Skip To Content

    I'm Genuinely Disgusted By The Corrupt And Abusive Actions Of These 22 Workplaces

    This is unacceptable.

    We recently shared stories from members of the BuzzFeed Community who worked in toxic, and in many cases, unethical, workplaces. As if those stories weren't jarring enough, we also received a number of submissions about the immoral and illegal activity people witnessed while on their jobs. Here are the most shocking and upsetting stories:

    pam beesly crying into her hands at her desk

    1. "I worked at a pet supply store. I was responsible for the live animals they had there. The animals were kept in truly awful conditions. They’d put too many animals into the same small enclosures so they’d start to attack each other. Once when an animal had a wound, they tried to get me to put it in the freezer to kill it because it wouldn’t sell! I refused and notified the SPCA, but they did nothing to stop it. I quit after they found someone else willing to do the horrible work."


    2. "I was a receptionist for a urologist at one of his two offices. There was another receptionist for the other office. The doctor and his nurse saw patients in both locations on varying days. The nurse went on maternity leave, and rather than shell out money for a temp, the doctor asked the other receptionist and me to help him out in the exam rooms. I figured he wouldn’t ask us to do anything that we weren’t properly trained for, as that would put his practice at risk. I performed lab tests, gave injections, and assisted with biopsies, ultrasounds, and stent retrievals. One day, the doctor pulled the other receptionist and me aside and told us that we were not allowed to tell patients that we weren’t really trained nurses. That set off my warning light, and I quit."

    "the doctor pulled the other receptionist and me aside and told us that we were not allowed to tell patients that we weren’t really trained nurses" over a stressed nurse

    3. "I worked at a convenient store when I was 18. It was for a full-time position, but I was scheduled at 38 hours so I wasn't able to receive benefits or a better pay. I was always called to work when someone else called in, but my boss would change my schedule so I still wouldn't get 40-plus hours for the week. I got into a car accident on the way to work one snowy day, and my boss called my mother to see if I was lying. That phone call was how my parents actually found out about the wreck. I was on the phone with my coworker when it happened, so she notified our boss. My boss contacted me and said, 'We still need you to come in, so we'll see you soon.' I quit a few months later when I finally found a better job, and my boss was mad when I did."


    4. "There were three very clear red flags at my last job. First, when I was promoted to management, the salary they offered me was actually a pay DECREASE. I fought for it to be changed and got it, but definitely thought, 'This is worrisome.' The next red flag: I took a sick day, and after the next team meeting, my boss took me aside and said, 'I notice you take a sick day every month. Do you have some sort of medical condition I should know about?' Not only is that NOT OK to ask, but my previous sick day had been three months prior. My thought at the time was Oh, I'm going to have to leave this place. Then, a few months later, we got a policy update that quietly removed a form of compensation. We had an on-call rotation, and our compensation for being available 24/7 was a day off afterward. This new policy removed the day off. That's when I realized, Oh, I'm going to have to leave this place NOW."

    "When I was promoted to management, the salary they offered me was actually a pay decrease" over a stressed worker

    5. "My manager almost killed a man who was so severely allergic to one of the ingredients in his soup, an ambulance had to be called. She denied the soup had the ingredient he was allergic to. No accountability. Meanwhile, I felt guilty for not warning him there might be shellfish or peanut oil. 'We didn’t put that in his food,' she said to the woman who came with the man who reacted. I don’t recall the specific allergen, but I remember that it was in his soup."

    "She also denied a Black woman lunch just because she had witnessed her ask someone else for some cash for food. Meanwhile, before that happened, two white teens were pooling their money together to pay for one meal. My boss happily gave them their meal, despite them being a few dollars short. The other lady had enough money for one thing on the menu, but she couldn’t even grant her that."


    6. "I had a director at a former job tell me I had to stay at my phone for eight hours and could not leave my desk to eat or use the restroom. Coworkers brought me snacks, but eventually I had to go pee. The (male) director followed me to the ladies' room and stood outside the door screaming while I was inside. This was not a staff-only bathroom; it was on a busy hallway at a small university, and there were students everywhere. No one did anything to the director."

    "I could not leave my desk to eat or use the restroom" over a stressed woman at her desk

    7. "I worked at a restaurant in a management position during the pandemic. All of us worked pretty closely together because there were so few of us. One day, the guy I usually had my shifts with started sniffling and coughing. I had my two days off, and the rest of the staff said he hadn't come back because he was still sick. Turns out he tested positive for COVID-19 and had all the symptoms. They decided to bring him back less than five days later, still with symptoms, and wanted me to work side by side with him. I asked if he had gotten a negative test. They said they couldn't tell me private medical information about another employee. I told them I couldn't expose myself, and wouldn't be back."

