Firings At Your Workplace--Any Horror Stories?

I’ve seen a few people fired in my years and some of them didn’t take it particularly well. The one common theme I can recall is that they all stormed out furiously muttering a variation on the notion that “They can’t DO this” or “I’m gonna sue this place into the ground!” Needless to say, they remained quite fired and no lawsuit was ever initiated.

How 'bout your place of employment? Any horror stories about people who were ‘made redundant’ and didn’t very much like it?


Back in my college days, I had a lousy job in a retail clothing store. A new manager got hired because she “looked good” (as in trendy and dressed right for the store.) She was a total airhead - a dairy cow would have faired better counting the till – and on days when she wasn’t there, we’d have to carefully go over the receipts and send corrections to the head office.

She’d make mistakes like process a return as a sale - so if someone returned a $200 suit, it would look like our till was out $400. As a result of her blunders, she and the head office decided that the shortfall in the till was due to employee theft! One of us must be stealing from the register.

The next time it happened, she narrowed it down to the one employee who had had the misfortune of working both days that the “thefts” occured. She was fired.

She waited in the alley after work and when the bubble-headed manager came out, a catfight/brawl like no other erupted on the street! Manager got the worst of it and came in to work with quite the shiner.

The rest of us quit within a month or two because the manager kept screwing up and we didn’t want to be the next innocent schmoe with “terminated for theft” on our work records. Ex-employee did a Bad Thing, but secretly we applauded.

This isn’t an employee drama. Rather, and employer screw up.

One of my previous office’s would reset the access codes to the building whenever anyone was fired. They would only do it right after the person was terminated and wouldn’t let anyone know the new code till that person was gone. So if you came back from lunch and couldn’t get into the office, you knew someone had got the axe!

One day, they really got their timing messed up. An employee was supposed to be let go around noon, but went to lunch before he could be called in for the talk. He was returning with some co-workers and they found they couldn’t get in. They called the receptionist in to open the door for them and she said “you can all come in except for ‘Bob.’ I can’t let you in since you’ve been let go.” (She didn’t know he hadn’t yet been told.) He thought she was kidding at first. It ended up with him begging to be let in at least to get his personal items from his desk.

It was awful for everyone, and “Bob” was on the brink of tears. I wasn’t there. But many of my co-workers had to watch him being escorted by security into his boss’s office to get the firing talk and then being brought to his desk to clear it out. I lost a lot of respect for our managers that day and left soon after. I never understood why that stupid company had to let everyone go around noon. Why not do it first thing in the morning? Is one half day of work going to make that much difference?

Well here are my 2 drachma’s…

About 4 years ago we were trying to impliment a new Human Resourse system for Y2K. It was way over budget and way over time. In the Spring of 2000 the system was still not running.

Anyway it was a beautiful spring day and I was heading out for lunch. I rode up the elevator with the manager of the H/R project and I said “on a day like today a guy shouldn’t be working!”.

2 hours later there was an announcment that he was fired that day!

Boy did I feel like a dick!


I worked for a company that had several hundred employees in one facility. There was a policy that before a new opening was advertised to the public, it had to be posted internally on a bulletin board so that a current employee could apply first.

One day this guy Eric sees a job on the bulletin board that is an exact description of his job. He has a complete freak out because he thinks that he’s being replaced. He decided to get some revenge so he goes into Shipping and Receiving and smashed a few brand new expensive microscopes that had just arrived.

It turned out that a totally different department from his needed a new employee to do a similar job. He wasn’t getting fired at all.


The last company I worked for (a dot bomb) always called company wide meetings immediately after layoffs, so they could explain to the survivors that this was the last layoff, (really, we mean it this time), things were turning around, same old, same old…

One day a company wide meeting was announced. As the huddles masses were herded into the meeting room we were treated to the sight of our HR manager speaking frantically to the CEO.

It turns out she couldn’t get around to laying the folks off. Why? It was BRING YOUR KID TO WORK DAY! Several of those to be laid off had brought their children in. The meeting was canceled. Everyone who got scheduled for a meeting for their boss the next day knew what that meeting was about. A general cluster f*** I was laid off 6 months (and two more rounds of layoffs) later.

At a previous job, I was out on the sidewalk when I heard a loud crash, then watched as a computer monitor crashed onto the sidewalk. Some guy on the tenth floor had been fired, then was left alone in the manager’s office to complete paperwork. But I didn’t work for that company, so I never got the full scoop. (Anyone work at Green Tree financial in Saint Paul in 1991? I’d love to know more!)

Wife worked for a company that was having a large meeting at a Hyatt. Everyone came dressed to the Nines, expecting a lecture and then a good lunch. Everyone was given a large nametag as the entered the lecture hall.

Well, the Speaker comes on stage and tells the audience that the company hadn’t done all that well that year. He read a list of names and asked those people to stand. They were all fired. Security was there to usher them out of the building and their office accesses had already been terminated. The way she told me it was “I hope they made friends, cause thats about the only way they’d get their possessions out of their desks.” Company cars were also confiscated from them, leaving some of the Fired looking for ways home.

They did this to every person on the list Save One: He had refused to put on his nametag, so security couldn’t ID him. The lesson I took away from this was to never wear nametags provided at company events…

At my last employer, I had a daily errand to run to the bank and the post office.

One day I come back, and my boss comes into my office. He says, “I’m leaving now.” I was puzzled, thinking he was taking an early lunch. Turns out they had fired him while I was out, and I guess were nice enough to let him say good-bye to me.

A similar thing happened to another manager…technically, he was also my boss, and he came in my office sobbing, because we were pretty good friends.

Nothing very bloody, just out of the blue and very sad.

I’ve always hated mass, public firings. How cruel and humiliating.

