretty good at employing people. Training a team? Not an issue at all.
But dismissing employees was totally foreign to me. I wasn’t even aware that would be part of my job until my flight got booked. It felt like I was tricked into it. What's even more challenging? I was only 20, hence, I was not allowed to rent a car.
Imagine being at your workplace, and seeing a youngster getting off a taxi, introducing himself to you, only to tell everyone that their services are no longer needed. What a dreadful scenario.
15. You Deserve A Break Today
In high school, I worked at a retail store and over time, rose to the position of an evening/weekend supervisor. I was entrusted with the power to dismiss employees, but only for a very serious reason.
I remember one co-worker, the same age as me, who was repeatedly caught spending her breaks with her boyfriend in her car, and these breaks often exceeded the allotted 15 minutes.
The situation reached a boiling point when she had her boyfriend call in sick for her, and it was quite evident they were preoccupied with each other.
I told him, "Engaging in personal activities does not qualify as a valid reason for taking a sick leave. If she can't arrange for a replacement or show up for work, I'll have no choice but to let her go."
16. That Was Too Easy
One of my staff members was found making non-legal transactions while on duty at my internet café. So, I decided to address it with the help of my evening shift person. He took her place behind the counter, while I called her outside for a chat.
Her concern was who would manage the cash register, to which I reassured her that my evening shift worker was in control. Outside, put my plan into action. I approached her with a question, asking if I could purchase an ounce from her. Her response was to wait while she fetched it.
I stopped her mid-way and said, "Actually, never mind." She seemed puzzled. I merely grinned as I realized she'd just incriminated herself. Finally, I broke the news to her: "You're no longer employed here."
17. Slow And Steady…
One of the most satisfying moments I've had saying "You're no longer employed here" involved a worker who had been with our family business for about four years. For three of those years, this individual had been secretly stealing money from us.
Then we changed to a different accounting system, but he still continued the thefts. The previous system could only provide us with vague evidence, but the new one delivered undeniable proof. When we calculated the total amount he'd stolen, it was just shy of the threshold for serious grand theft in our state.
We spent a day or two figuring out what to do. In that time, he stole enough to cross into serious grand theft territory. We were eventually able to recoup all our lost money, but it seems he still has a criminal record to this day.
18. Timing Is Everything
I once had a team member who struggled with substance abuse. He also assumed he could stealthily steal goods and sell them behind our building. I reviewed six different security tapes, and on one, it's blatantly apparent that he's snorting something off a storage room box before collapsing for about fifteen minutes.
From that point on, his dismissal was inevitable. In a scenario fit for Hollywood, I informed him of his termination just as the police were handcuffing him. The silver lining to this situation was I received a pay bump and an award for uncovering our internal theft problem.
19. Bonus Points
I'm employed at a home for vulnerable kids. Once, I found the guy in charge in a compromising situation with one of the teenagers. I told him to leave and prepare to face the law. However, the home tried to brush it under the carpet.
Unwilling to let this pass, I alerted the Child Protective Services, along with two other governmental departments, raising complaints against both the employee and the facility owners. In effect, I fired them four times over.
I'm employed at a home for vulnerable kids. Once, I found the guy in charge in a compromising situation with one of the teenagers. I told him to leave and prepare to face the law.
However, the home tried to brush it under the carpet. Unwilling to let this pass, I alerted the Child Protective Services, along with two other governmental departments, raising complaints against both the employee and the facility owners. In effect, I fired them four times over.
20. Damage Control
I was formerly a store manager at Journeys, a shoe shop located in the mall. Whenever I had to let go of young employees in their teenagers and early 20s, I was pretty straightforward. I'd begin by explaining to them that I've been in their shoes before, as I've been fired in the past, so I know what likely goes on their mind when they're fired.
"You're probably going to tell your friends and family a different story. You might say there was a mix-up, or that I am a difficult person, or whatever helps to let you off the hook," I would say. Then, I'd hit them with a reality check. "However, I want you to understand, exactly as I had to comprehend when I was fired, that the sole reason you lost this job was because of your actions".