    "They actually asked if I was going to give my two weeks' notice, and I told them they were preventing me from doing that. Afterward, I found out that other restaurants in the chain were having their employees who tested positive for COVID-19 work side by side with uninfected employees across the country. I'm so glad I stuck to my guns."

    —Jessica Lauricella Mills, Facebook

    8. "I had a supervisor modify my timecard to erase my overtime. I caught it the first time it happened to me, but she had been doing it for months to multiple other employees. I quit not long after, for that and many other reasons. Not only was she not fired, but she was actually promoted. Such bullshit."

    "I had a supervisor modify my timecard to erase my overtime" over a stressed worker and her arrogant boss

    9. "When I was 16, I worked at country club and was illegally bartending the entire time I was there. My boss liked me a lot, so in addition to events, he let me work in the club member restaurant and men’s bar. I asked for one Saturday off a month in advance so I could go to my school's homecoming, and the day before, he told me he needed me to fill in for the woman who opened the downstairs on Saturday. He wanted me, a 16-year-old girl, to open the entire bar alone, which would be filled with old golfers drinking at 10 a.m. My parents told me to call in sick the next day. I didn’t quit until months later when I was finally sick of getting harassed by men without any help or support from my manager. The final straw was when I left one night and someone followed me all the way home. I drove around my block four times before he left me alone."


    10. "I worked at a SUPER-toxic doctor's office. The manager couldn’t manage, patients were verbally abusive, and the doctor didn’t care about us at all. The final straw was during the pandemic when he gave us absolutely no time off (we were a dermatology office, so not exactly essential) and offered no financial assistance for those of us who had to voluntarily take time off because we lived with immunocompromised individuals (me). Then, we found out he got a small business loan and purchased a plane for himself instead of taking care of us. I quit as soon as I found another job and told him EXACTLY why I was quitting."

    "Then, we found out he got a small business loan and purchased a plane for himself instead of taking care of us" over a stressed nurse sitting on the ground

    11. "I worked for a company for a few years and then got pregnant and had a baby. My husband deployed, and we have no family around here, so I figured it would be pretty tough to work full time. I was going to quit but was talked into staying with promises from my supervisor and the CEO that they would work with me on taking sick [days] and reduce my schedule for six months. After my husband came back, the supervisor and CEO pulled me into an office and told me that because of my reduced schedule and the time I took to pump breast milk during the day, I would no longer have lunch hours until they deemed that I had earned them again. I quit immediately."


    12. "In another job I had, the CEO of this small company would hire a person for one department, and then months later decide he wanted them in another department and force them to trade jobs. If they didn’t like it, then they’d have to quit their job! Someone who was hired to do sales could be moved to become a receptionist, which was a significant pay decrease. If they didn't want the job change, they would have to give their notice and forfeit unemployment. I can't believe he got away with this so often."

    "Someone who was hired to do sales could be moved to become a receptionist, which was a significant pay decrease" over a rude boss

    13. "My company never took the pandemic seriously and treated anyone who did like they were overreacting. We were not essential workers, but our business stayed open, and we were forced to be there while everything else was shut down. When my coworkers and I expressed concerns about our safety during the pandemic (such as no sneeze guards, no mask requirements, barely any sanitization protocols, etc.), management's response was just to shrug us off and tell us to stop being dramatic. After putting up with this for over a year, when it came time for our annual review, the supervisors in charge intentionally found little things they could nitpick to justify not granting hazard pay to any of the employees, even though we were there every single day of the pandemic. And to top everything off, they told us we shouldn't wear face masks around customers because, 'It might make them uncomfortable to be here.'"


    14. "In my early 20s, I worked at a large car dealership for four months. I started as the receptionist, fielding upward of 300 calls per hour, mostly from pissed-off customers. I was later transferred to the service/warranty department, where I'd work 10-hour shifts and usually have to skip my lunch break because there'd be no one to cover me, and I was left covering the receptionist's lunch hour. While in the service department, I'd often commiserate with two people on my team about various things. We came to find out that the general manager was using our security system to listen to us. One day, he pulled the three of us into his office and humiliated me in front of them by 'using me as example.' I stormed out in tears and never went back. Most stressful four months of my life."

