Employees Share The Most Wildly Unprofessional Acts They’ve Witnessed In The Workplace
The workplace is a competitive and stressful environment at the best of times. Unless you’re lucky enough to work from home (which brings untold benefits in terms of productivity and avoiding boring meetings, by the way), we’re all crammed in like sardines into a daily commute and crushed like chum in the daily grind.
Of course, work isn’t always bad. It can be incredibly fulfilling and financially rewarding, otherwise, we wouldn’t do it. These Redditors, however, don’t want to talk about the best of times. They want to talk about the pettiest of times. Those moments when a co-worker acted like a terrible human being just because they could or when a boss went out of their way to treat a subordinate badly.
We’ve all had days like these. Let’s hope that the more people read about this kind of behavior, the less likely they are to behave that way. Check out the pettiest moments ever experienced at work. Sadly, you’re going to believe them.
Don’t forget to check the comment section below the article for more interesting stories!
#1 The Plague Carrier
My boss doesn’t believe in sick days (for herself or anyone else). So she came in all last week with a terrible cold and laryngitis. This week three other people have the same thing.
Sick days aren’t meant for fun times, they’re meant to prevent the spread of contagious illnesses. She’s such a horrible move. I need a new job.
#2 She Knows Best
I worked as a head lifeguard at a waterpark. We had a minor situation where a kid who couldn’t swim jumped into the deep end.
The lifeguard of that area went in to get her. No big deal, happens a lot. My boss, the park supervisor heard the whistle blow, ran at full speed and jumped in with the non-waterproof radio among other important items. I let her know she didn’t need to do that, that I had it under control. She replied that I should never tell her she is wrong and sent me home for the day.
#3 Netflix and Not So Chill
I used to work at Netflix and every time somebody was fired, department bosses would call a staff meeting and tell everyone on the team why so and so was let go and would go around the room asking everyone to unload any dirt on the ex-employee.
Even before that, managers would organize team lunches and have everyone at the table say what they don’t like about their co-workers who were sitting right next to them. Awkward and very unprofessional.
#4 Law And The Lord Don’t Mix
I’m in law enforcement. One of my co-workers is super-religious Christian, to the point where his advice to the rest of us always revolves around “you should go to church more” and “the Bible contains all of your answers.”
Those of us that work with him tune him out. The real problem is that he talks this way to our subjects and victims, as well. He’ll tell someone who’s clearly an atheist that he will “pray for them” or that “God forgives you.” Several times, he’s given an impromptu lecture on getting right with Jesus to someone we’ve arrested.
We’ve counseled him over and over again to knock this off. First, it’s not our place to proselytize. Second, there’s a serious issue with church/state separation when a government employee, on duty, is lecturing someone about God or religion. Third, when you give that lecture to someone, you run the risk of pushing them into saying something, by making them believe that they are committing a religious sin as well as a crime.
In short, it’s going to backfire on him at some point, which is why I make a point of staying far away from him when we’re out of the office.
#5 The Kitten Might Have Been Undead
I showed a coworker a video of my new kitten. Next thing I know I’m in an office being scolded and told I should have known better as well as having my professionalism questioned. Apparently, someone walking by recently had their cat pass away and felt the need to complain. Now if I want to show a video at work, I have to have it approved by management first.
#6 She Put It In Writing
I’ve worked for my company for almost two years, and I haven’t used any vacation leave. I decided to treat myself to a four day weekend; I took Thursday and Friday off. Thursday morning my boss calls me like four times. I’m so annoyed because I wanted to sleep in. I answer it the fifth time she calls.
She’s begging me not to read the email she sent me when I get to the office on Monday. She said she wrote it while she was feeling mean-spirited and felt like bullying me. Can’t wait to forward it to HR when I go back to work tomorrow.
#7 A Disgusting Policy
I was a seasonal salesperson at Sharper Image, so several people got hired around the same time. One of the new people was…odd. To start with, he smelled intensely of B.O. all the time. He’d talk about really inappropriate things, in a louder than normal voice all the time. Like one time, while we were on the sales floor, he started telling me about his personal…”preferences”.
