27 Jaw-Dropping HR Incidents That Are So Freakin' Wild, They Sound Like Scenes From "The Office"
Oh, to have the patience of someone in HR.
We recently shared a Reddit thread filled with off-the-wall stories from HR reps about the weirdest and worst things they've dealt with while on the job. The comments quickly filled with even more unhinged and unbelievable stories, so we're back with a fresh batch of HR nightmares that make Michael Scott look tame. Buckle up, y'all, because here are the wildest stories we came across:
1. "Manufacturing is a wild field to work in, and I’m beyond glad I made it out. When I was working employee relations at a large manufacturing plant, I had to deal with everything from a cafeteria fight over a muffin, to on-the-clock affairs and even death threats. More than once, we had to discipline employees for repeatedly farting on their coworkers after being asked not to. We also had a bear manage to get into the building MULTIPLE TIMES. He had better attendance than some of our actual employees."
2. "I've worked in HR for 26 years, and the weirdest thing I've encountered was during an interview. I asked this lady if she had any hobbies. She said piercing, then swiftly lifted up her top and showed me her nipple ring. I didn't know where to look!"
3. "At the big company picnic outside of our building, one of the accountants came running out of the office saying someone had smeared shit and dragged shit-filled pants all over the men’s bathroom. Curiously, my boss’s slacks were missing, and he had changed into basketball shorts. Don’t worry, he wasn’t reprimanded for this. He wasn’t let go until our department was dissolved for losing $75M."
4. "I have many different stories from working in HR for a large private real estate company, but the most memorable involves a sales rep from one of our luxury apartment communities. This dude had his Tinder date meet at one of the furnished apartments, passed it off as his own, hooked up with her, and sent her on her way — all while he was on the clock. He would have gotten away with it if he hadn't bragged about it to one of his coworkers, who reported him to HR."
5. "I worked with a guy in his 40s who would pee, then wash his junk in the sink. He would lay *it* on the sink and completely clean it off. After enough guys walked in on him and complained, my poor manager had to tell him to stop doing that (with HR present)."
6. "We had an employee (he resembled Santa Claus, and we all loved him) who brought in his lunch everyday. We thought he walked around and talked to people on his lunch to be nice. We found out later he was stealing shrimp out of the meat department daily. He would put the shrimp in his lunch bag and take them home every night. By the time we caught on, he had stolen thousands of dollars of shrimp! No one would have ever thought it was him."
7. "I have worked in HR for 14 years. The most common excuse people use to go home or stay home is diarrhea. They think it's gross enough that we won’t ask any questions. We hear more about poop than you can imagine. Poop stories don’t even phase me anymore. Ironically the one guy that actually pooped himself at work didn’t even realize he had done it. He just kept working until a brave supervisor approached him and asked him to go home for the day. He said he was fine and wanted to continue to work. She actually had to tell him he had pooped himself. Then, he called me to talk to me about it. I really didn’t know what to say other than, 'Hey buddy, it happens!'"
8. "When I worked at a grocery store bakery, we had the 'serial one biter,' which was a person who would take one bite out of each of the free pastries, muffins, and cookies that were left in the staffroom. This went on for several months. We did eventually figure out who it was, and I think they got a talking to because it never happened again."
9. "My mom worked in HR, and she has lots of stories. She had to fire a lady for bringing her pet chinchilla to work because he husband wouldn't watch it. Also, a guy gave his two weeks' notice, and on his last day, he pulled out 17 bags of live crickets and let them loose in the office!"
10. "We had two employees who hated each other and did not get along. One of them was not very hygienic and thought they could 'get back' at the other by purposely giving them fleas. So yes, this employee purposely infected the other employee's belongings with their fleas."
11. "We had several complaints about women’s bathrooms on the same few floors. Someone was covering the stalls with TONS of toilet paper — often unrolling almost an entire large corporate-sized roll — and draping it all over the stall. We suspected who the culprit was, but I had to pretend I didn’t know for sure since we didn’t have any proof. I scheduled a meeting with the woman I suspected and asked her if she had any idea what could be causing the issue. She said she had no idea, but would keep an eye out. The TP incidents stopped after that!"
12. "We had a woman who requested an accommodation under the ADA for 'stress-induced fecal incontinence.' Basically, her supervisor stressed her out so much that she shit her pants at work on the regular. The worst part was that we all worked in a small office, and she was the receptionist. After she’d shit her pants, she’d refuse to go home, so the whole office would smell. To this day, I don’t know if she had a legitimate medical condition, or if she was intentionally shitting herself at work and sitting in it."
13. "I assist HR with their hiring interviews, and when interviews were in person prior to COVID-19, I witnessed the most interesting answer to a question. We were interviewing this man who had a law degree, and he was very knowledgeable about the corporation. He was actually doing well in the interview. Being a safety-sensitive position, I asked him if he had any bad habits, meaning bad habits related to personal safety. He seemed to think for a moment and then blurted out, 'I don’t wash my hands after I masturbate.' At the end of the interview, he extended his hand out for a handshake; I threw my hands up and said no thanks. Needless to say, we didn’t hire him."
14. "I was working with a staffing agency to obtain some warehouse workers. One did not show at his scheduled time, so we contacted the agency to let them know. He replied that he did arrive, but the door was closed, so he took a selfie with our building in the background to prove he was on location. He did not try to open said door, which was closed, but not locked."