21. Belt And Suspenders
When it came time for me to let an employee go, she broke down in tears. Despite having received multiple verbal and written warnings, she still pointed fingers at everyone but herself. She even went as far as accusing me of improper conduct and harassment.
Thankfully, the head of security happened to be near the open door of the meeting room throughout the entire conversation. On top of that, I was relieved that the room's security camera was running during our discussion.
It's unfortunate, but this exact reason is why our workplace insists on having a female management member present when a male is terminating a female employee's contract, and the other way around. The accusations still had to be properly looked into, but it didn't take too much time.
I wholeheartedly recommend every business implementing a similar policy.
22. Hello, Goodbye
My dad shared a story about a girl from his work who was frequently late. Three times during her first week, she arrived at work an hour late. On the third occasion, he questioned her tardiness. She responded by blaming the heavy traffic from her hometown. Interestingly, she was unaware that we lived in the same town.
So, my dad remarked, "That's strange, I live there too but I had no trouble getting to work this morning". By the end of the day, she found herself packing her personal belongings into a box and heading home for good.
23. Getting Paid To What…?
A couple years back, I was in charge of the security team at NASCAR's camping area. After failing to reach a new member of my team on our radios after many attempts, I figured he had dozed off. His assigned post was an isolated spot where he was to remain in his car.
Thinking it could be a teachable moment and a bit of humor, I decided to sneak up to his car to startle him awake. However, as I came near his car, I was struck still. He was busy on his phone, doing something incredibly inappropriate. He noticed me with a mix of shock and embarrassment on his face.
"Head back to base, drop off your radio and get yourself home—and make sure you keep BOTH of your hands on the wheel," I told him. I had never wanted to let anyone go before, but in this case, it felt like the right thing to do.
24. Meet The New Boss…
The incident took place in my initial week as a manager at my new job. One of the staff mistook me for an intern and began venting his frustrations about the management, unaware that he was actually talking about me. He was proudly sharing his habit of dozing off during work hours.
One day, he was engrossed in playing World of Warcraft on his laptop during his break. Curious, I asked him if he ever got into any trouble for this at work. He confided that it was not only a game, but that he was also viewing inappropriate films on his laptop.
To prove his point, he switched screens to show me he wasn't bluffing and pleaded with me to stay cool and not report him to the new boss, whom he described in less than flattering terms. It was then that I revealed my identity—that I was, in fact, the new department manager he was referring to.
I informed him on the spot that he was fired and promptly reported the issue to Human Resources.
25. Fill ’Er Up!
I received this tale from a boss I really admired. Our main guy is nothing short of a nightmare – he's unpleasant around women and has a natural talent for making enemies. He managed to get a driving position in a movie production with a pretty good budget.
Even though my friend was reluctant to hire him, this man found a way to get in through the higher ups. Halfway through production, my friend asked him to refuel a vehicle with diesel and bring it back to the office. The individual pulled into a gas station to refuel.
The diesel tank cover was missing from the car, and was replaced with a cheap plastic cover that just read "fuel". So, this clueless guy, not realizing that the pump didn't fit perfectly, went ahead and filled the car. After that, he drove the car back to the office, which was an hour's drive away.
If you don't already know, putting regular gasoline in a diesel car is seriously damaging. The engine damage racked up to five figures, and the culprit was identified as this clueless guy. If he had admitted his mistake, he’d have been fine. Heck, he could have even been forgiven if he apologized.
But, when he was confronted in the office he swaggered in acting like a complete jerk, cursing at everyone in sight and trying to frame my friend. He was so awful about the whole thing, he was fired immediately.
26. The Best Movie Ever
As the person in charge of a cinema, it's my responsibility to ensure that our security cameras cover all vital points of the venue. I had this one team member who would consistently argue with me and give me attitude whenever I issued instructions. I knew I needed a solid reason to let him go.
One day, after I asked him to do a task, I returned to my office. My deputy manager was monitoring the cameras and notified me that the said employee made an improper hand gesture behind my back. So I pulled up the surveillance footage and called this individual into my office.
I showed him the video and subsequently, let him go. It's quite an incredible feeling, to let go of someone who was causing nothing but trouble. I was absolutely relieved to see the back of that guy.