I’m a woman, and while I didn’t take him talking about this to be intended to harass me, some of my male colleagues who couldn’t help but overhear were very uncomfortable with him talking to a woman about that. And obviously that was just inappropriate to be talking about on the sales floor anyway.
The last straw was when he told me that he had a “policy” of drinking from any open beverage container that was left out in the back. So, if you had a drink open in the break room, he drank from it. Every time. He told me this after he’d been working there for a few weeks at that point. We all had open drinks in the back pretty much every day. I immediately told everyone to get rid of their drinks and told the manager about it. He didn’t come back after that.
#8 Some Places Are Truly Brutal
I’m a unit secretary at a hospital. Typically I’m the one that gets the call when we have a new patient coming to the floor. Since we are always understaffed, a new patient is always a call for moaning.
And guess who gets blamed?
The other day one of the nicest nurses lost her plot and started berating me because she was going to get her 8th patient. I don’t make bed assignments, and she knows that. Still, I’m the one who has to absorb the screaming.
This was after my supervisor chewed me out because her supervisor had me helping out on the floor because we only had one nurse aid for 22 patients. And it was only two hours into my 12-hour shift.
I cry at work every day.
#9 Sometimes You Have To Play Dirty Too
At a part-time job I had eons ago, the boss would come in and flip through dirty magazines while we were talking. It was slightly awkward. I responded by putting up a mildly graphic calendar and praising the virtues of the young ladies featured. He assumed I wasn’t interested in him after that and left me alone.
#10 The Delivery Boy Was Not Happy
Was working for a small business and was repeatedly asked to use my own personal car to make deliveries and pick up supplies. I eventually told the owner that I didn’t feel comfortable using my personal vehicle for company work. My statement was polite and voiced my concerns about only having liability insurance on it and having to pay for all the gas on my own too. The owner was like, how many miles did you drive yesterday? Maybe 3? Here are 75 cents. That’s average mileage pay. And he drops three quarters into my hand.
I looked at the change in my hand, then looked up at him, then back at the change in my hand, and they were diamonds.
Just kidding. I threw the quarters on the ground as I looked at him and said I don’t want your change. Then I quit and told him to bug off.
#11 The Stock Day That Never Stopped
Once I was working on the stock day, and although stock still needed to be put away, the employees that were scheduled to get off wanted to leave.
I asked them if they would stay and help put away stuff, but the one employee was whining that he wanted to leave, and I was really irritated with his whining, so I went ahead and let him clock out and go.
I walked back to the office to get something, and my boss who was sitting at the computer putzing around says to me, “Is the stock put away yet?”
I said “No. The employees that were scheduled to leave left, so I have to do it myself.”
And he flipped his lid.
“What do you MEAN they left? I THOUGHT I told you to tell those employees to stay.”
So I said, “Umm, If they’re scheduled to get off, I can’t FORCE them to stay. None of them wanted to stay to help; it’s not my fault they were only scheduled until 1.”
Then he pulls out this gem:
”I’m sick of your abject nonsense.” I left the office. Then, a couple of hours later, he asks me if the stock is done again. I was really angry, so I said, “Mostly. But I can’t put the sodas away because I can’t reach the top shelf.” Keep in mind, these are 50lb syrups, I have trouble lifting them.
And he says to me, instead of offering his help, “Get a stool.”
I am so glad he no longer works there.
#12 Harassed On Her First Day
I was 15, the first day working at a small skate shop. I am a girl, by the way. My boss was 20-something, I know he had graduated from college, and this was a summer job. While I was reaching to grab something from a top shelf, he came over and smacked my behind. I asked him quietly to please not do that again, and he told me that this was his store and that I was lucky to have a job. I quit and called my mom.
Unfortunately, we had a family vacation the next week, and I decided not to bother with pressing charges or telling the boss, though I probably should have.
#13 The Payback Is Endless
I work in direct patient care in a psychiatric facility when one of my coworkers suddenly called a patient an incredibly rude name. Yelled it right in her face in front of myself and other staff. I wrote her up because I don’t think it was right.
