If you work for a company, chances are you work with other people, and when you spend hours and hours with others, there tends to be conflict. Enter HR employees, who must weather the storms of angry employees.
HR departments typically deal with issues such as dissatisfaction with pay or lack of communication from upper management. But sometimes the complaints are more interesting– a co-worker purposely stinking up the bathroom before another person uses it, someone losing it over a missing muffin, or unidentified fragrances in the office (that turn out to belong to the complainer).
40. The Ninja Poo Guy
My work has one men’s toilet. I had one coworker complain that another guy kept using the bathroom before him, and doing big ol’ poos. But the way he said it was like this guy knew when he was about to go, ninja’d in just before him, dropped a massive stinker and then forced the other guy to marinade in the smell when he went for a leak afterward.
We ended up adding a can of air freshener to the bathroom, and the next complaint that came in was the poo guy never used it.
39. That’s Not How It Works, Dude!
I’m no longer directly in HR but I do supervise that division. At times, in that role, I get called into particularly dicey situations. One of my favorites was many years ago. Although I am in a blue city, it’s a very red state. And at that time, nothing was gay-friendly. A guy was caught having “sexy time” in his county truck with a woman who was an employee in his department. He was reprimanded. He got caught a few weeks later, same act, same truck, a different woman from another department. Our HR rep was going to fire him. He begged and pleaded said he was drinking too much and would get help. We sent him to rehab, gave him a last chance agreement and a few weeks later, he came back bright-eyed, sober and ready to work.
He did a good job working for almost a year. Then he gets caught in his truck getting blown by some random dude. We brought him in and told him that was enough. His excuse, I kid you not, was that his reprimands and last chance agreement prohibited him from having “sexy time” on the job with women who were fellow employees. His excuse was that this wasn’t a fellow employee and it wasn’t a woman. What?!
38. Are You Crazy?
I was once asked to investigate a harassment situation where three different women were coming on to a male coworker throughout their shift. I took down the details, got the names, easy peasy investigation, or so I thought. A week later, I learned that nobody by these descriptions or names had ever worked for the company. I decided to talk to the gentleman again. After a lengthy conversation where things didn’t quite stack up, I asked him how these women communicated with him.
I kid you not, with a straight face, he looks me in the eye and replies “telepathically” like I’m some kind of idiot. I had never sent an employee for psychological evaluation up to that point and I hope never to have to again. So yeah I was asked by a delusional schizophrenic to conduct a harassment investigation on the voices in his head.
37. But… He’s The Boss
I was handed a handwritten letter from my boss, and he said, “I think you might need this.” The letter had been written by an employee, who let herself into the boss’s office and left it on his desk while he was out, complaining she was unhappy about how the staff were “mistreated and disrespected” because he often left during the day to “go shopping and get haircuts” (this rarely happened, probably not even once a month), and that she thought it was appalling that he left for a week over Christmas to see his family, while they weren’t allowed more than 3 days off over Christmas.
I had a meeting with her and literally had to explain that he is the owner of the company and can come and go as he pleases, that he works evenings and weekends when others don’t, and that the week off was the first time he had taken holiday in 8 months, unlike the rest of the staff who get 28 days throughout the year. She looked at me, expressionless, and said, “…And? I want a week off at Christmas. If he gets it, I should have it.” I told her that her complaint had been logged and that we’ll look into it. She walked out, relayed a different version of our conversation to a dozen employees and gossiped about the boss. She was gone within a month of the letter.
36. She’ll Do Everything For Food
My company is too small to have an HR, so it just falls on me. We used to have an A/R clerk who would snack at her desk all day long. We are a pretty casual, laid back company so it’s not a big deal as long as she was getting her work done. But, then it escalated to having food constantly being delivered: tacos in the morning, pizza at lunch, Chinese in the afternoon. It was bizarre and made it difficult for her to work when she’s eating full meals all day.
I was on the fence about saying something until she brought in an Instant Pot. She plugged it in and cooked a freaking pork roast at her desk, poured in BBQ sauce she brought and ate on it all day. I was dumbfounded; it was so strange. I pulled her aside the next day and told her how unprofessional it was. She was shocked and told me I was being unfair because I never specifically said no one was allowed to bring in an Instant Pot. She truly seemed genuinely surprised that she wasn’t allowed to do that. She scaled it down after that, but I sometimes wonder how much further she would have gone if I never said anything.