27. To A Tee
I'm the reason my boss lost his job. My job involved working in a restaurant where, along with ordering uniforms, we also ordered retail shirts that we offered for sale to our customers. My responsibility was to sort and arrange these items, but one day, I noticed all the retail shirts had vanished.
When I asked my boss about it, he seemed a bit off and casually mentioned that he'd given them to the staff members. I didn't push the subject further, after all, he was the boss. The next day, he reprimanded me for using the work computer to check my emails—something that was against company policy.
It became clear to me that he was simply looking for reasons to fire me. Curious, I asked my coworkers if they had received any shirts. When they all said no, I became suspicious. I decided to look at the security footage from the day before, which showed my boss leaving with a large garbage bag.
I reached out to our district manager and also decided to look on eBay out of curiosity. To my surprise, there was someone selling our company's retail shirts. I compared the invoice to match the amount of shirts listed and it was a perfect match. I let the district manager know and he asked me to come in for both shifts the next day.
The next day, my boss was confused as to why I was there early. Pretending innocence, I told him that the district manager had asked me to come in. His face paled. As the facts emerged, my boss had no choice but to admit his guilt and the district manager promptly fired him.
28. Not-So-Healthy Work Environment
About a year ago, the health club company I worked for bought out another health club chain, and I was tasked with going to the new club and turning it around. Because the old club was bought out, I was expected to correct all of the problems.
Our club opened up at 4:00 am and within a couple of days of taking over, one of the members took a cell phone picture of my front desk check-in person sitting there on her phone. My boss emailed me the picture and gave me an uncomfortable task: “Fix this”.
This was my first big management gig, so I had to prove to him that I had the balls to fire someone. I pulled her aside and asked her about it. She said that she was frantically trying to find someone to drive her kid to school because her car broke down. She actually traveled several miles that day to get to work by 4:00 am.
I felt horrible because I was given the “It’s either you or her” speech by my boss. I put it off for the rest of her shift, kind of hoping the whole situation would pass. It didn’t. She cried and told me her rent was due and this was her only job. She begged me to give her another shot.
Keep in mind I didn’t even know her name before I was expected to fire her. I ended up firing her, but I hooked her up with a job at my buddy’s restaurant where she was paid almost twice as much.
29. A Way With Words
I served as the night manager at a Subway, a title that didn't involve much extra work. Yet, I did have the authority to let staff go if their behavior warranted it. There was this one girl whose hygiene habits were far from acceptable. She'd show up reeking terribly and looking scruffy, as if she'd just had a tussle with a deer.
Once, she upset a customer so much that it left them in tears. This unfortunate event became my golden chance. I told her, "Unfortunately, we can't continue to employ you. Please exit the premises and we will forward your final paycheck by week's end". To my surprise, she was really chilled about the whole situation.
30. Nepo(ish) Baby
My story begins on the set of a modestly funded horror film. I was volunteering in the art department, hoping it would lead to my first paid gig. Despite the ebb and flow of temporary staff, I stayed put. A new guy showed up on the first day of filming, joining our department.
Thanks to his dad's romantic connection with the producer, he slipped into our team easily. We weren't exactly best friends, but I worked with him. He was quite loud, had strong opinions and constantly gave uninvited suggestions. I was aware of his relationship with the producer, so I chose to keep mum about him.
After two weeks into shooting, one of department leads approached me, asking my opinions on him. I did ponder briefly as to what he might have been saying about me. But, I simply assured them we got along well. A few days later, the same head approached me again. Things were a little different this time around.
It was revealed that the new guy had been making comments about the film’s visual effects, and what he thought our team should do differently. I repeated that things were fine, but the department lead seemed doubtful, remarking, "I think he treats you like a complete fool."
After that, he just walked away. It turned out, this annoying colleague managed to get on the bad side of the first and third assistant directors, the props handler, the visual effects artist, and both art department leads. When he was nowhere to be seen on the Monday filming, I decided to ask around.
Turns out, he had been shifted to the film's "viral marketing" team.