Fast forward a few weeks, and this coworker finds out that I was one of the people who complained and has been passive-aggressive with her comments and glares at me. She’s been trying to get a friend of mine who used to work with us to harass me into changing my story. It hasn’t happened though. There have been whispers that I have heard about “throwing people under the bus.”
I had previously on several occasions talked to this person about her language, attitude, and behavior. I was told by her that it wasn’t my job to do this. I have gone to my boss and informed them.
I have been made to feel like I’m the one that did something wrong. Screw me, right? I don’t think that someone suffering a psychotic break should be called names in a professional environment!
#14 Food Fights Are Not Fun
My old manager used to flip out and give you a lousy schedule the following week if you brought in food for yourself and none for him. He also used to write slurs on my back in ranch dressing because I decided to stop seeing a girl we worked with (we were cooks, the girl was a waitress). This then exploded into World War III when myself and another co-worker dosed him with water and flour. The manager started pouring full 3-liter jugs of BBQ sauce on us.
#15 The Preaching Ninja
I used to go to a Christian private school.
Our athletic director used to be principal of a separate public school. He’d tell everyone who got sent to his office for doing something wrong that they needed to accept Jesus, etc., etc. Finally, he got fired from teaching at public schools for throwing a stapler at a kid who told him that religion is stupid. How he evaded being arrested, I have absolutely no clue, but holy, did I hate that man.
#16 Atheism Is Not The Best Call Here
My previous job my boss told me that I needed to go to church, and they were concerned because no one ever saw me say grace when eating lunch in my cubicle. She and others in the office would constantly nag me about Christian stuff. It got so bad that I would avoid conversations with many folks there because it always leads to Jesus. They ended up firing me for petty reasons and I’ve lawyered up.
#17 The Empathy Was Weak With This One
My last boss utterly convinced himself that I had made up an ailment so that I could skip work. I had a minor operation to remove an axillary abscess but it required nearly two months of aftercare by means of a nurse pulling the dressing out of the hole and then restuffing the cavity, which would generally only take a half hour out of the working day as the doctor’s clinic was just down the road, and I managed to get most of my appointments during my lunch hour.
So despite having a whopping big bandage taped under my arm and across my shoulder that was visible under my clothing, he’d make snide comments and refer to my “appointments” with bunny fingers, and worst of all he would “pop out for five minutes” just before I was due to get a dressing change (it was a small business, so one person had to be there) so I’d miss my appointment and have to go grovel to the nurses because they had to deal with me after hours.
There was just not one ounce of empathy in that guy. I feel so sorry for whoever had to take over my role when I left.
#18 The Facebook ‘Friend’
I removed my manager from my Facebook a few months back, and she told everyone at work and asked me to re-add her. I removed her because out of the two years that I’ve worked there, I was late ONCE because of a car accident that happened directly in front of me. When I called to let her know I had to give my statement to the police, she told me it was unacceptable, and I need to be more professional.
Note: That’s still the only time I’ve ever been late, and I have NEVER called in sick. But my coworker comes in late at least twice a week. Cool story.
#19 The Flakey Faker Gets Away With It
I had an employer call me and another worker into his office. Apparently, there was a big mistake made on one of the client’s forms. The client was mine, but I didn’t recognize the handwriting on that particular form, nor did I have any recollection of making any arrangements with him. The other employee confesses that he had filed it “for” me, without my knowledge, and had clearly messed it up. He told our boss it was entirely his mistake, and that he was sorry to both me and the boss.
My boss responded by telling me I was being sent home and to spend the extra time thinking about what I had done. The other employee (who looked shocked) was told he was okay and to get back to work. I spent my “extra time” looking for a new job and quit the next day.
#20 That Confidentiality Clause Doesn’t Hold Water
I’m being fired tomorrow for making an HR complaint against my director. I guess meetings with HR aren’t confidential as I was told.
#21 They Stood Up For The Harasser
I worked for an employer where a supervisor was behaving inappropriately towards a female co-worker. She noticed that I witnessed his advances and inappropriate touching, so she asked for my help. I mentioned it to him and was blown off, so I brought it to his boss who said it was a non-issue. We ended up taking it to the General Manager who sent me home saying that my conduct was unprofessional. I was fired the next morning. The offending supervisor was deported a few days later for being an undocumented immigrant when the call center was raided by immigration.