35. You Know What You Did
I was a manager and had to call our HR in on this one. We had a computer that was used by multiple people and a couple of girls complained that it had a virus and adult videos was always popping up when they turned it on in the morning. I decided to have look and see if someone was messing around on the closing shift so I looked at the security footage and lo and behold, one of the supervisors was watching adult videos and jerking off.
When we called him in, he didn’t deny it but said technically he didn’t pull his junk out, he just played with it in his pants so it’s not really that bad. The HR guy just looked at him and didn’t say a word until after what seemed like forever the jerker said, “So I guess I’m fired” and then walked out.
34. Men Needs Tampons Too?
Not HR, but I was on the management team at a 50-employee company. At our weekly management meeting, the production manager reported that he had a complaint from one of the male machinists that it was unfair that the ladies’ toilet had a free tampon machine, and the male toilets didn’t.
Apparently, he had bleeding piles, and he used tampons. Obviously, we refused his request and tried to avoid any further thought of it.
33. No More Turtles
I’m not in HR, but someone called HR on me. I work with a few people that aren’t that fluent in English. One of my coworkers was trying to explain to me what kind of tacos he ate and could not remember the word for stingrays. So he took my notebook and drew a picture of stingrays and wrote the word turtle. So it looked like this: crudely drawn stingray + the word turtle. He was not eating stingray/turtle tacos at work. He was telling me that was his favorite type of tacos to eat when he was at home. He is originally from Mexico and is in Iowa on a TN visa. Maybe in his coastal Mexican town, it is normal to eat stingrays and turtles. I have no idea, really. All I know is I couldn’t help him in the slightest when he asked me if I knew where to get stingray meat.
Anyways, a lady I work with went through my notebook and saw the picture of the stingray plus the word turtle. She called HR because she thought I was writing notes about her in my notebook. She said that horribly drawn stingray plus the word turtle meant that I want to punch her in the face because she is slow like a turtle. Definitely a reach. I didn’t get in trouble, I was just told by my boss that I’m not allowed to talk about turtles anymore in case it upsets her. I rarely talk about turtles, so this isn’t really a problem for me.
32. But It’s A Fact
A woman claimed that people were spreading rumors about her sleeping with coworkers. The investigation wasn’t even done yet when she moved in with one of the guys. The others showed me texts and nude pictures she had sent them.
And if that wasn’t enough, she followed me home from the bar one night “to make sure I was okay.” I shut my door in her face and the next day, she said I was too drunk and didn’t realize she was there. I had enough from everything else I didn’t even need to bring that part into the conversation with her supervisor.
31. Who’s The Poopitraitor?
My partner is in HR. Someone took a poop on the job site. He was given a photo complete with measurements. The people that complained wanted DNA testing done.
He’s still not sure why they measured it. Maybe so they can match the projectile with the butthole that fired it, or what?
30. Violating Her Muffins
One girl had an obsession with mini muffins. She brought a 12 pack with her to work three to four times a week and never labeled them as hers. She frequently left them on the “shared foods counter,” where it’s up for grabs to the whole staff.
One day, someone who was newer accidentally ate one of the mini muffins. Pandemonium followed. There was screaming, tears, thrown pastries and threats of physical violence. I had to complete a report explaining that the scuffle ensued because another woman had “violated her mini muffins,” and the whole time this woman is FUMING AND CRYING, like someone ate her firstborn child instead of a muffin.
29. He Doesn’t Want His PTO
I recently had HR tell me that one of my staff had been under-supplied in his annual leave over the past few years, and he needed to take at least ten days off over the next six months to correct the leave liability. Paid at a higher rate than usual to make up for the error, of course. He could take a two-week block or, say, a day off a week until he’d used the leave–his choice.
He was so enraged over being given extra paid holidays that he wrote to our General Manager to complain, screamed at me (his boss) “I know my rights!” and refused the leave or even to discuss why he wouldn’t take it. Anyway, I wrote his performance review this week and there are multiple goals about professional, respectful behavior that need to be reached in order for him to get a raise this year. Yeah, not so much. Oh, and he still has to take the ten days off.
