Watching somebody get fired on the spot is one of those rare experiences that is beautiful in its own way, and always defies expectations. It's like seeing a bear in the woods, and no less dangerous depending on the circumstances. Sometimes people fly off the handle and sometimes people just don’t understand, but it's always an astonishing sight to see. The ineptitude and stupidity of some people’s actions can be truly impressive, and of course detrimental to a business, but for our sake, at least it's entertaining.
For those out there who have never had the distinct pleasure of seeing the drama of someone being fired on the spot, this article is something to behold. And it's all thanks to the people of Reddit, who shared their stories on the website for the world to marvel at. So, from the hilarious to the sickening, here are some of the most interesting stories of workers getting fired on the spot.
1. I Guess It's Just Me and You
I was promoted to VP of my company. The company was in trouble, and the CEO had asked me to figure out why and fix it.
I arranged for a random drug test. All employees, the CEO, me, everyone. All on the same day and everyone went down at the same time. Even said I would ignore weed but anyone with anything stronger would be gone.
We get the results back and I fired everyone who had tested positive for any drug other than weed.
The CEO and myself were the only two people left working for the company.
2. Wrong Place For A Fire Extinguisher Fight
Years ago, I worked for a government contractor in a torpedo manufacturing plant. The electronics were assembled in a cleanroom, which is a pressurized room that keeps dust out, and employees had to wear special suits and masks so as not to contaminate the goods.
Two dudes in their 20s worked in there, and one day decided, for reasons only they could explain, that it would be fun to have a fire extinguisher fight. They blasted the extinguisher material all over the cleanroom, including the precious torpedo electronics and associated million dollar pick-and-place robot.
Management was displeased.
3. Not Very Slick
My first job, I worked at a grocery store. I don't remember much, but I do remember one day when the store got crazy busy, and they had to pull people like me from other departments to work checkouts. They have me as a bagger, and the guy at the scanner is another guy that I worked with in produce.
Now, when this guy gave change, he'd "accidentally" pull out an extra fiver, and pretend to put it back in the register when counting out change, then he'd slip it into his pocket once the customer turned around. I noticed this pretty quickly because he's doing it with literally every customer. Even if they weren't getting change, he'd pull one out and act like he forgot they paid with a card.
After I noticed it, I saw him do it a couple more times and thought, "Wow. Wonder how long he can get away with that." Barely a moment goes by after that thought, when I turn to see that night's manager accompanied by a law enforcement officer approaching our checkout counter. Dismissed immediately and taken into custody.
4. Going Out Like A Shark
Worked at the Tempe Improv for two years. We had pre shift meetings about 30 min before each show. One day, during shark week, my friend appeared 20 mins late (on one of the few days when the owner was actually present) under the influence of scotch, dressed in a complete shark outfit, brandishing his Keytar.
He proceeded to get on stage and perform a rap about sharks accompanied by his Keytar and then sat down next to the owner like nothing had happened. It was so legendary, even for a comedy club.
5. Promising To Do Better
Worked at a restaurant that was having a meeting with everyone present, including the higher-ups. Pretty normal meeting and everyone is discussing changes they’d like to see or changes they’d appreciate, etc. At one point head manager asks if anyone else has something to share.
This one dishwasher raises his hand and says “I know I’ve not always been the best, but I’m gonna work on that. From now on I won’t get high in the stairwell by the dumpster. I’ll walk down the street on my break. You won’t even smell it on me anymore, promise".
Complete silence in the room.
Manager speaks up, “did everyone else just hear that?”
We all nod.
“Great, so now I have to look like a bad guy and fire you. What were you thinking?” Manager says.
Dishwasher is shocked. “But, but I said I was fixing it. You guys won’t even know anymore!!”
He was walked out and removed in front of the whole staff.
6. Pulling His Way Out
Pulled down a male coworker's pants in the office, during business hours, while said coworker was talking to two female peers. The poor guy wasn't wearing underwear. The pants-puller was escorted out of the office within that hour.