From the description, you may think it was some horrible boiler-room marketing company, but it was ACS/Xerox, the same company that manages call centers across the country handling everything from student loans collections for the federal government to customer service calls for major companies. So yes, I guess it was some horrible boiler-room marketing company.
#22 Fetch And Carry Because I Said So
I had a nurse supervisor who would take advantage of me being a nice person by having me pick up her breakfast every day in the cafeteria since I was going over there for myself. Every day. She was lazy, and I was being taken advantage of. So one day I decided I wasn’t going to do it. When she came to bring me her money, I politely told her that I wasn’t buying that morning. It turned into an argument to the point of where SHE CRIED, and I said, fine, gimme your money, whatever, I’ll go get your breakfast. She walked away. Later, I was called into the director’s office, and she said I should have just got the breakfast for her. What the heck?
#23 Straight Up ‘Me Too’ Material
When I was 16, my boss called me to tell me that my super hot, much older co-worker said that I’d be the perfect guy for her if I were 6 years older. Then he spent the next 10 minutes telling me how I’m gonna get all the girls in college. “Alright, so I’ll see you on Saturday.”
“Uhm… okay… thanks, Aris…”
#24 A Completely Over The Top Reaction
this will be good to get it off my chest. I used to work as the head cook in a soup kitchen. One day, my supervisor called me into her office, closed the door, and screamed at me for fifteen straight minutes because one of my homeless volunteers had stored two boxes of cans in the incorrect closet.
Seriously, fifteen minutes of vein-popping, shrill, roid-rage shrieking.
#25 Sick Days? No Sick Days In The Workplace.
Got pneumonia. Got put on antibiotics which it turned out I was allergic to. Experienced anaphylaxis, so spent the night in the hospital and couldn’t come into work. My boss was the kind who would rather people come into work sick than not work, so he was displeased.
I missed four more days. On the second day, he called me up asking “if there was something [he] should know about” i.e., thinking I was missing work because of partying or something. I said no. He said I needed a note for every single day I missed, so each day I had to pull myself out of bed and go to a walk-in clinic to get a doctor’s note. Here in Canada, you have to pay for the doctor’s notes, but the doctor was just like “What? Your boss is a jerk” and would give me the note for free each day.
The day before I returned, my boss e-mailed me saying that I was missing an average of 1/4 work day (having missed 5 days for that month) and that sort of absenteeism was unacceptable, blah blah blah. Revoked my right to sick days, and from then on until I left the company a year later, I had to call his cell phone when I arrived in the office to the time stamp that I had arrived and prove I wasn’t being a lousy employee. If I didn’t call by like 9:01, (for example, if my phone was ringing off the hook when I arrived), he would start calling my cell phone/texting me angrily.
#26 Feeding Your Boss’ Bad Habit
I had to pick up Tylenol-1 for an employer (now former employer) from a pharmacy. I went there once per week for several months. Eventually the pharmacist asked me if I had an addiction problem.
I told my boss that this had happened, and they said, “Well you weren’t supposed to go to the same pharmacy every week! Of course they’ll figure it out if you do that.” It had not occurred to me before that point that my boss might have had a problem with opiates.
#27 A Bad Case Of Victim-Blaming
One Saturday night this past summer I woke up in an ambulance. Apparently I had been attacked while walking home from a wedding near my house, but I have absolutely no memory of it at all. I called out of work on Monday because I was super hurt, and my boss immediately started grilling me “How much did you drink? Do you blackout often? What were you wearing? Are you going to the news about this?” She went around to all the restaurants in the area – it’s a small town – to ask if I had been there that night.
The harassment about it was worse than the actual event because it lasted for weeks. She kept asking for more and more and more doctor’s notes to “explain” what I’d done, and taking away my responsibilities because I “couldn’t be trusted”. According to her, I should have been able to remember what happened and since I didn’t, it was obviously my fault. After about a month, I had to quit because I couldn’t go into work without having panic attacks. It sucks because I LOVED that job.
