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    "She Started Harassing My Doctor's Office": People Are Revealing The Most Appalling Ways Their Company Told Them They Were Being Let Go

    "I went on maternity leave. On my first day back at work, I worked for one hour before they told me my position had been eliminated. They knew it was illegal to fire me while on maternity leave, so they had to allow me to come back to work."

    Due to the recent news of major tech companies laying off employees — i.e. Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter — the Internet has been buzzing about toxic work cultures and all the ways they choose to lay off their staff in the most thoughtless ways possible.

    a woman getting let go at her job while her colleagues wave goodbye

    And since this, unfortunately, isn't the only time in history people have been laid off in large sums, we asked the BuzzFeed Community: "Were you ever laid off from a job in the worst way possible? If so, we want to know what went down." Here's what they had to say:

    1. "My fiancée and I used to work in the same company (that's how we met). He got laid off without notice on a Monday and on Tuesday, I got called to HR. The HR person said 'Congratulations, we are moving you to a different department due to staff cuts.' They offered me my fiancée's former job because 'he might help me.' I was furious but couldn't afford to lose the job. I started applying for new jobs that day. I got an offer two weeks after, and I sent my notice a day before new staff cuts were announced."

    2. "I was working at a private school and teaching virtually during the spring of 2020. That summer, COVID cases were rising and most schools in the area were developing hybrid or fully virtual plans to return in the fall. The head of school asked me if I had issues with returning to school fully in person that year, and I expressed my concerns honestly, not knowing what was going to happen with COVID cases if we were fully in person. The head of school proceeded to shame me for being overly anxious and pressured me to quit. Since it was a private school, I didn’t have a union to support me, so I spoke with HR about this uncomfortable interaction. For the next few weeks, the head of school mostly left me alone as we prepared for a fully in person return."

    "The week before school started, as I was setting up my classroom, she started pressuring me to take on tasks that were not part of my job, like running an after-school program and working as an aid during my free period for a student with special needs. When I asked her if she’d be updating my contract and pay, she didn’t answer. 

    "Two days before students were going to return, she called me to her office to say that I had been uncooperative and difficult in refusing these tasks (I didn’t refuse, I just asked questions), and she let me go. I had already set up my classroom and introduced myself to my students and their parents, but behind my back, she had already hired another teacher to replace me. She must’ve been planning it all along. I vowed to never ever teach at a school without a union again."

    Madeline, 32, Columbus, OH

    3. "I am a teacher during the day, but I worked part-time for a skincare company for almost 17 years. During the pandemic, the company decided to lay off more than half of its store employees (they're now pretty much an online-only store). We were told in a mass group phone call with a statement prepared by their legal team was read to us and not given an opportunity to respond. Later, when the regional manager called me to give me the specifics, I told her how upset I was for being let go after 17 years when I hadn't done anything wrong. She came back with, "Well, you can't imagine how bad of a day I'm having. I have to make these phone calls all day." I responded with, 'I'm sorry that it is so hard for you to lay people off when you still hold a six-figure position.' And hung up on her. When they shut down all their stores last summer, my manager lost her position after 20 years. With $0 compensation."

    a woman walking out with her things from the office

    4. "It was the beginning of the COVID outbreak: March 2020. I had a fever for over 24 hours, and then I told my boss. She was a cantankerous, miserable COVID-denier, and I was the first person in my office to show COVID symptoms of any kind, so I was very nervous. She told me to go to the doctor to get a COVID test. Easy enough. At the time in my area, we had limited tests, so I had to be tested for some other things before I could test for COVID. I was instructed by the doctor to quarantine that entire time. I called my boss to tell her. She would not accept it. She said a bunch of really nasty things to me and then later, ABOUT me. After the first round of tests came back negative, I finally got to take a COVID test, and again, was instructed to continue to quarantine until the results came back. I guess my boss didn't believe me when I told her that, because she started HARASSING my doctor's office, DEMANDING access to my lab work."