We were all in our 30s and this was at a publicly-traded multinational.
7. Intercom Mistakes
An employee, losing discretion, dialed a friend to voice frustrations about her manager and didn't realize she was communicating through the intercom system, not in a private phone conversation.
The boss was me. I fired her immediately. Awful day.
8. Just Sickening
I worked at a hospital for children and came in one morning to find the security guard, who was one of my work buddies, waiting for me at my desk (I worked really early in the morning at either 5am or 6am). He was kind of shaken up and it took some coaxing to get him to tell me what was wrong.
Apparently this old guy who worked overnight at the switchboard operator desk, who I always thought was really nice since we'd sometimes cross over by an hour or two and would just chat about the world, had been caught by the security guard looking up very inappropriate material on the work computer.
Keep in mind we worked at a hospital for children, not that it is okay in any other scenario, but it was particularly frightening to know that this guy had access to patient areas and was surrounded by kids all day, some of whom did not have the cognitive capacity of normally functioning kids and tend to be targeted more frequently by those with nefarious motives. Also, as if that wasn't bad enough, apparently it had a strong element of dominant and submissive behavior as well.
I had to cover the switchboard that morning when HR called him in. I never saw the old guy again and my security guard buddy had to speak with a bunch of people to verify (along with the IT department) what he had seen.
9. More Than Just Drinking On The Job
I ultimately had to let an employee go on the spot after he came back from his lunch break 30 minutes late and in an unfit state. I suspect he was under the influence too, but the overpowering scent of spirits truly revealed it. He was on a ladder attempting to put up a shelf when an employee brought him to my attention. When I confronted him about his tardy return to work and arriving under the influence, he accidentally dropped the exceedingly heavy shelf on my head.
FIRED. GET OUT.
10. Trash Delivery
I was the manager of a pizza place while in College and had to fire one of my delivery drivers on the spot. A lady came in with a grocery bag full of trash, including many of our receipts. Told us that the delivery guy dumped it out from his car onto her lawn. I comped her some things and told her I would take care of it.
I confronted the guy when he got back from his deliveries and asked him if it was true. Conversation went a little like this:
Me: "Hey man, we had a lady come in with a bunch of trash and said you dumped it on her lawn. Is that true?"
Me:"Was she mean? Did she not tip you or something? What happened?"
Him:"No, my car was just dirty."
Me: ........."so you just emptied all of your trash into her yard?"
Him: *shrug* "yeah"
Me: "Dude? What the heck? I can't even comprehend why you would think that was ok, even if she didn't tip you. The fact that you just did it 'cause your car was dirty' is even more insane. I can't have an employee with that little judgement. Hand me your money so I can count you out. You're fired."
11. Cell Phone Games
I worked as a temp in IT at a nurse's college, and the ground floor was the student loan department. My coworker found an iPhone in one of the student bathrooms upstairs during lunch and subsequently just put it in her desk. A few hours later, the owner came to us (for some reason Lost and Found was in the IT office), reported it missing, and said that she had accidentally left in the women's room after calling her boyfriend. My boss found the phone by simply calling the number (it had a unique ringtone, of course).
Department head walked in my coworker's office, opened the drawer and confirmed it was the missing phone, and fired her in the middle of a conference with a student. I overheard him say, "if you can't do the right thing in a simple situation like this, how can I trust you to do your job ethically?”
To clarify: Since she HAD to walk past the Lost and Found to get back to her office, it seems likely she intended to keep the phone. Also, instead of saying she would return it, when confronted she used the old chestnut, "if they wanted it, they wouldn't have left it there." There had been other minor thefts of personal belongings in the building previously, and they stopped after she left. I believe they had been suspicious of her for awhile.
