We spend the majority of our lives at work, just working our lives away. Some people are lucky enough to make it through their entire careers without experiencing any sort of drama, but most people will have to deal with some unfortunate situation at their workplace. That likelihood is increased tenfold if you work in human resources. Here is the weirdest thing human resources employees have seen at work:
#1 Hiding Away
This happened at the university where I used to work. A guy had a nasty divorce and set up a cot in the basement under the structures lab. I don't know how he tolerated that, it was loud from the big hydraulic pumps running all the time and probably averaged about 35°C. Plus, the ceiling was about 1.5 meters high, the floor was covered in grime and oil, and the place stank. He was gone before I started, but I heard he'd been living there for a few months before getting caught.
#2 Homeless At The Uni
At the university where I work, they found a homeless woman living in an unused office. Kind of smart, actually. Not now, of course, with universities shut down, but generally, universities are safe places, well-patrolled, with clean restrooms and students dropping change and abandoning uneaten food. During normal times, there's always a bake sale or hot dog sale going on.
Almost every day there's an organization offering free pizza if you go listen to their talk about careers or trends in the energy sector. If you get bored, there are free concerts and talks, and no one will notice you in a crowded lecture hall. Or you can just go read books or magazines in the library. Keep yourself clean and tidy, and you can be homeless for a long time at a university.
#3 Tunnel Concerts
At my university, there were steam tunnels or underground passages for big pipes carrying steam to heat the buildings. One of the music grad students made his own little living area in one of the tunnels. He stole books from the music library and lined the tunnel with them. He STOLE A HARPSICHORD and would have little concerts for his friends, in the tunnel. He later started a cult.
#4 What A Huge Mess
I used to work in HR at a large corporation. There was a big HR back-office team doing a lot of processing and data entry including employee's bank info for their salary. It just so happened that on the same day two employees with the same name started, and a huge mess ensued. First, the banking information was entered for the wrong person, one of them realized and had it corrected, but the other wasn't fixed so both salaries went to one person.
The unpaid guy started refusing to come to work, but payroll said that the payment cleared and the account was in his name, so he was terminated for refusing to come to work. He kept calling and the HR support team kept misidentifying him as the other guy who was still working for us, so when they raised a ticket to get his bank information changed they changed the info of the wrong guy, so now the guy who doesn't work for us is getting paid the salary of a guy who does.
When this was finally worked out the first guy was given his job back, but on his first day back security misidentified him and issued him a badge of the other employee, so now he was clocking hours for the other guy and not getting paid again because he never clocked in for himself. It took about three months for all this to be worked out. Moral of the story? Use a freaking email address to identify people.
#5 Same Name Problems
I don't have a common name but it turns out that someone at my company has the exact same name as me. So when I got hired they deleted my account because they thought that I was a duplicate employee account. This resulted in getting locked in the parking lot for half an hour until someone came and badged me out my first day after orientation. That was just one of the many issues I encountered.
#6 Inefficient System
I had a coworker who was hired as a temp, left for about six months, was hired back full time, and worked for 1.5 years before his account was wiped because it was designated as belonging to an inactive temp. He had a common name, and apparently, about two months later, his new account was wiped again, after a person with the same name quit. It really put a lot of confidence in our IT system.
#7 Clearly A Liar
A guy came into the interview in sweatpants and a hoodie. He said he didn’t need the job because of how much money he was making illegally, but he wanted to have a job so the IRS didn’t get suspicious. The weirdest part is this wasn't in America... I very much doubt what the IRS cares about Canadian tax returns. He didn’t have any American addresses or jobs on his resume, but I honestly don’t believe a word he told me all interview so who knows.
#8 Equally Traumatizing
I had to counsel an employee who went on a walk and witnessed a horrible crime during a domestic dispute happening in our parking lot. I also had to sit with an employee who was so tipsy she couldn’t sit up straight in her chair. She kept reaching over for her bottle of "orange juice." I waited three hours for her husband to show up and when he did, he was tipsy too. I had to refuse to let her go and then follow him and drop her off at home.
#9 A Creative Lie
I used to work at a staffing agency that placed people in manufacturing positions. Everyone had to be tested at the office as part of the orientation. If the tests came back as “inconclusive,” we’d send the potential hire to a medical lab. They would take another test and the lab could determine if the person was on a prescription or using illegally (and therefore, not eligible for hire).
One guy failed his test at the lab. He came back to the office claiming that it wasn’t his fault. He explained that he was riding in a car and he stuck his head of the window. Then, when the car passed under a bridge, someone threw a bunch of substances off the bridge. He said it hit him in the face, and he accidentally inhaled it.