#28 Nobody Likes a Toucher
Had a co worker that was a great employee except for one thing. He was a toucher. He’d walk up behind girls that worked with us (mind you, this was a professional office setting), put his hands on their hips or shoulders and just, rub them, for lack of a better term. It didn’t stop there either, he’d lean in and whisper in their ears. Not only was he an Uncle Touchy Time, he was also a “close talker” (to the girls). He’d lean in as far as he could trying to see how close he could get his face to theirs. What made it even worse (if that’s possible) was that he was in his late 40s and a lot of the girls he was doing this to were in their mid 20s.
#29 Security Is Of The Utmost Importance
Someone (A) asked a friend (B) of a friend (C) to translate some classified documents for the city court. C said yes, but she didn’t speak the languages the documents were supposed to be translated to, so she asked someone else (D) to translate them. D asked my friend (E) to translate them. She refused. So, basically, these classified documents have been read by at least four people who should not have had access to them, AND the original person is getting paid by the city court to do a job they can’t do.
#30 A Real Michael Scott
One time we had a meeting with a rep from a new payroll service, and my boss asked me to sit in so I could learn how to use it. In the middle of the tutorial he interrupted the poor guy, pointed at the two of us and said, “You two would make beautiful babies. You should ask her out!”
I excused myself and later heard the guy ask my boss if we had an HR department and suggest to him that we hire someone for that. My boss was too stupid to realize that he (the rep I mean) was almost certain I would inevitably sue for harassment, which I did not because he was beyond broke. He regularly did things like this, and worse things but that was the first one to pop into my head.
#31 It’s Fun To Be At The YMCA
I worked at the YMCA for a while as an after school counselor. My immediate supervisor, D, would show up to work late and hungover. He’d skip appointments with my coworkers to go out drinking. When we’d have staff meetings to talk about the many problems at our site, he’d throw you under the bus in front of everyone and say stuff like, “Well, I never saw that problem.”
He didn’t hold interviews for new people, so we were constantly understaffed, and then he’d give us heat for not being in ratio (there was literally nothing we could do about it if we didn’t have enough counselors). But the one that beats it all: he was responsible for maintaining the site first aid kit. There were two: the one that we showed the inspectors when they showed up, and the “real” one that we actually used. The real one was typically empty.
#32 A Full-Blown Temper Tantrum
Worked in a big office space in the financial district of a big city. Very professional work culture. I was there as a co-op student. I was working when I hear a woman stomp past my cubicle huffing and puffing. She starts getting louder as she gets closer to the stairwell, which was about 15 feet from my desk. I look and she’s on the phone. She opens the door to the stairwell but instead of going in, she just stands there with the door open and starts going OFF to whoever she was talking to on the phone.
I’m talking full blown screaming, calling this person every name in the book, swearing like no tomorrow. The whole office can hear her. People start standing up. People were often on the phones at this place with important clients. Someone told her to stop and take it outside, that this was a workplace. Cue second temper tantrum. Then she stomped into the stairwell and we could hear her cussing out everyone on the floor. Never saw her again after that day.
#33 Out Of The Frying Pan, Into The Fire
When I worked as a hostess in a restaurant, our manager would try to give us back or neck rubs in front of customers. He also would come up behind us and grab our sides, trying to surprise us. He also hid my phone one day and thought it was hilarious. Supposedly he had been fired before for behaving inappropriately at a Christmas party, but for some reason he was hired back. Another one of our managers liked to wipe flour off my butt and joke about making out in the freezer and told me all the time he wanted to mud wrestle with me.
Now I am an accountant in a professional office setting. I had a coworker who loved to spit seeds loudly (and would spit them on the floor), put his feet up on his desk, shout at his wife on the phone and chew out random customer service people.
#34 Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
I was part of a 3 man team that started the sales department at a company. We became an Inc500 company in 2014 & 2015 (i.e. they were worth a lot of money) but we would mess around a lot every day. The partners had a “don’t ask don’t tell” concept but they weren’t ignorant to what was going on. A lot of the other employers, like underwriters, would get pissy with us but the beauty of a career in sales is you walk in the office every morning with a + or a – sign above your head. If it’s a + sign, then you’re making the company money. If you’re making the company money, it’s tough to justify firing you.