12. Caught In The Act
Worked at Staples. The (ex) employee was putting a Galaxy s3 tablet into his pocket in the back room. I was around the corner and the manager was very swift in informing him that he's dismissed and he will be contacting the authorities. The (ex) employee stated he was just going to depart before law enforcement arrived. The manager reminded him he has his address and information from the hiring process. He proceeded to cry.
13. The Worst Clerk
I was working at an Amazon warehouse when a clerk came up to me and asked, "Is Melissa retarded?" Melissa was our coworker who seemed developmentally slow and she clearly annoyed him. I laughed awkwardly at his question and immediately turned back to my work. A short while later, I saw the clerk roll his cart with a laptop on top of it towards Melissa. On the screen was a picture of a kid with Down Syndrome and the clerk was saying, "Are you retarded? This is you." She reported him to our supervisor and he was fired on the spot.
14. Finally Giving An Excuse To Be Fired
I was working as a baggage handler (Ramp Agent is the real job title, FYI), and they'd hired a guy whom everyone hated. He was lazy, stupid, and annoying.
One of the big rules when working around airplanes is you don't go anywhere near the engines while they're still running. They'll suck you right in and cut you into a million little pieces in 1 second. They put the fear of God into you about this during training, well before you get near an airplane. Once a plane pulls into the gate, you wait until you have confirmation that the engine has been turned off before you approach it. If you're not sure, you don't approach the plane.
Well one day a plane pulls up to the gate, and he walks right up to the engine while it's still running. People are yelling, his vest is flapping like crazy, but he's so aloof he doesn't notice. Someone runs up to him and yanks him back to a safe distance.
They had already been building up a case to fire him, but that made it a lot easier. The supervisor walked him into the manager's office, and he was fired right away. We all rejoiced.
15. Extremely Poor Quality Burger
A guy started his first shift at a pizza place I used to work at. He mentioned that during his tenure at Hardee's, if someone he didn't like came in, he would tarnish the grill before cooking their burger. Owner overheard this and fired him.
16. Getting Hammered On His Second Day There
This was at the current company I work at, about 6 years ago: dude starts on a Monday, and on Tuesday, we have our department holiday party and the dude gets pretty lit up. During a group photo, for whatever reason, this guy gets the brilliant idea to reach his arm around the woman standing next to him and grab and honk her boob. When she loudly protested, he claimed he was just joking and that she was not who he thought she was.
Well, who she was was the CMO of the company, and despite his repeated protestations that it was "all a joke," he was promptly informed that he would have to leave the party immediately, and to not bother coming back to work the next day. I will never forget that example of sheer drunken idiocy till the day I die.
17. Watered Down Goose
A food runner at a bar I used to frequent was fired from his job for stealing a giant bottle of Grey Goose. The best part is that it was a display-only bottle that was filled with water.
18. Talking His Way Out Of Severance Pay
While he wasn't exactly fired on the spot, I did see a guy screw himself out of severance.
In Canada they have to give you advanced warning or pay out a certain amount if they fire you on the spot. Well, this one guy was going to get fired for being generally incompetent. The final straw was when he offered his own backyard service to a lady for a car problem she didn't actually have. (Her problem was foam on the oil filler cap, he claimed it was a head gasket but it was just some moisture from a cold day).
Anyway, the boss goes to fire him and he panics. He goes on this speech about how he could run the shop better than the owner and manager and demands that the manager is fired, and he replace him, or else he quits.
So the boss just says that he accepts his resignation and wishes him the best in the future.
19. Too Late
Guy was continually late to work. This was back when I was working fast food. We’re talking 10 shifts in a row where he’d stroll in 10 or 15 minutes late. Manager gave him every chance, kept telling him he couldn’t look past it much longer, and finally he was on his last chance.
He came in on time for about a week, then came late one day. Manager changed the schedule to his shift so he wasn’t technically late, and then reamed him in the break room. Told him no more chances, get his stuff together. The manager had a real soft spot for this kid, because even though he was always late he was a decent worker and fun to be around.
