Getting fired is definitely one of the rougher experiences of being part of the workforce, but some sackings are worse than others.
Like, sometimes it's a mutual decision, and other times...you're fired in a super-inappropriate or cruel way, or for a really stupid reason.
1. "I took a day off for some reason, probably a doctor's appointment, don’t remember, but I was seven months pregnant. My husband was out of town for work so I was staying with my parents until he got home. I got back to my mom’s and she said someone from work had called. ... They put the boss on the phone and he said budget problems were making it necessary to let someone go and since I was pregnant, it was going to be me."
"That was in 1976. I was young, did not know any of my rights so everyone was like, oh yeah. That makes sense! I never went back. I basically just carried my work around so I did not even have a desk to clean out."
2. "I worked at a law firm as a legal assistant. I had a cold and called in sick and then got a call four hours later telling me they had to let me go."
3. "The company I was working for had filed for bankruptcy on a Friday afternoon. Some people were let for right away. I was told that I was okay, unless I heard otherwise over the weekend. Monday came, no phone call or email telling me I was let go came, so I jumped in the shower. I came out to find a VM from my supervisor telling me 'actually we had to let you go, sorry.'"
"Didn’t even try to call me back, didn’t ask me to call back."
4. "The worst way I was fired was when I wasn’t. I worked in a shoe store in college, I was hired the week before Halloween. In February I left on a two week vacation, which they knew about when they hired me, as soon as I got off the plane at JFK I texted my manager to let her know that I was back and asked when my next shift was. She texted back, said she’d let me know, and I never heard from her again."
5. "I was a waitress at a small restaurant in a small college town. I got fired when I finally had it out with the owner because he kept withholding people's tips (which is super illegal) for BS reasons like they were late, etc. I kept telling people (some of them immigrants who barely spoke English) their rights and he got mad at me so I told him to fuck off."
"The restaurant folded soon after because I called the fire department about him (the sprinklers had gone off one day-during lunch! And he never bothered to have them fixed) and the health dept. because that place was DISGUSTING. It opened again briefly and then closed again for good soon after."
6. "I was sexually and violently assaulted by a fellow employee on a night out and when I reported it to my manager and told him I was going to report it to the police, he fired me because the person who did it sold more units per month than I did and keeping him happy was more important than how safe I felt working alongside him again."
7. "My younger sister and I (me 20, her 18) worked as servers at a very well known franchise. She was pregnant and asked one of our managers if she could switch to hostessing because she has nerve pain and was having a hard time carrying heavy trays. Our male manager told her she could switch, if she showed him her boobs."
"She was 18 and pregnant! Obviously, she went to corporate and they fired him. ... Come to find out, our other female manager was hooking up with the fired manager and was pissed he got fired, and since my sister quit, she took it out on me. I was one of their best servers, worked double shifts anytime they needed me and never missed a day. She 'let me go' in the middle of our busiest season, saying they don’t have enough business. This woman was in her 50s and knew I was busting my ass trying to save for my wedding."
8. "I used to work in a bowling alley up front where admission and shoe rental is. The owner fired me because he thought that my face looked too 'bitchy' and scared the customers away."
"Instead of telling me, he asked my co-worker to let me know why I wasn’t scheduled anymore…the funniest thing is that my next job made sure I was in the front because I was 'so welcoming.'"
9. "I was in junior high, working as a server in a 'restaurant' in a retirement home. The boss was an older (60s) white woman who required that girls wear 'nude' pantyhose (let's not even get into the misogyny). I wore what was 'nude' for my gorgeous brown skinned chicken legs. She kept on me to get 'nude' pantyhose. I knew what she wanted. Finally, she said, 'You all need to look the same, and wear the same color.' I am proud to say I replied, 'What's nude for you isn't nude for me, and I'm not wearing pantyhose that are for you.' She told me if I didn't get the 'right' pantyhose I was fired right then. I said, 'okay, bye,' and my mother came to pick me up."
10. "I had just dropped my infant son off at his grandma's and swung by my house to check on my dog. He'd gotten very sick the day before. I found him dead underneath my bed and immediately broke down. We'd had him almost eleven years and he was our first baby. Called my then-husband, who sped home. I called my work, my boss' cell, etc. to explain the situation. The other server working that morning is actually who we'd gotten our dog from as a puppy. They took me off the schedule."
"When I went in next and saw that, they said it was a mistake and the next week put me on only two shifts, both extremely slow shifts. I told my friend/coworker I felt unwanted there. My last shift that week, I saw I once again wasn't on the next schedule because 'we didn't know if you'd show up.'"
11. "My literally unhinged manager would call us 'psychos,' talk about employees to other employees...It was so toxic. So I decided to start looking elsewhere. I made the mistake of telling a coworker and found myself fired the next day."