#35 He Ended A Promising Career
At a company offsite, a leader of a team of 100 got up on stage and proceeded to roast his team. I don’t know if he thought it was funny, or if he genuinely lost it, but it was a train wreck. He started with, “Jane, you are a terrible version of Rachel” and went on to “Joe, you are the worst sales person this company has ever seen,” followed by, “80% of you shouldn’t even be here. You are worthless.” He kept going for 5 minutes. He completely lost it, and lost the respect of his team. Prior to that he was considered one of the “high potential” employees but in 5 minutes of unprofessional behavior lost all the goodwill.
#36 No Boys Allowed
I worked at a locally owned small drive in for a little while in high school. It was owned by this older creepy looking man and only younger girls worked there (the entire staff was under 23) and most were relatively attractive. We all knew he was creepy but we got paid well for our age, work was mostly easy, and since it was just him running it we could easily screw around and not get in trouble.
About a month into working there a 16 year old boy came up to the window and asked if he could have an application. I went to the boss and asked him for one and he asked me how old the person applying was to which I told him “he is 16”. He raised his eyebrow when I said “he” and walked past me with the application and checked out the boy while handing it over.
After he was done, he handed back the application to me, I handed it to my boss who was behind me. My boss looks the boy in the eyes and rips the application to pieces and sternly says, “We don’t hire boys,” and walked away. My jaw dropped. We of course were under the impression he never hired males, but he had never out right said it.
This boss went on to be even more weird and creepy, including walking in on us in the bathroom because the door wouldn’t lock and standing there watching for way longer than someone who “accidentally” walked in. The horror stories I have of that place are unreal.
#37 An Awkward Ending
I handed my notice in last week and sent a long email to my managers saying thank you for their support during the time I’d been there. One of them replied back to the email talking ABOUT ME saying how she never thought I’d make it and how I’d timed it terribly and she was surprised I thought I could make travel plans etc. Basically ripping me to pieces.
Unfortunately, she forgot to copy me out of the email & I saw the whole thing, as did my other two managers and their boss. It’s made for a pretty awkward last month of work so far.
#38 What A Charmer
I was taking part in some office training and the trainers switched over between morning and afternoon. The morning guy was fine. Then, after the lunch break we were sat around waiting for the afternoon guy to come in. He was late – not massively late but enough to make people wonder if he’d show.
When he came in he apologized profusely, sat down on the trainer’s chair (making him the focus of all of us sat round in a semicircle) mumbled some excuses, then proceeded to eat an enormous BLT sandwich as fast as he could, while panting and dropping bits out of it down onto his large shirt-button-straining belly. It was a disgusting, seemingly endless and very unprofessional few minutes of awkward silence, punctuated by heavy breathing and fast eating noises. Nobody learnt much that afternoon.
#39 An “Ethically Challenged” Company
I was once asked to create fake business cards for a fake company so that we could fraudulently pretend to be from a firm that didn’t exist (this was early 2000s, so about the last possible moment before Google makes this plan go from ‘unlikely to work’ to ‘never going to work’). I was working at a management consultancy where several of the partners were, let’s say, ‘ethically challenged’, and we were doing competitive intelligence research on competitors of our client. The fake business identity was so that we could pretend to be potential clients and have a meeting with the competitors sales staff and hopefully pump them for information.
Thankfully, while I was stalling for time, because I really didn’t want to be involved in something this obviously dishonest, one of the other partners (who was based overseas and not so immersed in the deeply dishonest culture of the main office) got wind of it and shut that down as the obviously bad idea that it was.
#40 The Ol’ Taste Test
I had a summer job at a restaurant in a busy town square. One day, a customer called for my colleague, saying the ice tea that they had been given ‘tasted weird and fizzy’. Probably they just weren’t used to carbonated ice tea. Anyway, my colleague first responded that ‘the ice tea could not possibly be bad’. When the customers insisted they didn’t like it, she took the drink back to the kitchen to check it. Checking here meant that she had a big sip from the glass, and concluded it was ‘fine’. She then took the same glass back out again and gave it back to the customers saying she had better things to do than fix drinks that were perfectly fine.