The NEXT DAY he doesn’t show up on time. Manager is furious and watching for him out the window. We see him turn into the store’s parking lot, and park in back and start strolling in. Manager grabs the drive thru headset (he had to walk past the speaker to get in, we watched it unfold on the drive thru camera) and said “don’t bother, you’re fired” though the speaker.
The kid just dropped his head and turned back to his car. Never even bothered to pick up his last check, apparently.
20. Giving Yourself A Raise
I ran a 5-staff nonprofit. My first week or two, the payroll information came from ADP and it was left sealed on the office assistant's desk. I was at work early the next morning and opened it; I discovered the office assistant (who was responsible for entering staff hours online every payroll) had given herself a raise. She got there a couple minutes later, I asked her about it, and she said it had been promised to her (you'd think the board or my predecessor would have told me that, huh?). She was also very annoyed that I'd opened it (Hello? I'm the boss. I get to look at the darn payroll.)
Wasn't a giant raise, but you increase your own pay without permission, you're going to be fired, and she needed some strong encouragement to remove her person from the office, too. She walked down to our board chair's office, who resided near us, and loudly accused me of having prejudices (as a point of reference, she was African-American, I'm Asian, and the chairman was Latino). Despite the ruckus she caused, he firmly explained the reasons why one should not give themselves a pay raise under any circumstances, regardless of the promised perceived. Upon further inquiry, of course, it was revealed that no such promise had been made to her.
21. Violating The NDA
A friend of mine got fired on the spot for posting a minor plot point on Facebook about a movie we were working on. He made a comment about how dumb some of the plot was under the Trailer post for the movie, sadly his friend had a friend who worked at the studio we were working for. Just like that, blacklisted from the company.
22. No Empathy
My buddy got fired because he walked out after his manager wouldn't let him leave when he found out his dad was being rushed to the hospital having a stroke. The manager followed him out of the store screaming.
23. Winning In The Long Run
Girl I work with got written up for being on her phone at our break table DURING HER BREAK, just because she was staggering breaks to cover someone else, which meant that her break came in the 15 minute period immediately following everyone else's. We work in a union shop and she filed a harassment grievance and won.
24. Covering Up The Dirty Dishes
In high school, I worked at Perkin's. First as a dishwasher, then as a cook. One night, I was the only cook, and the dishwasher was getting close to leaving. I told him to finish the dishes currently waiting, then he could go.
After he left, I found several hours worth of silverware in the garbage, covered with a light layer of food to hide it. I called his house and told him not to come back. I had no power, but he really needed to be fired and it felt good to do it. Officially, he was a no-show, since I couldn't actually fire him.
The next night, I told the assistant manager what had happened and what I did, so he called in a replacement and everyone was happy.
25. Rolling Their Eyes Out Of A Job
He chuckled and rolled his eyes during a managerial conference when the General Manager was addressing some problems.The senior executive communicated to him, "Such behavior is the reason you aren't suitable for a management position here. Kindly exit."
Guy got up and was never heard from again.
26. Dropping The Ball
I worked at a bowling alley as a teenager. One girl was immediately fired for dropping a ball on the foot of a complaining patron.
27. Sliding On In
Having dinner in a diner one night. As a woman was leaving the restaurant, the server called her a cheap witch for leaving a small tip. He then proceeded to follow her out the door, talking about how he hates people who don't tip well. He didn't realize her husband was outside. Husband tells him to screw off. The waiter throws a punch and the husband beats him up. The manager noticed the unfolding events and immediately contacted law enforcement, all the while shouting at the waiter about his dismissal. I was looking for a job at the time. When everything calmed down, I asked the manager if he was hiring. He laughed his butt off and hired me on the spot.
28. In Plain Sight
The employee discreetly took money from a customer's bag, under the watchful eye of the customer. While on like three different cameras.
She was taken away by law enforcement, and our highest-ranking manager on duty went to the station to officially end her employment from there.
