Halloween Rerun: Real Life HR Horror Stories

When you’re an HR person, for the first few years everything is interesting and sometimes shocking. The longer you’re there the less shocking things become—because you’ve seen it before.

Someone’s watching porn in the office? Yep, time for a firing and disinfecting, but this person wasn’t the first and won’t be the last.

Someone made a racial slur in the break room? Time for training and a possible firing, depending on the situation. But, sometimes, there are things that shock even the most hardened HR employees.

Here are some stories from real people about horrible things they’ve encountered in the workplace. In some cases, HR fixed the problem. In other’s HR just made the situation worse.

Disciplined for Reporting a Problem

Thomas (all names have been changed), discovered vulnerability in his company’s cyber security. He fixed it and documented the fix. Another co-worker accused Thomas of hacking the system and causing the problem. As Thomas tried to explain what really went on, the boss proceeded to publicly rake him over the coals.

Thomas says, “That was the last time I reported a cyber vulnerability. I’m sorry to say, but it’s better to have the company attacked and taken down than go through that again.”

To read the other stories, click here: Real Life HR Horror Stories

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6 thoughts on “Halloween Rerun: Real Life HR Horror Stories

  1. This was very recent at a local northern California large professional business. Male sends female colleague a video of himself wanking off. They had no relationship. Female employee forwards it to HR vice president, upon the suggestion of her boss.HR VP responds — in writing — that she doesn’t have time to deal with this. She doesn’t delegate it, she just wants the young female to ignore it. Seriously. Not my employer. I relayed msg to go back to manager, then to VP’s boss.

  2. What I found as a common factor in these situations was the lack of professional response by the management who were the supervisors over the employees. Everything was passed on to the HR to deal with the situation. HR merely gives the guidelines in which business interaction is conducted. No one from the stories mentioned did any corrective actions to offset the problem. Maybe, I have the wrong idea, but I thought the supervisor’s role is to oversee and positively critique performances of their subordinates.–Take the case of Jordan, who had a good job skill performance but had problems interacting with others. Rather than finding a niche job which lessened her interaction or give her suggestions on how to react with peers, her supervisor just decided to push her into quitting. No information was given if other better methods of helping this individual who was long-term perceived as an asset. That situation is called cutting off your nose to suit your face ploy.

    1. It wasn’t Jordan who was having the interaction problems. It was her boss. The boss was jealous that Jordan was getting praise from higher-ups and pushed Jordan out.

      The higher-ups should have dealt with the boss’s behavior. My guess is that they did nothing because they saw her as an asset and were willing to put up with her bad behavior. I’ve seen this happen a lot. Employee is a rockstar at the actual work, but a butthead to everyone else. No one does anything because they’re so afraid of losing the rockstar. Well, an employee who is crappy to everyone is NOT a rockstar but a jerk. You’ll always lose good employees if you don’t take care of these situations, because nobody wants to work with a jerk.

  3. Ugh, that last one made me SO MAD!

    No one is indispensable. What if they died? You’d still have to replace them. They’re especially not worth keeping if they’re abusing staff and coworkers.

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