12. "I was fired over a phone call by my boss's FATHER for being 'too intense,' because he didn’t like that I was actually qualified for my job."
13. "I was in a very bad mental health place and work 100% was not helpful about it. ... One Friday, I got news that one of my uncles was in the hospital in critical condition (he's since made a full recovery, thankfully), and things weren't looking good at the time. I told my boss about this and she comes in from her work-from-home day just to fire me."
"We have a long conversation, I'm crying the whole time, and she ends it with "Are you feeling okay?". DOES IT LOOK LIKE I'M OKAY? Good riddance, I guess — I was able to find a new job within a couple of months and I've been there ever since."
14. "I was 21/22 and had been working in retail on and off since I was 16. I was hired on for a summer retail position, they wanted me to even be a manager, but it was such a short amount of time that it didn’t work out. They told me to ask questions, learn, etc. ... Two weeks later they fire me, say I was asking too many questions and wasn’t learning/completing tasks fast enough."
15. "I’ve been fired twice in my life. The first time I was a caregiver for an after school program. Some of the parents complained they weren’t comfortable with a man watching their children, so I was let go."
"The second time, at a marketing firm, I was told to bill clients for work we didn’t do for them. I refused, so they fired me the next day. They claimed I wasn’t a team player for not bringing in 'extra' revenue. I wish I’d taken some sort of action in both cases, but I was young and didn’t know better."
16. "My boss fired me because 'he shouldn't have to have vegetarians around.'"
17. "I worked in retail. ... I worked hard, knew what I was doing. I had booked my 27th birthday off to have lunch with my estranged father and his family, the assistant manager rang me up right in the middle of lunch and told me that I was fired. [He] didn't even give me a reason. Had to sit there at an already awkward lunch and wait for my father's bratty kid to finish her pizza."
18. "As a manager, I was asked by corporate to enforce the rules and standard procedures outlined and mandated by them. I and one other manager at the same level were told to do this, after about two weeks we were fired less than an hour before work started for 'being bad for morale.'"
"Not to mention the fact that the company wanted me to put myself into a potentially compromising legal situation with a subordinate by reprimanding them over performance after they had used an antisemitic slur against me just weeks earlier, and made me fire everyone’s favorite employee a week before I was fired because my boss didn’t want to. They made me do it after work on my birthday."
19. "I had just come home from a few years in the UK, and an employment agency got me a job with a very nascent tech company. I had no experience but really good instincts, so it only took a couple months for them to promote me to assistant manager. ... The praise I received turned into complaints, and I was falling just as quickly as I’d risen. So when I went on my annual vacation, I asked my boss if I needed to cancel and try to save my job. She assured me all was well, and to have a great time. Not hard to guess the rest: my first day back, I was immediately fired."
"It was before texting, so, a note was left on my desk—basically, welcome back, here’s the sack. This company is no longer in business. And I’m retired with a nice pension and 401K. So I win!"
20. "About a year after struggling to find a job after college, I got a job at a social services agency. ... I made basically minimum wage. I could have made the same money at McDonald's with a degree. After three months, in the middle of the day, they brought me to their office and fired me. I was never spoken to prior about my performance or told I was doing bad. I was never given any type of warning."
"They said I didn't get the work done fast enough and they didn't think it was the right fit. They were not discreet and everyone knew that day I was fired. They handed me my unemployment and basically threw me out like a piece of trash. At the time, I was devastated, but now I realize they were complete assholes."
21. "I was a COVID layoff at my last job. ... Business dropped off rapidly, and I was furloughed for awhile. ... Eventually the interim GM ended up calling me to let me know the company would not be bringing me back in and my furlough was becoming a layoff."
"I was sad to hear it as I loved working there, but I also understood. I texted a friend of mine who had also been furloughed and ... we planned to clean out our desks at the same time the next day so we could say goodbye. When we arrived to do so, our managers had no idea why we were there. They had not been consulted, asked, or informed that I had been laid off ... After talking to more coworkers, we found out it wasn't only me or just our department: without discussing matters with or even consulting or even NOTIFYING any supervisors, he had arbitrarily laid off anyone who hadn't been at work the week before."
22. "I worked at a famous coffee chain when I was 19 and 20. I was also going through a tough time and my doc had prescribed some anti-depressants which ... caused drowsiness. One afternoon I was working and took a nap on my lunch break in the back room. My boss woke me up (mind you we clocked out for lunch and I was still within my 30 minute window) and told me he found it strange I was napping. I let him know it was because of the prescribed pills I was taking. He then told me I have to disclose any medication I’m taking to him (lies). The next day he let me go and said that I needed to 'take time to heal myself.'"