28. “Not This Crap Again”
I’m not in HR but we had a guy in our office who suffered from some sort of medical condition. Because he wasn’t managing it well, he would poop his pants in the office. That was awful, but hey, he’s got a serious condition, so nobody wanted to take it to HR. Then, he started walking around the office while pooping his pants, which would cause the poop to fall out of his pants and onto the floor. We literally had to watch our step in order to avoid stepping in human feces.
The HR was (at our company) typically ineffective, so we started taking pictures of every poop pile and emailing it to every HR team member in our building. They eventually put him on disability.
27. The Body Odor
Someone complained about another employee smelling of rotten chicken and feet. The scent was bad enough that no one wanted to work with that guy around.
I had to put on hygiene fundamentals in the workplace presentation for that entire group since I couldn’t single out Smelly. I think he got the hint because he also got a haircut.
26. An Accommodation For Her Fashion Choice
You wouldn’t believe the headaches I received when management signed a new copier/printer lease which reduced the overall number of printers in exchange for centrally-located multiplex copiers. Evidently, people feel their social standing is signified by whether they have a printer (or two) in their office.
My favorite was an executive assistant who stated that, because she wears heels to work she couldn’t walk to the new copier and requested that a reasonable accommodation would be to replace the printer she had in her office.
25. No Sneezing Please
I worked in HR and my coworker hated me. She wanted someone else to get the job I did and she would complain about me to management for anything. The final straw for everyone was when I sneezed and she slammed her keyboard on her desk, basically ran out of the room and didn’t come back for 30 minutes.
The management called me in and said I was making too much noise. I told them I sneezed and they said she would complain about me every day so they didn’t believe her but had to make it look like they were doing something. She left shortly after.
24. Don’t Park Near My Car!
I was one member of a group complained about to HR. A former employer had a large parking lot and one guy who was very full of himself got a new car and took to parking away from everyone else. No problem with that, but then he’d brag loudly to everyone about how expensive his new BMW was (it wasn’t), and how he HAD to park it away from the “lesser cars” everyone else drove. So, a group of us started making a point of parking next to him, still within the lines, just next to him. So, he’d go out at break and move his car somewhere else in the lot, and we’d go out and move our cars to wherever he parked.
After a week or so of this, he apparently made a BIG stink of it to HR and wanted them to write us all up for parking next to his car. HR politely told him they weren’t going down the path of designating his car as one nobody could park next to (but, the HR lady did ask us to please stop as he was a headache for her to deal with).
23. He Felt Left Out
The classic story from our HR is they got a complaint from someone explaining that their co-workers were not including them on their image-sharing emails. The co-workers must have realized that the complaint would lead to questions and they asked for the complaint to be removed, leading to actual suspicion.
Very quickly, it came to light that several long-term employees were using work computers and work accounts to share specific inappropriate images back and forth all day at work. The employee that made the initial complaint simply wanted to be included because they knew they were being left out of something.
22. Scented Lotion Culprit
After 20 years in HR, I have too many to remember. The most recent was on Monday when an employee emailed me with a request to remind everyone to be careful with scented lotions. Her area reeked from something that smelled like Moroccan oil. These kinds of emails are alarming. Everyone gets paranoid, and I end up replying to 50 people that they smell fine and, yes, please keep wearing your deodorant. I told her that I would rather address it with the individual, so let me know who it was.
After literally sniffing our way through the cube farm, we discovered the smell was coming from her own desk drawer. We couldn’t find the stinky culprit, so she ended up throwing everything out. Case closed.
21. Mr. Know It All
Not me, but a family member. A department in my mom’s office decided to go out for a team get-together of dinner, drinks, and a pub quiz. The whole night was quite jovial. One guy apparently was a pub quiz wiz and knew all the answers. He wasn’t arrogant or being mean about it, but did take over slightly because some answers some people gave were beyond moronic. Their team got a perfect score and won every prize.
The next day, two people secretly complained to HR that he had embarrassed them and made the whole team look bad by being a “know it all.” When the team manager found out, his way of dealing with it was to always assign that guy some other work which meant he had to stay in the office and couldn’t attend any future team gatherings off-site. They were all terrible, the lot of em.
20. You Really Can’t Please Everyone
I’m not in HR, but someone called HR on me. So I used to work on an order packing line for a large distributor. If we had an issue with any equipment on the line, we weren’t permitted to correct it on our own. We were supposed to turn on a light similar to what you’d see over a cashier’s line in a grocery store, and one of the leads would come over to see what was wrong and fix it. Suddenly, I have an issue with my printer, and since I already caught hell for not following the procedure on it before, I figured I’d try to do as told so I didn’t get my wrist slapped again. Go to turn my light on, and imagine that, it doesn’t work either. I yelled the lead’s name to get his attention since we weren’t supposed to wander away from the line either.