    "We came to find out that the general manager was using our security system to listen to us" over a stressed man working

    15. "I worked for a jewelry company in a boring position where I filled in spreadsheets. I have a degree in design, and the company owner got me to stay by baiting me with the promise of one day promoting me to a designer role, which was never going to happen. The office was disgusting and had this old, musty carpet everywhere. The factory portion was straight-up dangerous. They made employees do hazardous work with no respirators, goggles, or other protection. Someone called the health unit on them. It wasn’t me, but people started a rumor that it was. I had middle-aged men throwing insults at me and acting super bitchy, defending the shitty owner. I quit, and the owner was so pissed off he started asking employees where my partner worked and threatened to come by my house. I was 23."


    16. "I worked as a receptionist for a very unethical therapist. It was common practice for us to do reminder calls to patients less than 24 hours prior to their appointment so that we could bill for missed appointments AND schedule another client in their place. One day, they made me drive to work in a flood so that they could charge clients if they missed their appointments. I wasn’t able to get there because of said flood, and when I called the therapist to let them know, they informed me that they hadn’t even gotten dressed for the day yet. I put in my two weeks' [notice] the next day. It took me years to trust therapists again after that bullshit."

    "They made me drive to work in a flood so that they could charge clients if they missed their appointments" over a stressed receptionist

    17. "Many years ago, I worked at a burrito place. I only worked there for four days. I was washing dishes, and the manager walked by and started yelling at me for using soap! He said, 'Soap costs money, and you're just putting the same food back in the pans anyway.' I quit right there and walked out the door."


    18. "For my first job, I worked at a little BBQ place with a drive-thru. On my day off, my manager called me at 8:30 a.m. (30 minutes before opening) to say she didn't feel well and needed me to open. I rushed in and ended up working all day. 5:00 p.m. rolled around, and my manager came in with the owner of the business, who she was dating. They had been at the fair all day, and she'd completely forgotten about lying to me and claiming to be sick. I bit my tongue and asked if I could go home. They said no and kept me until close (9:00 p.m.). At 9:00 p.m., I took my shirt off, handed them my keys, and said, 'Today was my last day,' as I walked out the door shirtless."

    "He looked at my pay stubs and saw they hadn’t been paying me overtime the entire time I worked there" over a server writing down an order

    19. "I fractured my orbital socket in an industrial accident. Another employee lost focus at the wrong time and was supposed to wait for a hand signal, but didn't. We had been working 14-hour shifts for over 90 days straight while living in a crappy motel 45 minutes away from our worksite. We were supposed to be on a rotation where we didn't work more than three weeks at a time. It was a close call and could have been a lot worse. I'm glad I saw it coming and had time to at least try and get out of the way. I got sent away after a night in the ER while the rest of that crew continued to work. After spending two or three days at home, the boss called to say that he needed me in Alaska in two days and that my flight was already booked. I quit right on the spot."


    20. "My boss had my crew and I cut corners on a job. I was fairly new to the position and did what he said because I thought it was the way things got done. Inspectors came and checked the job because of an unrelated screw-up by another company and, in turn, found out what we had done. My boss then blamed the whole thing on me and denied ever telling me to do it this way. I spent the next two days replacing all my previous work to get things the way they should've been done in the first place. My boss then told me that he was not going to pay me for the days of work (14 hours each day) because I was 'fixing my fuck-ups.' He also spent those two days calling me a 'fucking idiot' and a 'liar.' I said, 'Fuck you. I quit.'"

    "My boss then blamed the whole thing on me and denied ever telling me to do it this way" over a stressed construction worker

    21. "I used to work at a chain ice cream shop, and it was awful! We had eight- to nine-hour shifts with no breaks. We weren’t even allowed to bring in food. My boss would watch us from cameras at home and would call the store to ask why we were in the bathroom for more than one minute at a time. She started paying me with personal checks to short-change me. I finally left when she asked me to skip school and my second job so I could cover for her in the mornings since she had manager meetings and couldn’t open her store."


    22. Finally: "I worked at a call center for a high-end interior decor company. They forced phone agents to lie to customers about backorders (we were told to assure people things would deliver on time even if an extended backorder was likely) and lie that everything was made in USA (only some of the parts were made in USA). They timed breaks and lunches down to the minute and would write people up for it. They fired someone for being absent too much because she was going through chemo. They had unassigned seating and when I became disabled and needed seating accommodations, they would just expect me to sit anywhere if someone took my specialized desk. I’m so glad I went back to school and got the hell out of there."

    "They fired someone for being absent too much because she was going through chemo" over a stressed call center worker

    Have you ever worked for an unethical boss or company? What did you have to endure at your job? Tell us in the comments, or submit anonymously using this form.

    Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.