31. A Friend In Need...
For about a year, I managed a cashier who continually slacked on the job. Anytime he stepped onto the shop floor, he'd assure co-workers that he had already completed his tasks and that I assigned him to assist others—and then interrupt their productivity with chit-chat.
He'd often invite friends to hang out under the guise of shopping, effectively 'occupied' for over an hour at times. He even resorted to hiding in order to avoid work. I couldn't formally prove any of this, and his slack behavior forced my team into persistent, frustrating overtime—earning an unwelcome glare from my boss.
One particularly irksome evening, I decided to make a stand: he couldn't clock out until his work was done. He grumbled about his ride waiting outside and the enormity of his pending tasks. Undeterred, I told him he should've done his job earlier and retreated to my office.
That’s when I heard unfamiliar voices. Coming out, I was flabbergasted to find he had let his ride into the closed, secure shop to finish up his tasks! I promptly escorted his friend out, locking up again, and made it clear how inappropriate his actions were. No sooner had I returned to my office than he let his friend back in.
That’s when it hit me: our entrance surveillance cam had caught everything. Thrilled, I realized I finally had evidence against him. I promptly sent the footage to upper management. The very next day, he was let go. With his dismissal, our overtime problem simply evaporated. Goodbye and good riddance.
32. Dollar Signs
For quite some time, I held a supervisory role for a company that specialized in sign spinning. Hiring people was part of my job, but while I couldn't officially fire anyone, my recommendation to my boss was usually enough to let someone go. Therefore, in a roundabout way, I could fire staff.
I had various reasons for terminating employees—from unclean uniforms (which was a serious violation since our dress code was lenient), to punctuality and poor attitudes. But I'll never forget this one employee. He was a chap nicknamed Mr. Price, whose dismissal is imprinted in my memory.
Mr. Price showed up at one of my recruitment drives in Orlando, around the time I was in need of manpower in the Clermont/Groveland area. I had the power to offer employees a temporary increase from $10 to $12 per hour if they had to commute more than 30 miles.
I made this offer to encourage anyone willing to venture to that region for work, and Mr. Price accepted, even though he conveniently lived only a block away. Despite this, as a man of my word, I honored the deal. On his first day, he didn't show up. He did come on the next day (our company is usually forgiving when it comes to no-shows due to our difficulty in finding replacements).
Everything seemed to be fine until he skipped work during the following weekend when I denied him the $12 hourly wage. Over the following weeks, Mr. Price's spotty attendance persisted. Eventually, I found a more reliable replacement for that location. When Mr. Price later reached out for work, I assigned him back to the same spot.
However, my patience ran thin when he called at 1:30 am with an excuse that his phone was about to die and hence couldn't work. That was the final straw—I firmly instructed him never to ask me for work again.
33. No Child Left Behind?
I was running a summer camp and we once planned a trip to an amusement park. I briefed my team about different ways to keep track of kids, like pairing them up, numbering them, or even having them hold onto a rope. However, the counselor who was responsible for the six-year-olds didn't follow any of these safety measures.
To my surprise, her carelessness was clear when she returned 20 minutes late and a child short at the end of the day. Thankfully, a counselor from another group had found the missing child. I had a stern conversation with her and said, "Your only task was to keep a track of the kids.
Honestly, I'd rather trust a random stranger with my son than leave him under your supervision because even for 10 bucks, they'd do a better job than you." She was upset and I took over her group until we found a better substitute.
34. Spill The Beans
It wasn't a standard job for me, I used to take care of some kids who required unique diets—no gluten, no dairy, and little sugar. These weren't overly cautious parents. The children honestly had allergies, and we had to strictly follow their tailored meals.
Once their eldest child began school, and with my upcoming move in sight, the parents opted to move the kids to a local home-based daycare that looked promising. During the transition, the mum decided that I would still be present at the daycare with the kids. At first, I would spend the entire daycare schedule with them.
Gradually, I started leaving earlier, and later on, I'd arrive late and leave early. Due to the kids' specific diet, we packed a variety of their preferred snacks and treats every week, also their daily lunch and drinks.
One time, I was surprised to find the daycare lady feeding the younger, who couldn't yet talk and didn't fully understand his diet, bites from her sandwich and sips of milk. His older sister, aware of the diet, tried telling the daycare woman he wasn't allowed those items.