29. Looking Unprofessional On The Day Off
Happened to me! I rode my bike in on a day off to take care of paperwork. Boss's boss saw me wearing a bike helmet and just walked up to me and told me I was fired for looking unprofessional. I was being reimbursed for buying groceries out of pocket for a group home where the fridge had been empty for at least 4 days and we had no idea what, if anything, staff had been feeding clients.
Firing didn't stick because I kept being assigned shifts. I don't think she knew who I was.
I had taken pictures in preparation to file an OIG report if management didn't fix the issue. Upon showing the pictures to my residential director, they took immediate corrective action, including training the new staff, and it hasn't been an issue since.
As for boss's boss, it’s my belief she was having a manic episode. As much as I don't like her as a person, she somehow keeps the operation afloat despite dubious funding. Other people respect her, so I wrote it off as a bad day. I see her less than once every 2 years so it’s not an issue for me.
30. Wrongful Termination
The fired party did nothing to warrant termination and the manager who fired her was dismissed.
A young accountant (around 24) made an appointment to see her manager. Both parties agree that she informed him that she would be having surgery the following day to remove and biopsy a tumor. She wanted to discuss the status of her projects and develop a coverage plan for while she was on medical leave. He wanted her to delay her surgery until after a certain project was complete.
While she was walking to Human Resources to apply for a medical leave of absence, her manager followed her and screamed at her about being insubordinate and insisted that he would fire her if she didn’t return to her desk immediately. She calmly stated that this was a medical emergency and the timing of the surgery was non-negotiable, so he fired her. In front of the director of Human Resources.
He was terminated the next day (which I did not witness). She returned to work once she had recovered enough to do so (about a month later, if memory serves).
31. Getting Back At The Owner
Department manager asked to go home early because of snow flurries. We said she and anyone else who was worried about getting home safely could leave, but if the roads are open the next day we expect them to come in.
Next day comes and her ENTIRE department called in. They all have variations of, "I can't get my car out of the driveway."
Day 3 comes. One of her underlings admits that on the day of the flurries, the Department Manager told all her people to meet in a local parking lot, and told them that they all better call in the next day or she would make their lives horrible. This was apparently to "teach the owner a lesson."
Once we got another employee to confirm the story, she was fired on the spot.
32. Bitter Over Losing The Promotion
My colleague threatened to destroy the server room if he wasn't made my peer rather than my subordinate.
He was a year older and we were hyper-competitive over a promotion that I ended up winning. I thought it was all in a healthy way, but I might have thought differently if I hadn't got it, I guess.
I don't think for a second he meant what he said, but my boss was left with no choice but to assume he did. Both felt very bad about it afterwards.
33. (Not) Friendly Competition
I made the mistake of hiring a friend who was going through a difficult time.
I was going through a separation and I had to leave every couple of weeks or so to spend time with the kids.
One day on getting back, I found out she’d been leaving hours early all week to set up a competing business. When I asked her about it, I withheld some information I already knew, and she lied to me. Breach of fiduciary duty. Instant termination.
In the following week, I took over her work email, and found she’d contacted at least two of our clients with suggestions that they leave with her.
Apparently I’m the bad guy though. She either legitimately can’t grasp why she was in the wrong, or she’s intellectually dishonest about it.
34. Textbook Example Of How To Get Fired
Worked at Waffle House. A cook came in for the first time in weeks (clearly high on something) not wearing shoes. The manager approaches him to notify that cooking without shoes is against the health code regulations. The cook gets angry, takes a pork chop off the grill with his spatula, shouts “Screw You,” and flings it at the manager's face.
35. First Day Paranoia
I tossed some stuff into a bin next to the guy in the warehouse during a summer job in college. He thought I was throwing it at him and started yelling and coming at me. I ignored him and went on to the next shelf that I needed to put stuff away on, and he kept after me. At this point, he was yelling so loudly that the shop boss heard him from the other side of the massive warehouse and had made his way over from behind the guy. The boss looked to me and asked what was going on and I told him. The other guy was still yelling. He was gone in less than 10 minutes. It was his first day.