The next day, I was called into HR for shouting the lead’s name. One of the clowns on the line beside mine didn’t approve of my shouting.
19. All For A Balloon
There was the balloon incident. The quality control manager in the customer relations department decided to come in early and put a balloon at the desk of every service rep who was taking above-average call volume. Within five minutes of the start of the shift, one of our worst-performing reps had complained that this was unfair. This is a union shop so she filed a grievance that some reps got an unfair bonus in the form of a balloon. The union contract is clear that all reps have to be treated exactly equally. The rep that handles 110 calls per 480-minute shift and the rep who handles the absolute minimum number of calls and refers half of them to a supervisor are equal.
The rep who filed the grievance got 30 minutes “union business” assigned that day and that means that her call stats for that day did not count. She got a free day so she could handle less than the minimum and she could claim that had she been on the phones for that 30 minutes then she would have made her target. To solve the grievance, the manager had to give a balloon to everyone. This is the kind of thing that makes people hate unions.
18. Sorry But We Don’t Do That Here
I work in HR and we had an employee walk out in the middle of the third shift, leaving one person alone to do all the work.
He came back a week later and asked us to “write it up like he’d been let go” because he wanted to file unemployment. Obviously, we wouldn’t do that.
17. A Total Pain In The Butt
I’m not in HR, but someone called HR on me. I told my coworker as professionally as I could that it wasn’t appropriate for her to be using her phone while at work, teaching kids (supposedly). She spent all her time on Facebook; little kids would be screaming and wailing on each other literally 10 feet away and she was totally oblivious. She complained by email to HR that I was rude and confrontational. They pulled me aside and told me to be more careful about how I spoke to coworkers. I told them my side of the story, and they spoke to her again.
She got a written warning, and they didn’t tell me what happened but I gather from office gossip that she lost it and started shouting at the HR staff. Rude and confrontational perhaps? Anyway, she’s on her final warning now and she has a habit of hitting on the married dads of our kids, involving children in adult matters (“Why hasn’t your mommy paid your fees yet? Don’t you want to come to daycare?”) and generally being an unprofessional self-absorbed pain in the butt, so…I can’t wait until she gets fired.
16. Cameras Don’t Lie
This story is from my wife; she has worked HR for 17 years. She is more on the legal side of HR for a huge national grocery chain. A guy employee gets written up for disappearing during shift. The manager and supervisors call him multiple times. The employee returns thirty minutes later like nothing happened. He did not have a valid excuse like “I was outside with a customer” or whatever… He files a union grievance and complaint. The union schedules an arbitration hearing at their offices so my wife has to make an hour drive to represent the company, and the store manager needs to be on hand as he issued the write-up. Normally, it would just be a “Fine, don’t do it again and we will come into the union.” But my wife found out that the property manager just had perimeter cameras installed.
My wife shows up to the meeting. The employee brings his mom even though he is 18 or 19 years old. The dude says he never heard calls for him to come to front. She explains that there are loudspeakers in the back dock area. He says he wasn’t there. She lets him keep talking then she opens her laptop and plays a video and asked the employee, “Is that you?” The dude goes white as on the screen he is seen lifting a local hooker’s skirt and making out with her. Turns out the guy’s girlfriend worked in a different department at the same store and was there that same day. He ends up quitting, and his girlfriend broke up with him.
15. Hey, “Guys!”
Not HR but I got called to HR. This was back around 1989 or so. I was 23 or 24 years old at that time and was supervising a group of about six people (four men, and two women). Every morning I’d have a meeting with them before the day’s tasks started, and every morning I’d start with “Hey, guys!” or “Good morning, guys…”
One of the women complained that I was “ignoring” her and the other woman by calling the group “guys.” So I switched to “folks.”