She ignored the warnings. I ended up asking her what she was feeding him, and she admitted to giving him items that contained gluten and dairy, arguing a bit wouldn't harm him. I informed the parents, thinking at first it was a misunderstanding, but after confirming the truth, we immediately fetched the kids.
We were previously concerned about the younger one's recent odd behaviour, which, in hindsight, was the result of his altered diet. We had trusted the caretaker would seriously adhere to his dietary needs. In turn, it was a good feeling to tell her, "If you ignore children's needs, you're not a professional. You're fired."
35. That Got Dark
Once, I had to let go of a fellow supervisor who hit a 16-year-old girl in her eye just because she playfully tossed an ice cube down his shirt. It felt satisfying putting him in his place until he complained at the regional office. I was appalled by their response.
The corporate bosses ended up dismissing the girl who was working diligently, claiming her playful action instigated the incident. What's worse, this poor girl was the only source of income for her family, and her mom was battling severe alcoholism.
36. Party Pooper
At a limo service where I once worked, there was a colleague who kept bending minor rules. This included things like donning jeans instead of the required slacks and regularly rolling into work five minutes late. Though not grounds for dismissal, it was certainly aggravating.
What's more, she would often grumble about her hectic life, juggling an online class at college, work, and her young child. In addition, she would constantly delve into the drama with her child's father. Her woes seemed mostly self-created, yet she moaned about them incessantly.
During one particularly long workday where I had piled up close to eight hours, several colleagues, including this woman (let's call her Jennifer), called off work. Jennifer claimed that she had to stay home because her daughter had lice. Looking back, it was a Saturday, so we should have been suspicious—but the truth would eventually reveal itself.
However, due to the crazy rush, we didn't pick up on that right away. Jennifer, who knew our fleet would be in high demand that day, backed out. That night was so hectic that the boss had to step in and personally drive one of our party buses. In the middle of his run downtown, he spots Jennifer, dazzling in a gold mini dress.
Understandably, this rattled him. After dropping off his guests, he returns to the hotel he'd seen Jennifer enter. After some searching, he eventually spots her. Seeing him approach, she tried to bury her head in embarrassment.
However, he nonchalantly walked up to her and whispered, "Unfortunately, Jennifer...you're fired" and sultrily walked away, leaving a lasting grin on his face. News of this incident made my grueling 21-hour shift seem all worth it.
37. Excuse This Interruption
My friend Chris is head chef at a pretty upmarket restaurant. One evening, I was passing by and saw him taking a quick break so I decided to stop by for some small talk. We got lost in an engaging exchange about films and biking until one of his servers came stomping out.
"Chris! This isn't right! I was supposed to go on break but Audrey had already swapped with Wendy, so I thought it wouldn't be an issue, and I took off. But then Frank forced me to stay and serve! It's all so frustrating!" She didn't stop there.
She paused, caught her breath, and went on, "And when I came to work this morning, I was supposed to fold the cutlery, but Rodney had mentioned he might need help at the back. But when I went to check, Rodney wasn't there, so I returned to the front."
"I was convinced I saw the silverware already folded, but it wasn't and Frank scolded me. NOW he won't let me take my break! It's so unfair!" She continued this way, ranting, moaning, and griping non-stop for a good five minutes, with Chris and me just standing there, speechless.
At last, she fell silent. Chris finally said, "Angie, you're fired. Hand in your apron. You'll get your last paycheck by mail." We watched as she went through a range of reactions, from shock to disbelief. "But I… I was just—" Chris cut her off. "I said leave, and don't come back. You're done here."
I wanted to resume our conversation, but Chris, who's always a cool and collected guy, wanted to give context. "I endured this drama for THREE weeks. Everyday. I've reached my limit." With that said and done, we went back to our conversation about movies and bikes.
38. Lowest Of The Low
I hired a nurse and a nursing assistant who unfortunately threatened and abused the elderly patients we care for. It gave me a sense of relief to escort both of these individuals out of our establishment.
It's never pleasant to have to let someone go, but I was grateful that they were caught on video, and more importantly, that we could remove the threat they posed to others.