"I went to HR (I happen to be from the same city this large coffee chain is part of) and begged for my job back at a different location. HR told me that because I signed the form stating that I agreed to the termination, there was nothing they could do for me. I learned a lot of lessons about who HR really works for, and what is and isn’t legally necessary to disclose to your employer. I really wish I’d gone back and sued them for wrongful termination but I was young and didn’t know any better."
23. "I worked at an Asian-fusion buffet back in college. The day I was fired, it was Mother's Day and I'd worked a double shift — breakfast/brunch and dinner. There was a problem with my morning shift close-out that we agreed to address after my dinner shift. After I was cut for the night, I waited almost two hours for my manager to assist me. All the while, he's flirting with the other waitresses and chatting up regulars at the bar. I'd been there over twelve hours at that point, and I was exhausted. I asked my manager if I could leave both close-outs and my day's cash with him so we could sort out another day. He said 'leave and don't come back. I won't be rushed.'"
"I was in such a shock, I gathered my things, wished my coworkers a good night, and left without telling any of them I'd just been fired. Days later, that manager sent a coworker to tell me I could have my job back if I came in to 'beg for it.' I did not."
24. "I used to work at a pretty well known gym chain while I was in college. Like many students, I went home for the summers as the dorms were closed. I got the approval to go home for the summer and was guaranteed my job would be there when I returned. Fast forward a couple of months and I call to get added back to the schedule. There was a new manager who 'never heard of me' and unfortunately would not be able to reinstate me."
"Come to find out that the previous location manager had been sleeping with the regional manager. She told everyone that I tried to steal him from her and was sleeping with him and that she wouldn’t allow me to ever come back. Ripped up my name tag in front of my coworkers and screamed about how I was ruining her relationship (with a married man). She made this assumption after walking up on us talking about me working the tanning salon area of the gym. Yes. That’s the extent of the relationship I had with him. One conversation. Super unprofessional. PS. Heard she got fired because his wife found out, so I guess karma?"
25. "Not me but my husband. He had worked at a popular gym chain for about 5 years. There was some drama between the assistant manager, two employees who were dating, and the ex of one of the employees where the assistant manager was blackmailing the employees for the ex. My husband reported it to HR and was taken off the schedule, with the excuse that his availability was no longer a valid shift period even though he has been working that shift for five years."
"It eventually came to a point that he had not worked a shift in over 45 days so the gym used that as an excuse to fire him. They then tried to deny his unemployment saying he was fired for misconduct and he had to go through a hearing with unemployment where he pulled up all his receipts of what had happened and got the unemployment reinstated."
26. "I put in my two weeks to quit since my job did not approve my vacation time. A couple of days later, during a meeting with over 15 employees, I was responding to a quick text message confirming an appointment, and I was told to pack up my office and leave. My boss then proceeded to have a security guard stand and watch me pack."
27. "Me and another manager were let go so they wouldn’t have to pay us bonuses, which we earned by working our asses off, to get our location out of debt and profitable after the pandemic."
"I was let go for not immediately answering a middle of the night message, which wasn't an emergency and was something that I could have only answered being back in the office the next day. My co-manager was told she wasn’t a team player because she asked for her money to be reimbursed because our finance department did not pay a vendor, but we needed product."
28. "I worked at a small community bank for 6.5 years through the very bad financial crisis years ago. Mismanagement from the senior managers and board of directors caused them to chose to lay off a few people. I was the only woman in the entire company with a college degree. The others were all male senior managers. I was called into the office with another employee to be given our separation papers. I knew the president didn’t have any class, but to axe two people in the same room was a new low."
29. "On the day of my 90 day review at a merging law firm, the HR manager for the firm I WAS NOT employed by called me into her office and told me 'I just wasn't a good fit for Greg.' Greg, my boss, never came into the office to say anything to me about why he was firing me. In fact, he didn't say a single word to me all day. He just hid in his office with his door closed like a coward the entire time I was being fired by a random woman that worked in my office."
30. "I was hired as a part time (under 20 hours a week) pre-k teacher. Was on the first day of my beach vacation after getting engaged and my boss calls. She tells me that they need someone who has more availability and said there was no need to come back after vacation. If they had asked I would have moved to full time."
31. "Prior to accepting a new job for a man I’d worked for before, I set boundaries about my time. I was NOT going to work 60 hours a week for him. As a favor, I did agree to come to work an hour early until the restaurant was open. One day, I came in at 9:30 (my official hours were 10-7) and he fired me for being 'late.' He subsequently called me unprofessional for seeking unemployment insurance during a hearing with the unemployment office. Up yours forever, Avner."
32. And finally, this person was fired because: "I asked a regular customer to stop demanding I smile."
What's the stupidest thing you ever got fired for or the worst way you were fired? Let us know in the comments!
Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.