36. No Kids Or Old People
I was 21 and a hostess at a fine dining restaurant. For some reason, even though I was well-versed in the seating chart and was careful to make sure it was fair, this girl had it out for me.
She came up to the hostess stand and bawled me out, let me know that "if I ever sat another kid or old person in her section she'd let me have it (what?!)"
I approached the General Manager and declared my resignation, clarifying it was a choice between her and me.
He fired her on the spot.
She threw a full-on tantrum and called me every name in the book.
37. Taking It To The Next Level
This was in the Army, so it wasn't a "fired on the spot" as much as a "relief for cause" and immediate removal from their position.
A Lieutenant had already made himself a reputation as an irresponsible idiot. Overseas, he's given a nice office job with a very, very responsible NCO in the hopes that he can't mess things up too badly. But the NCO can't babysit during off-hours.
LT proceeds to lose his sobriety, something highly frowned upon when deployed."Acquire" a gator (think ATV) from the motor pool. Then, accidentally run it into his Battalion Commander's door.
Idiot was on a plane back to the States within 48 hours.
38. Letting It Slip
I had an employee who was brought into the office for doodling on product packaging. The other manager in the room said, “Do you know why we have you in here?”
He replied, “Because I was stealing".
Yep, fired on the spot.
39. Winners At The Bar
I terminated a woman's employment because she fell unconscious on the cash register, with a customer's credit card in her hand, due to her excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages, more than what she was actually serving. Poor dude was so nice, just wanted the card back.
Fired a dude for trying to sell fentanyl at the bar...my boss sure knew how to pick them, I just had to weed out the useless ones.
Fired a guy the same night I promoted him. He was a barback, a real hard worker and seemed nice. The moment I made him a bartender, he started behaving pretentiously and condescendingly towards the barbacks.
There were a few others, but less on the spot.
40. Not Counting The Candles On The Cake
Server at an Italian restaurant. A coworker tried hitting on a guest who was celebrating her 14th birthday with her entire family. Her friends were telling him not to try anything, but he still asked for her number and her mom overheard everything. The mother swiftly alerted our General Manager who addressed the server and dismissed him immediately.
About a year or so later he tried asking for his job back.
To clear things up a bit, you couldn’t serve if you were under 18, but if I remember correctly he was around 20/21 years old when he pulled this stunt.
41. Don't Bite The Hand That Feeds
God, she was a piece of work. Never worked. Called out 2 weekends in a row lying about broken legs or her car not starting. Lied to get other employees in trouble for her mess ups. Bragged about how much work she got out of to the owner's son, who also worked there. We couldn't convince the General Manager to fire this lazy little girl. He had a soft spot for her.
Finally someone showed the General Manager a Facebook post she made public absolutely trash-talking him, the only person at work who didn't hate her guts, and lying about how much she works and how the entire store is incompetent except her. He wrote her up for poor conduct, unexcused call outs, etc. She refused to sign the write up because she said she was right that he was worthless and he fired her right there.
It was like a 160 lb weight got lifted off of everyone there. 90% of the staff was looking for new jobs. She was a wandering cloud of harmful substances.
42. Taking Order
I worked in a doctor's office and we had a maternity leave that was being covered by help. Well, one person who came to help cover the office had been passed from office to office because she couldn’t do anything right, she couldn’t take a patient back in under 20 minutes, she couldn’t file paperwork, it was just bad. So she arrives at our office and we put her answering phone calls, she answered the phone, “This is doctor X’s office, can I take your order". My manager lost it and told her to leave and never come back.
Worst part, she called the boss and asked for a new assignment, he had to repeat 3 times that she was fired and there was no new assignment. She genuinely did not understand what "you’re fired" meant.