39. News To Me
This is a strange tale. She was a writer and her job was to deliver seven articles a day. A task that, if focused, you could complete one in about 30 minutes—it wasn't too taxing. However, some of the editors began to sense a "sameness" to her pieces.
What we discovered was that she was essentially recycling old articles stored in our shared server, just swapping out the author name. This behavior was addressed with her three or four times over a span of six weeks. Each time, she insisted she had no idea how this was occurring.
She was so persuasive that we even considered a technical glitch as the cause. But the thing was, she wasn't merely tweaking a few phrases here and there, the articles were exact copies. In the end, a supervisor decided to dig deeper, and it turned out there wasn't a single original piece by her in the past six months.
We had no clue what she had been doing during her work hours for six months. When we confronted her during her dismissal, she was distraught, insisting she had no clue how this happened. People at the office genuinely liked her, so her termination didn't feel like a victory, even though she'd been dishonest about her work over several months.
It was really unsettling. Her actions made it seem like she was suffering from a brain disorder or something similar. Many colleagues had been quite taken with her. Most of us were friends, and she ended up losing most of her social circle due to her actions since none of us could comprehend her motivations.
40. What Happens In Vegas…
Our company had recently hired a new secretary who also served as a promotional model. We took a business trip to Las Vegas and she vanished during the event. The reason for he absence was infuriating—she was spending her time with some random guy instead.
She didn't even return home with the rest of us. Once she finally reported back to work, I was authorized to let her go. The story goes that she stayed behind in Vegas for this guy and later began working as a lady of the night.
41. Food For Thought
Firing someone is truly a tough task, you know. It's difficult knowing that their steady income, and in turn their livelihood, is being taken away. While sometimes it's necessary due to their lack of performance, it's never truly a pleasing experience. The most challenging thing of all is to compensate for someone else's mistakes.
For instance, when an individual must be let go for consistent poor performance, or when there's refusal to layoff underperforming staff despite sufficient warnings and opportunities for improvement, leaving the rest to handle their extra workload.
There've been times when I've had to deliver the unfortunate news to people I've barely interacted with because their supervisor either lacked the judgment or courage to do it.
42. No Brainer
So, I've got this buddy who's employed at a jewelry shop. There's a bit of a wild story about their accountant who ended up being reported to the authorities. Can you believe it? The accountant bluffed her way into the job by falsifying most of her references.
She then proceeded to misuse the company's bank account to purchase a hefty amount of personal items, including adult toys, from Amazon, of all places! As if that wasn't enough, she started using the same company account to cover personal costs, like buying numerous airline tickets and booking a load of hotels in Europe for an upcoming holiday.
Naturally, she was fired swiftly, but then she went missing. The cops were able to track her down and promptly put her behind bars. Talk about a twist of events!
43. Morale Booster
When I was a rising leader in a large company, I was once asked to dismiss the entire administrative team—including the branch manager and assistant manager—at one of our local offices.
The reason? A scandalous love triangle among them that had gotten to upper management's attention out-of-state, who decided they all needed to leave. On a quiet Sunday evening, I got a call.
The next day, backed by security, I was to meet them and deliver the news. Can you imagine doing exit interviews right after reporting a layoff? Challenging to say the least. The real highlight was when one employee rushed to confess, "I only had an affair with [Branch Manager] because I believed it would benefit the company!"
She tried to justify her actions, but her logic was certainly puzzling. Once she finished her story, she eagerly asked, "So, you understand my reasoning, right?" I nodded, "Yes, I understand". Seeing a glimmer of hope in her eyes, she asked, "So, I'm still employed?"
All I could say was, "No, unfortunately, you're still laid off!"
44. Happily Ever After
I managed an individual who had passed the conventional age of retirement by several years. Upon becoming her boss, I recognized that it was time for her separation from the company. It wasn't a matter of her age, but rather her lack of enthusiasm and effort in her work.
She regularly napped at her workstation and often arrived late or left early. Even when she was on duty, she made frequent errors and was seldom helpful in correcting them. A major reason we kept her was her supposed in-depth knowledge about a procedure we intended to revamp. We couldn't have been more mistaken.