14. The Queen Of All Nonsense
One of the managers I worked for got reported to HR for a girl’s constant dress code violations. The employee who got him in trouble had lime green hair, came to work in a black button-up that came from Hot Topic, and black jeans. She had piercings in her nose, mouth, and more than six on her ears. The manager was chill about it, though. His rule was as long as you do your work, you are fine. She didn’t do her work well, though. She was always online gossiping about something and bragging about something. If she would accidentally send an email to the whole company (which often happened), she would shout in the office, “PLEASE DON’T READ IT.” The final nail in the coffin for her dress code violation was when she tattooed the word “EFF CIS” on her hands. The manager told her it wasn’t appropriate, and she reported him to HR. The actual HR complaint about the manager has painted him as a racist, a slave driver, a cruel harasser, a Christian, and possibly a Trump follower. (We have no politics at the office since it just leads to drama.)
The HR personnel took her big list of violations that she had accused of in that week. The biggest one was harassment. The complaint to HR was serious, but since they were so serious, without evidence other than him asking her to please do her job — it went nowhere. Ever since then, HR would get receive a few complaints from her a day such as: He is playing Trump’s speech in the office; he is reading out hate-speech; he is trying to convert our non-Christians to Christianity; he is creating a hostile work environment for women; he is mansplaining things to other female co-workers; he attacked someone. The HR is so sick of her nonsense that at this point, any citation against her will probably lead to her termination. We don’t know how she maintains a job here because it was revealed that she has no idea what she is doing when she works and most of the time after finishing work, we spend most of our time fixing hers.
13. Taking Notes Is A Big No No
I was the one who was complained about and subsequently fired from a temp job. I was on my way to work and the temp service called me and said I was being let go for “being sneaky and writing things down.” I had been there for four days and was in training. I tend to lean over my notebooks when I write and I was trying to write down everything they were telling me, but apparently, that was a big no-no and it bothered them that they couldn’t see what I was writing.
For the record, they never asked me to either show it to them or stop writing like that. I was pretty mad. It was dumb.
12. Still Waiting For The Boat
We didn’t have HR at the shop I worked at (it’s a small company, plus it’s retail so nobody cares about worker’s rights) but I was the Union Rep for my store which is similar. I had a complaint from one of my colleagues who had requested a transfer to another store and our manager laughed at her and refused her request when she told him why. Her reason behind wanting a transfer? “I want to get a transfer to the countryside to get away from all the Syrians who are coming over on the boat.”
When I asked her “What boat?”, she replied “the Syrian boat with all the immigrants on. It was in the Sun (horrible tabloid paper); didn’t you see it?” She was in her 20s and not the brightest crayon in the box. I said I’d follow up her complaint but knew it wouldn’t go anywhere. She’s still in the same store four years later and that boat still hasn’t arrived. Funny that!
11. Old Guy vs. Fat Lady
I was called into HR a few years back. I was working at a machine and am known for having experience and knowledge of the factory. A female supervisor was trying to answer a question for one of the new people in the section. At some point, she waved to me and tried to get my attention. Since I was in the middle of a setup, I wasn’t paying attention to her; rather, I was making sure I wasn’t cutting my fingers off while I set the punch and die in the machine. As I finished and pulled my hands away, I heard her call loudly to me “Hey old guy!” I think she thought she was being funny as she was probably 20 or 25 years younger than I am. I looked up from my machine, looked right at her and asked, “Are you referring to me?” She said, “Yeah, where is [blah, blah, blah] located? This guy needs [whatever].” I answered, “It’s down aisle six, top shelf, fat lady.”
Once in HR, and with a union rep sitting quietly in the corner, I didn’t say anything as I was being counseled for being rude and disrespectful toward the new supervisor. The HR read the complaint to me and was surprised I acted that way because I had no other black marks on my record in the six years at the company. The complaint neglected to say she referred to me as “old guy.” When asked why I said what I did, I said “I thought it was a new policy. She called me “old guy” and I’m old, so I called her “fat lady” because she is fat.” The HR then called in the supervisor and the young lad she had with her at the time. She admitted she called me “old guy” but said calling her a “fat lady” was way worse and out of line. The HR dismissed the complaint, and the new kid and I were told to go back to work. We found the new supervisor was fired. The union rep demanded it and HR agreed.
I was the one being complained about. A patient had asked if it was okay to remove her IV fluids because she was going home. She was one of those people who was very convinced that if we took her fluids out, she would die. (She was admitted for the common cold, and uses her insurance to pay like this so she didn’t have to spend a dime.)
