We’ve all had to deal with difficult coworkers. You can bring it up with HR and if you’re lucky they’ll listen. We’ve compiled stories of people being a hazard to themselves and others at the workplace. Buckle up for the ride you’re about to experience because these stories have it all — outrage, shock, and even amusement.
1. Don’t Mess With It
I went to HR to report that my team's manager was illegally shorting all of our paychecks. HR's response was to adopt a new, company-wide policy addressing the paycheck issue and back-paying most people for a certain amount, and also to frame me for work avoidance.
HR and IT disabled part of my login account to a tool we used, and then fired me a few months later after failing to fix the problem and allowing me to actually do my job.
They tried to deny my unemployment claim afterward. Told the unemployment rep that they "had logs" showing that I did something to break the tool I don't even have access to break in the first place.
They also didn't think to disable my email access in a timely manner, so I was able to back up all my emails with IT documenting exactly what went down. Unemployment approved my claim and hit them with a major penalty to their insurance.
2. Excel’s Not For Everyone
Overall I've been able to get along with HR departments with one exception. I was working a help desk job for a company during college and the head of HR called in for help. He was making an Excel spreadsheet and couldn't figure out how to make a formula do what he wanted.
I offered to come take a look as we were in the same building and he told me I couldn't because the spreadsheet was full of confidential information. So I asked if he could describe what exactly he was trying to do without giving away any specific info, and he told me that what he was trying to do was confidential.
So I clarified that he wanted me to tell him how to do something but I couldn't see it and he wouldn't even tell me what it was he was trying to do. At that point, he agreed that I wouldn't be able to assist him since he couldn't divulge anything. As soon as we hung up he called my boss to complain that I was useless.
3. Avoidance At All Costs
I am on the HR team that supports a wide variety of US cities for our company, including our colorful Florida locations. This is the best story I heard.
We had some woman trying to avoid doing work by sitting out in her car in the parking lot. While she was hiding out there, she needed to use the restroom. Well, instead of going back inside (or doing literally anything else) she decides to pee out her car window.
Even though I am also a woman, I was impressed and disgusted by the physics behind this feat. She had stuck her bare behind outside the window and just went for it. Unbeknownst to her, her male co-worker had arrived at work late due to an appointment.
He drove past to find a parking spot as this was happening and got a full view. He then reported the incident to us.
One of our HR people had to investigate this, and sure enough, parking lot cameras could corroborate his story. Our HR person confronted the woman. Her response: "Well how did he know it was me?? It could have been anyone." We thought, ok fair enough. The cameras aren't CSI-grade zoom, so we only saw the butt part. It was harder to completely identify the face. So we went back to the male peer and asked how he knew it was her. His response?
"Oh, it was definitely her. The face tattoos are pretty recognizable."
We definitely don't get paid enough for this.
4. Ready To Burn
A few years ago I was a kitchen manager at a place in Charlotte, NC. I don't know if it is common knowledge or not, but substance use in kitchens is very common, and most of the time accepted. That being said, I had a line cook who had come in, tweaked out on cocaine. He came to me and explained the situation, apologized and asked if he could run somewhere and come in a little later in "better shape." It was slow, and most of the prep was done so I said he could have an extra hour.
He came back 45 minutes later and calmed down, stopped shaking, and had a grin on his face. He was one of my better line cooks, so I was glad to see that I didn't have to reprimand him.
We begin the dinner service and everything is running smoothly when I look across the line and he begins to look as if he's falling asleep while working the grill. He assured me that he was fine.
Fifteen minutes go by and I see him collapse, landing with his face and arm on the grill, HE DIDN'T EVEN WAKE UP. I ran across the kitchen and pushed him off, his skin literally melted to the grill. As he hits the ground, he wakes up and simply says "Goddamnit! Chef, may I go to the hospital?"
The smell was horrific. At 7 PM on a Friday night, we closed the restaurant, opened all the doors and windows, and cleaned up the mess. (We bought new plates for the grill, don't worry). As I'm doing my order for the next day around 10 PM, he comes back in, bandages up, and says "Chef, can I help with anything?"
Astonished, I couldn't reply. And he continued to explain that he went to his dealer's house and got a "ton of oxycontin" and snorted it so he could calm down and just nodded out. "But it's okay they gave me morphine so I can still work, and I'm an idiot so don't worry about workers comp, I just want to still have a job."
Two weeks later he returned to work, sober, and hasn't touched a drug or had a drink since. I arranged so that his hospital bills were paid, but he had no paid time off. One of the best employees and craziest people I will ever meet.