During the process redesign, we found out the hard way that she neither comprehended nor had the interest to learn the intricacies of the procedure. She knew just enough to get by, nothing more. She was not a pleasant individual to interact with, let alone be a good employee.
Frankly, when I finally decided to terminate her employment, it felt like the best course of action for both parties. It was rather gratifying. I felt as if I was doing her a favor by making a challenging decision she couldn't handle. She believed she was a stellar employee, failing to see that she had stopped trying long ago.
Now that she's finally retired, our team is more cohesive and she seems much contented. Letting her go was unquestionably the right call.
45. Big Baby
During my time as a manager, I had an employee who wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed. Fortunately, the job wasn't particularly complex, so initially, her limited intellectual capacity wasn't much of an issue. One day, her friends dropped by, wanting her to join them.
She approached me, requesting to wrap up her day early. Given that she was responsible for closing, I declined her request. This led her to break down in tears and take refuge in the bathroom. She even contacted her mom, complaining about how unfair I was being. Overwhelmed by the situation, I knocked on the bathroom door and told her she was free to leave, permanently.
46. Let This Sink In
I suggested to an underperforming employee to take a paid day off and consider if this job was suitable for him. After his day off, I phoned him and he assured me, "I'm definitely in the right space".
I requested him to take an additional day to mull it over. Eventually, he sensed what was underway and understood that I was giving him the opportunity to resign before inevitable termination.
47. Um, Fries With That?
I remember having a staff member whose performance was questionable. My suspicions were proven right when I saw her serving a customer...I could hardly believe what I was seeing.
She unintentionally spilled some ketchup on the floor. She stared at it briefly, hesitated, then picked it up with her bare hands. You can guess what happened next.
48. Shine On You Crazy Diamond
Over the summer, I was in charge of a landscaping team at a substantial public park. I had a couple of kids on the crew who loved their recreational activities, but I didn't mind, as long as they got their work done. One of their tasks was to mow the grass along the perimeter road of the park.
One morning, one of these kids set off at 8 a.m. for his mowing task. It was noon, and yet he hadn't come back. When he was still missing at 4 p.m., I got concerned—so I took matters into my own hands. I hopped into my truck and saw that he had extended his mowing duties along the road, all the way to the highway on-ramp.
I decided to follow the fresh mowing path and, to my disbelief, 30 kilometers (about 17 miles) down the highway, there he was. His tractor had run out of fuel, but he was still seated, clutching the steering wheel and grinning ear to ear, enjoying his Pink Floyd tunes.
Not sure what he'd taken, but as amusing as it was, I still had to let him go.
49. Relax, It’s FedEx
I was previously managing a FedEx office before I was transferred to a new 24-hour location that required round-the-clock staffing. In the first couple of weeks, I was trying to adjust to the new environment and found that not all the duties assigned for the night were being completed.
Upon investigating this issue, I discovered something quite surprising. It turns out, the worker on the main night shift would do a bit of work for the first two hours, and then spend the following hours surfing the internet on one of the office computers.
Then, just before the morning shift worker arrived, he would rush to complete a few simple tasks to give the appearance of having worked more than he actually had. I confirmed this the following day after observing him on the security camera, staying idle for five out of his eight-hour shift.
It didn't stop there, checking past security footage showed the same behavior. Looking at the browser history revealed that he was on Reddit during work hours. Unsurprisingly, I let him go the next day. He didn't offer any resistance, aware that his work ethic was poor.
50. Caught In The Act
While I was studying, I used to work on mechanical maintenance at a brewery in New Zealand. Suddenly, we encountered a recurring issue where a chain on a conveyor kept getting dislodged, and it was quite a task to reattach it.
When such issues arose, we often had to halt the packaging line, and the employees would be dismissed early for the day, still fully compensated. We were puzzled by the repetitiveness of this chain issue, so we decided to install a camera. What we discovered next was truly shocking.
We realized that a worker was intentionally sticking a metal rod between the chain and the drive sprocket as he wasn't keen on working full days. Unfortunately for him, he wasn't aware of the camera we had installed, and we captured his actions on video.