    "My doctor's office actually called me to ask for help with that. So I called my boss again and told her what she was doing was not only a major invasion of my privacy but also NOT LEGAL. She hung up on me. The next morning I had an email saying I had been 'terminated due to loss of revenue from COVID-19.' 

    I absolutely BLASTED her in my unemployment benefits application, she appealed the decision when they gave me the benefits, and then she lost the appeal. Imagine being a court clerk for 30 years and losing an appeal to your 25-year-old former employee. She faced no disciplinary action for her actions, and I couldn't take legal action because she has civil immunity as an elected official. I'm headed to law school next year, so everything turned out fine for me in the end."

    Micah, 28, Arkansas, USA

    5. "I was pregnant, and four days away from being eligible for statutory maternity leave (paid by the government) at the vintage clothing business I was working at. I received a letter without warning in the mail from the administrators, telling me we’d all lost our jobs and the business was folding. None of us would get any severance pay. I contacted the (awful) woman who owned the business and said I was sorry to hear about the business closing, but I was upset we didn’t get any prior warning and explained that this meant I was now suddenly left in the position of going on maternity leave in three months time without any maternity pay (which I’d really been counting on — the pregnancy wasn’t planned and my pay was so shitty that I couldn’t afford to build up any savings)."

    a pregnant woman sitting in her room

    6. "20+ years at the company and I had just worked through eight rounds of chemo and was out six weeks for surgery. Two weeks after I returned, my position was eliminated. My manager at the time told me, 'Not to take it personally.' Um, how am I supposed to take it? I am a person! I was stunned since my manager had labeled the meeting as '2020 Planning' and had neglected to put the HR person on the invitation. Apparently, I wasn’t in the 2020 plans."

    —Anonymous, 54, Illinois 

    7. "I worked for a clinic for several years. I always got positive reviews, no reprimands, etc. I went out on maternity leave. On my first day back, they allowed me to work for an hour, then brought me in to say that my position had been eliminated. They knew it was illegal to fire me while on maternity leave, so they had to allow me to come back to work. They then renamed my position and gave the job to the CEO’s daughter. It was the exact same job duties, just with a different name."

    a woman holding her baby in a zoom meeting

    8. "I was let go right at the start of COVID from my HR admin assistant role. I was told via Zoom. I mentioned to my boss I didn't know how I'd manage financially and how much they were screwing me because so few places were hiring at the start of the pandemic. She told me, 'Well, we're all in the same boat.' I had just issued letters to everyone with their annual bonuses, including my boss. Her bonus was significantly higher than my annual salary. I also hadn't been at the company long so I had zero employment rights. She might have thought we were in the 'same boat' but she had a yacht whilst I was in a rowboat with a hole in it."


    9. "I was laid off from my job ON MY BIRTHDAY!! The worst part is they had given me cake, we chatted, we went back to work, and then 30 minutes later, I’m called to the conference room where I got told I was being laid off. To this day, I’m still upset about it."

    10. "My mother passed away in 2016. I was off work for one week, went back, and was told I took too much time off and they let me go. When she had her first stroke a year before that, another employer fired me the day she got out of the rehab hospital via text."

    —Jen, 36, New Mexico

    11. "I was eight months pregnant and had gestational diabetes. Had a doctor's note saying I had to eat when my sugar got low. They told me they had to lay me off because they 'couldn't accommodate my condition.'"

    12. "A retail clothing store about 10 years ago. As a manager, an employee stood close enough behind me to see me put my code in. She then proceeded to use it in transactions to give discounts and free stuff to friends. All without me knowing she had even seen me put the code in. [Corporate] noticed this and when they confronted her she confessed to flat-out stealing products BUT said I gave her the code. I gave them my story about it but they believed the admitted thief and fired me anyway. Good riddance. Terrible company with super cheap and terrible products."