15. "On the first day of my internship for a large company, five people got fired. I had only been there for two hours when I learned that a female employee had sex with several colleagues in the bathroom during working hours. Her husband, who also worked for the company, found out she was cheating and fought the colleagues she'd hooked up with. Because of the fight, HR fired everyone except for the husband of the cheater. He got a warning letter. The company did everything they could to hide this news from the media."
16. "I worked in HR for a company with so many wild stories. A woman on the HR team was busted for embezzling money from the company. She was endorsing checks to herself, posing as ex-interns receiving tuition reimbursement from the company. She received over $100K this way. Three weeks later, a different woman on the HR team hit someone walking in the parking garage with her car and drove off. She broke his arm and leg and somehow kept her job. Can’t make this stuff up."
17. "Believe it or not, there is a semblance of HR at major music festivals. I was working as a staffing manager, and a guy we hired got his festival wristband and then didn’t show up to his first shift. We spotted him in nothing but an American flag speedo, a cape, and a cowboy hat, walking around as a patron. The next day, he actually showed up to his shift, stating he was ready to work! I cut up his wristband and got security to remove him."
18. "I work in HR and had to fire a paramedic. He randomly came across a female patient in the ER and sparked up a conversation with her. A couple days later, he proceeded to call the former patient on her personal cellphone and say, 'Hey Sheila, this is paramedic Dan. We met in the ER the other day. I’m outside your house right now. Mind if I come in?' This obviously terrified the girl, who managed to convince the paramedic that her boyfriend was with her and that he best leave, which he did. She then immediately contacted the hospital and complained. Come to find out the paramedic accessed the girl’s personal information and decided to pay her a visit. When I brought him in for termination, I could not, for the life of me, make him understand how inappropriate and illegal his actions were. He just kept saying he 'felt a connection' with her."
19. "There was a serial pooper where I worked. They would constantly poop beside the toilet. We never figured out who it was."
20. "I had to confront a contractor that was new to our group because an employee noticed him transferring 'personal' hard drive data to his work computer. It turns out the contractor's portable hard drive was full and he was off-loading nude selfies to the work computer to make more room for the pictures he had taken during lunch. He was immediately fired and the contract terminated."
21. "I was a temp working under the head of HR. I had to digitize a bunch of paperwork, so I got to read over some of the disputes between employees, including one about two coworkers who hated each other and fought all the time. At some point, one of the employees threw a chair at the other. They were both forced to apologize to each other."
22. "I once had an employee who was frequently absent, but since she had a long-term condition, we agreed any absences due to this condition would not lead to disciplinary action. We just asked for her to provide a doctor's note. One day, she decided the best way to prove to us that she had been sick was to collect her vomit in a jug, bring it in the next day, and pour it all over my desk."
23. "I've spent 25-plus years in HR. One of my clients, a financial firm, kept finding 'presents' in their president's spot at the corporate table. Someone was leaving cups of urine and a plate of feces, presented as a meal, for the president. This went on for months. An internal investigation called out the culprit. When she was fired, she called me (the outsourced account manager) asking me why she was fired. She truly was oblivious to her wrongdoing. Then, she asked me if MY company was hiring. You can’t make this stuff up. Respect to ALL HR people."
24. "I was working in HR for a large (now defunct) rehabilitation hospital, and we had a temporary dishwasher position open. I was interviewing a middle-aged lady for the position when she said she was working her way to Nashville, where she hoped to become a famous bluegrass singer. She then reached into her bag and pulled out a mandolin, then proceeded to sing one of her original songs for me. She was pretty good. I gave her the job, and she was a great employee. When the job ended, she headed toward Nashville."
25. "Back when I worked in HR, I got a complaint from a number of employees about a new intern. They said the intern was whistling at his desk. At first, coworkers thought it was a joke, because it was unusually loud and off-key. After a few days of the whistling, complaints rolled in that it was very distracting. When confronted, the intern got angry and defensive, claiming he had to practice for his audition. He explained that since he was an unpaid intern, he was entitled to practice his act for a popular nationwide talent show. When I explained he had to do his practicing elsewhere, he stormed out, yelling that he was quitting because the million dollar prize he would get was far more than he was ever going to make here, and he didn’t want to work somewhere that didn’t recognize his 'talent.'"
26. "I had to deal with complaints from an entire office of employees who said the office smelled like weed. One of the IT guys had gone into a closet to smoke weed. Turns out it was the AC intake closet, so it was pumping his weed smoke into the entire office."
27. Finally: "I do not work in HR, but I am a hiring manager. We have remote positions, so we'd often hire people after phone screens and interviews. We never forced people to have their cameras on for these virtual interviews. We had one candidate who was great. She knew all of the buzz words and could really go into detail about how she could stand out in the position, so we hired her. On her first day, she began virtual onboarding with another employee. At the end of the day, the onboarding staff updated us that the new hire was asking very strange questions about the position as if they didn't know anything about it. We joined the onboarding call the next day, only to realize the person who was being onboarded sounded nothing like the person we interviewed! She had gotten someone else to conduct the interview entirely. We now require people to use their cameras during our interviews."
Do you work in HR? What's the most unhinged situation you've ever had to deal with on the job? Tell us your story in the comments or by anonymously using this form!
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.