Anyway, I told her that, “It’s okay ma’am, we’re just running “regular saline water” through your IV. No more meds. You can go home today and we can take that out.” I got a notice from HR the next day saying I wasn’t using proper medical terminology for IV fluids. The HR didn’t do anything; they just tossed the complaint at me without asking questions.
9. The Phantom Pooper
Not me but my mom. So my mom has worked in HR 20+ years and one time, she had to deal with a woman who would smear her poop all over the bathroom walls on a different day each week.
She must have been a real thorough hand washer because it took longer than you’d expect to find her and she was immediately fired.
8. The Saga Of The Boots
Not HR, but I got to witness “the saga of the boots” recently as a part-time peon. The background is the company I work for has delivery drivers and since they will be visiting construction sites, it provides work boots for them. In-store employees have to provide their own footwear within the dress code. We had hired a female driver and ordered the smallest size of boots our supplier had available, and they did not fit her. One of our part-time drivers encouraged our in-store assistant manager to try the boots on for herself and see if they fit, which they did. The part-time driver then encouraged her to take them. So the assistant manager took the boots. The manager noticed this and told her that well he didn’t really care about the boots, since they were just going to sit on used anyway, that she should not wear them to work because the employees under her did not have footwear provided by the company. Her defense was that one of the part-time drivers who told her it was okay, but the manager thought he had gotten through to her eventually.
The next time he saw her wearing them at work, she explained that she had cute boots for at-home use and that these would be perfect for work use. He reiterated that it was unacceptable for her to be wearing them at work, so she emailed HIS boss looking for back up. The boss’s boss almost immediately called her and explained to her that he could actually fire her for what she had done. He used a specific analogy to explain why it wasn’t okay, and shared the analogy with the store manager at a regularly scheduled meeting they have the next week. The store manager then reiterated that specific analogy to the assistant manager the next time the topic of the boots came up (yes, it was still a point of contention). She took this consistent messaging from two levels of management as a sign that she was being ganged up on, and tried to go over the district manager’s head, going to both regional management and HR about it. This ended in an official write-up that she thought was just so unfair, never mind her ignoring instructions from not just her boss but her boss’s boss too. She has since left the company.
7. Two Hours Of Poop Talks
We had someone send in a complaint that other women shouldn’t poop at work because both the poop and the spray stinks. Apparently, this leads to all of our officers and managers having a two-hour discussion on poop. It was not our brightest moment.
We also had someone a few weeks later put a dead cow in our giant garbage bin. I’m not sure if it was an employee or someone who lived nearby, but either way, it caused LOTS of issues.
6. The Lazy Guy
Not an HR rep but I work in the produce department with this lazy guy. He will complain to HR about anything and everything. We had a new team lead start and he’s trying to get everyone to work a little harder, make a name for himself and whatnot. So one day, the lazy guy is filling apples but doesn’t go through them or rotate. The team lead comes up and asks if he rotated and he said yes. The team lead asks, “Then why are there cold apples on top of warm ones?” (Newer apples obviously came from the cooler). The lazy guy literally drops the box in his hand and rushes upstairs to HR. Mind you, this guy would cry to HR at least once every other week. It’s always about stupid stuff so they never really tell him what he wants to hear. They just spend time listening to his problem and say they will talk to the people responsible. They never follow up because no one is doing anything HR worthy, besides him wasting company time.
Also, he was once on the sales floor digging for gold in his ear and a customer wrote a complaint to corporate. He tried to go to HR about our manager for showing him the complaint and saying that his ear itched and what was he supposed to do. They told him obviously go to the bathroom, itch and then wash your hands. You’re working with food for God’s sake.
5. A Potential Red Flag
Complaint on me, when I was an HR generalist: I work in an industry where we can have a real problem with certain groups coming in and making trouble (cough animal rights groups cough) and I was doing all of the hirings for the location at the time. I had one lady come in for a tour of the facility as part of the pre-hiring screen. She was late, which automatically disqualified her from going, and I brought her into the office to inform her that I would be rescinding her tour offer. Cue a sob story about just getting off the bus from New York. I asked why she was coming all the way down here, and she said she was looking for a job after graduating college. I said, “Oh, congratulations. What was your degree?” And she said, “Criminal justice.” These are all textbook red flags for hiring because it’s super not related to our industry in any way.