    13. "At the very beginning of COVID, I was working for one of the biggest VFX studios in the world. Almost all of the artists received an invitation to a meeting and in the meeting, we were told that we were laid off. 50%-75% of the employees are not Canadian and could only stay because of their work visas. They pretty much all had to go back to their countries."

    two peopl doing paperwork together

    14. "I was let go on April Fool's Day via Facebook and text. I couldn't access my emails or a work account and a co-worker said, 'Did you know your job is posted on FB?' This was a Monday night, and my direct boss was out for the week so I tried calling her husband, who was also the co-owner of their company. He texted me, telling me to not come in for the rest of the week and to ask my cousin if he had a job for me."

    "So I went in the next morning at my usual time and the office busy-body called him, panicked because I was there, just sitting in the reception area. Turns out my cousin had taken a job at a competitor and my bosses thought I would give all their information to my cousin."


    15. "I worked at a major Department of Defense contractor. I held a security clearance and did my job well for a year in DC, and then seven months in my hometown when I moved back there. This was during the Trump administration, and after moving back to my hometown, I was promoted to a level where I was cleared to work ICE contracts. I had — have — issues with the handling of immigration issues in the US, so I declined that contract, citing religious exemption as a Jew. I clearly explained my reasoning. The case was heard, but I never received a decision. While the decision about my exemption appeal was pending, I was let go for 'lack of work' in my hometown...but I'd been promoted recently, so that felt odd. I ended up signing the NDA to get my severance pay, and I understand that there truly could have been a lack of work in my area, but the whole thing just felt suspicious."

    An NDA with a pen on top

    16. "I worked in Aerospace and had been there a little over two years. Recently married, I happily found out I was pregnant. Since part of my job required me sometimes to move heavy stuff, I told my immediate manager but did not officially tell the company. About a week later, my boss was approached by HR that he needed to cut back his department. Guess who he chose? It was his word against mine that he even knew."

    —Anonymous, 46, Canada

    17. "I worked so hard and so often at my customer service job at a startup company that I had doctor's appointments and wore braces because of how badly my arms and fingers hurt from typing. I stayed because I loved my coworkers and even babysat, watched dogs, and house-sat for the bosses. It was tight-knit. For years. I finally realized how unhappy and unfulfilled I was, so I applied and interviewed for another job and got the offer. I told the boss that I was considering it to be courteous, and he counter-offered with some options for me to stay. So I did. I helped them hire and train a new customer service person thinking I was helping in the transition."

    a woman doing her customer service job

    18. "I was covering for my manager while she was on leave, so I was doing two jobs while I was also on a temporary promotion. I was monitoring her inbox and there was an email that gave no clues in its subject line. I opened it and it was an email advising that every one of my substantive grades across the department was being made redundant. It wasn't even marked private, confidential — nothing. My senior managers didn't even have a clue. It was horrible!"


    19. "I was probably the most loyal employee at a college bookstore for eight and a half years, I was really close with the boss and his family, and did every job there at one point or another, as needed. Checks began to bounce, but I thought they would get me back like they always did. They were beginning to show signs of going out of business, but they were trying so hard. So when they told me we were closing for a week to evaluate the situation, I believed them. At the end of the week, I called and called, no response. Eventually, I went into the store, found the two bosses there, and asked what was up. They closed the main business and no longer needed me for the smaller side."

    a man looking over paperwork

    20. "I was an hourly worker at a publishing business. We had a really fun team but stressed out management. One day, seemingly out of nowhere, our manager offered me a promotion to a salaried supervisor position. Knowing that the promotion would involve heavy unpaid overtime, I responded that I was flattered, but I wanted to stay hourly so that I could take some university classes in the spring. The next day, I got a layoff notice along with most of our team, except for one colleague who had hired in with me and had obviously been offered the promotion I’d turned down. Turns out our main local competitor had poached a major client. By the following Friday, most of us had picked up jobs with the competitor, doing basically the same project. I don't know what happened to the newly promoted supervisor, with no client and no team."

    —Eklektika, 37, Colorado

    Have you ever been laid off in a very problematic way? If so, tell us what happened in the comments below.