Jesus. Until reading this thread, I had no idea that they even happened. That’s just… completely f’ed up.

This woman was fired at a telecommunications company I worked at circa 1998. For some reason, she was told she was being let go, but she could clean out her desk and close her programs out sans supervision.

Before her final 10 minutes were up, this woman sent out a company-wide e-mail.

I really, REALLY wish I still had the copy of the e-mail she sent out that day. Not only was it brutally vicious and mean-spirited, it also included the salary figures for every executive and manager in the building. It included allegations of executive fraud and theft, and several mentions of impropriety and sexual misconduct at the company. :eek:

The e-mail had obviously been composed some time before, because it featured different sized fonts, colors, etc. This was an e-mail that had been fussed over and refined to the 100-megaton zinger it was.

We were all told to Shift-Delete the e-mail immediately, and anybody forwarding it would be reprimanded. I think about 1% of us deleted it, the rest of us kept it around.


A woman at my previous employer was fired one day and given time to pack her belongings before being escorted out. I (and others) watched from a distance as she carefully placed personal photos, small trinkets, and her seat cushion in a box and then hefted the box out to her car with seeming ease. I learned later that she filed a workman’s comp claim, stating that she hurt her back carrying her box of shit to her car. Later, she filed a sexual harassment suit against the company because she happened to overhear a couple of managers a few months prior cracking dick jokes as she walked past an office. The company settled on both cases.

Another time, a guy (a real hothead) I worked with was fired because he had an attendance/attitude/drinking problem. He went around to several people (including myself) and told them he wanted to talk to them and would be waiting in the parking lot after work. Naturally, there were a lot of nervous & concerned people, with the only “security” the company providing being a 65+ year old rent a cop on premises. When it was qutting time for me, I looked out the window, and sure enough, he was sitting there in his beat up Camaro watching the door. So a couple of us left together in case we had to gang up and beat the shit out of him if things got out of hand. Turns out, they guy was already plastered and just wanted a few of us to go drinking with him some more.

I had to fire one of our more hopeless employees.

At the firing meeting, he alternated between weeping almost hysterically, and enraged insults directed at me and the company president.

While he was carrying on, the HR guy went out and filled up a box with everything in his desk and cube, brought it back, and dropped it on the desk in front of him. The guy turned off the hysterics like a light switch, picked up his box, and I escorted him out of the building.

Five months later, a company he was interviewing with called me. He had listed me as a reference.


I once saw an employee hauled out in handcuffs. It turns out he was surfing kiddie porn on his work PC.

I have no direct experience with these kind of stories, although I have seen and been affected by layoffs in the past. They were civilized, and while unwelcome, were conducted with dignity for all involved.

But my father would tell the story of a woman who was fired from the office where he worked. Seems she was told she was being let go, and then allowed to clean out her desk. This went pretty smoothly, and whoever was escorting her took her to the elevator, and said goodbye, good luck, those sorts of things.

At that point, the woman apparently went ballistic. She started screaming; quite upset, and went completely out of control. No amount of reasoning would get her to be quiet and leave; it was met with screamed insults and profanity. And then she started trying to destroy everything in the reception area. The police were called, and when she wouldn’t leave quietly with them but continued her attacks on reception area furniture while calling everybody in the company every name in the book, they took her out in handcuffs.

I don’t know if charges were laid. I think the company was glad just to get her out of there.

Quietman1920, that experience was indeed cruel and humiliating. How can an employer pull a stunt like that in good conscience? And how could they expect good morale from the remaining employees after doing that? I don’t know if those who were let go at this event could launch any sort of action, but I hope they at least looked into it.

I just remembered a layoff story…

There was a fairly large layoff at my company and everyone on the list who was there was informed. A company wide email went out with the list of those affected. There was one problem. One guy on the list was not informed. He was up in San Jose at the customer site on business.

That afternoon we had to sit through a conference call. He was up with several engineers at the customer facility and we were in a room back home. All of us knew he would be fired as soon as he came in the door. We had to carry through the telecon even to the point of him taking action items. It was dreadful.


A guy who has the neat idea of firing certain employees during a large meeting.

A guy who has the neat idea of firing certain employees on Bring Your Kid To Work Day.

A manager dumb enough to fire someone, then leave the fired one alone in his office for ten minutes.

An employee dumb enough to surf ANY kind of porn on his work computer, much less ILLEGAL porn.

These are among the people I am not smart enough to understand. Either that, or not DUMB enough. NONE of these things strikes me as a real smart idea, and durned if I can see why even the most draconian or stupid person would do ANY of them.

Doesn’t mean they don’t happen, though. But as soon as I heard of these things happening, I think I’d be looking for another job. Safest way to not get caught in the explosion is to be a few miles from Ground Zero when it happens…

When I worked in fast food about 15 years ago, one of the managers there was a real bitch and everyone hated her. A few days after she fired an employee, she came into the building one morning before opening, being the only one there. The fired employee had broken in through the roof and was waiting for her to come in. He attacked her, duct-taped her to the chair in the office, cut the phone line and then seized her car keys and took it on a joyride across town. Her car was found in a ditch a couple days later. I’m surprised this manager continued working there after this incident.

I used to work for an excavation company that was owned by a pretty short-tempered guy. He was a great guy to work for if you were conscientious and not lazy, but he had absolutely no patience for people who repeated mistakes or who didn’t take responsibility when they screwed something up. In those instances, he sometimes went a little over the top language wise, and he could be pretty insulting in the heat of the moment.

One day he fired one of the operators on the job site, blasting with both barrells. The operator climbed down from the machine, calmly walked to his truck, picked up a shovel, and proceeded to chase the owner on foot around the job site until he was stopped by a couple of the other guys. The owner has since become a little more resepctful while dealing with his employees.