So I documented everything, firmly told her I’m afraid that you were late, so you are unable to proceed with the hiring process at the time. She tries to argue with me but I stay firm, and escort her out. A few minutes later, she calls the HR number and gets me on the phone. She doesn’t recognize my voice until I tell her the same “Well, you were late” so she demands to be transferred up the line so she can complain about me. I send her to my boss, who had his door cracked listening to the entire conversation about her sob story, all the red flags, etc. I got an email that was sent all the way up to VPs saying what a good job I did handling a potential red flag.
4. Do Your Job
I was once summoned to HR. When I got there, one of my employees was already sitting in the head HR lady’s office with a “What the heck, really?” look on his face. The HR lady goes into a diatribe about how this employee is a chauvinistic pig that doesn’t respect women and thinks he is better than all women. On and on about just how awful this guy is. The employee was my lead software developer and was awesome at his job and a great guy otherwise.
Turns out, the HR lady had asked him to write a spreadsheet full of formulas to calculate Open Enrollment dollar values for withholding based on all the available options and individual pay rates. He told her that “I can help, but I’ve got this payment gateway project that’s due and don’t really have a ton of time. Can I just show you how to get started instead?”, and that’s how the argument started. My response was: “OK employee, you can leave. Thank you.” then I told her that if Excel didn’t open, that’s IT. Custom sheets with formulas and pay data for employees, that’s HR and that I could recommend some resources for learning Excel. That brat was constantly trying to get IT to do her job for her.
3. Mrs. Hookah
Not HR but I talk to people so I know a few stories. Here’s my favorite in terms of how ridiculous it is. The HR director found hookah in the women’s bathroom; it wasn’t hidden or anything, it was just there in the plain sight on the floor. Turns out one employee is addicted to smoking hookah and she brought it on her first day of work. She then demanded to be allowed to smoke hookah in the bathroom but they came to the agreement that she can take a break every day to go out and smoke it in the nearby hookah place if she wants to.
A little background: I work in IT in Ukraine. IT specialists here make good money, and they are also spoiled due to high demand. So people complain about all sorts of stupid things all the time– like free lunches are served in containers they don’t like, or elevator needs an AC and etc.
2. Two Degrees Warmer Is Too Hot
My mom works in an office building made of concrete. There’s a lady there that keeps the temperature at 70°F in the summer. For reference, this is in the U.S. Deep South, so it’s pretty commonplace for the weather to be about 80-90°F for half of the year. During July-August, however, the heat index reaches about 105-110°F due to the insane humidity. In the office building, due to the concrete, it gets way colder than 70°F actually feels. Plus, there are vents pointed at just about all the cubicles. I’ve gone to visit my mom and seen her with a space heater, a jacket, and pants on. Sometimes I’ve even seen her in gloves. She’s by no means a small woman that would be susceptible to cold either. It’s pretty ridiculous to have to dress for winter at your office when outside it’s hotter than heck. Anyway, the woman leaves for lunch so my mom turns the AC up two degrees so that it wouldn’t be so cold for a little while.
As soon as the woman comes back, she starts throwing a fit and yelling about how they should just be expected to burn up and boil alive. She complains to the bosses a few times, but they don’t do anything because it’s pretty petty and only 72°, which isn’t unreasonable. She makes a complaint with HR and my mom is called in. She fears the worst because HR is pretty bad at her work. They end up laughing about it. Well, the woman doesn’t like that, so she starts threatening to go to the owner of the company. Nothing has happened yet, but I’d personally love to see what happens when you complain to the owner of the company about two degrees on the thermostat.
1. Two Dumb Situations
It’s a small business so I’m everything and for the most part, the HR stuff is “I reported you to labor and this is why.” The dumbest one ever was for not paying overtime. He worked 35 hours for me, and 20 hours somewhere else… not my business. Apparently, he felt he was entitled to 15 hours of overtime pay. I had to spend a day with labor showing them three years of timesheets.
The second dumbest was when I had an employee who repeatedly made a serious mistake, but it was so simple. You could really only make it by being negligent. Anyways, I thought I might have trained him poorly, so for a few weeks, every time he made a mistake, I pointed it out and showed him how it should have been done— always one on one. I won’t even pull someone aside if anyone else is around. So this guy reported me for bullying because every time I pointed out his mistake, “it made him feel less of himself.” The labor didn’t bother with that one, so I started writing him up and he quit two weeks later.