#10 Not Safe For Work
An IT guy who worked the overnight shift (because he was doing support for our Asia and Europe regions) got written up for improper use of company systems. He had dozens, if not hundreds of Google image searches related to foot fetish stuff. Like celebrity feet along with other random stuff like “cute toes,” etc. Like dude... YOU’RE IN IT. You KNOW this stuff is tracked and that your boss could easily monitor it.
#11 The New Receptionist
The new receptionist was coming in every morning and opening up programs and documents to make it look like they were busy, and they'd sit with one hand on their mouse and one hand on their keyboard and stare blankly at their screen for eight hours a day and not do anything. They'd also consistently pick up the phone and hang it up without saying anything so that it would stop ringing.
I sat in on their termination, and the employee started screaming at the manager about how they were doing an amazing job, and they had to give them another chance... I was 100% confident that they were just trying to get some easy money and wouldn't be surprised that they were finally getting fired, the whole thing was just bizarre.
#12 Back And Forth
A call center employee called HR to complain about their supervisor: “He’s abusive... he won’t even let me leave my desk.” The supervisor called HR to complain about the employee: “Can you please tell her that she’s allowed to leave her desk. Oh my god... she’s going in her trashcan!” It may sound humorous, but there were significant mental issues at the heart of this.
#13 A Fun Surprise
The family of the guy who passed away came to speak to us (it was in a factory environment) to get pension documents, etc. We sent them away with a to-do list. One hour later, reception pinged us saying his family was here. Strange. The documents take a few days to get. Nope. New family. Yup. The guy had two different families. This one was about to have a fun surprise.
#14 Not Tech Savvy
One of my relatives worked in tech support for a really high-profile company in Silicon Valley during the height of the dot com boom. Some guy who desperately wanted to work there was emailing his resume to HR one thousand times every day. Several times a day, the number of emails would get too overwhelming. So the people in HR would just select all the emails in the inbox and delete all of them, whether the emails were from the applicant or not. My relative had to show them how to filter emails from the applicant.
#15 Dog Demands
I work HR for a call center. The entire company has around 500 employees, maybe 250 of them are in the call center. Entry-level work, tiny bit more than minimum wage. A girl started her first week doing really well and then week two got really weird. She walked into the CEO's office (on another floor in the building) WHILE HE WAS MEETING WITH SOMEONE, to demand that he buy her a dog because she thought having a companion would improve her work performance. That was the entirety of her rationale.
#16 Surviving The Real World
I knew many people like this in college. I ran in pretty weird circles so I met a lot of real characters. Usually, they had undiagnosed or untreated mental health issues and were very sheltered by their parents. No sense of normal social boundaries and a heaping dose of entitlement. This is the kind of stuff they would do at jobs and school. No idea how they are surviving in the real world. Likely still living with their parents and hopping from one call center to the next. Many never finished their degrees. Kind of sad really. I also know people who got help and are now living happy stable lives.
#17 Layoffs Upon Layoffs
My dad works in HR. He just told me about a day when they had to lay off about half of the company. It was crazy—there were a whole lot of moving parts that day. Unfortunately, in all the craziness, no one remembered to tell this one new hire that sadly the position he was hired for was no longer affordable. So he came into the office only to see everyone clearing out their desks and leaving. And then... he got laid off. An hour into his first day. He said the guy understood, but it was the most horrible he ever felt for someone in his life.
#18 Workplace Tragedy
Obscuring a few details here, you'll understand why in a second. There was a mid-level supervisor at a state agency I NEVER got along with. The guy was nasty, argumentative, a real piece of work, but still had a decent amount of people loyal to him.
I come in one day and he's not there. Everyone was distraught. Turns out, law enforcement had come after the guy. Rather than arrest him immediately, they gave him the option to return home, settle his affairs, maybe call his lawyer. He took the opportunity to simply end himself instead. The next couple of weeks was just damage control among the staff when the details came out. A horrible situation all around.
#19 This Woman...
We had a woman who was terrible at her job. She was always off sick and never met a deadline. Anyway, a protocol was followed—some people had given her half decent staff reviews to get rid of her, so she called in the union to support her. This dragged the process. Then, when she got the final papers, she sent them back saying she couldn't be fired since she was pregnant. This woman was 54.
It turned out she had frozen eggs so she defrosted them etc. The process of proving no discrimination then began. Six months went by and she got served again. The papers came back and it turns out she had provided a false passport when hired. She was actually in her 60s. In the end, they gave her early retirement to get it over with.
#20 You're Fired
I had to see a video of a guy who had an accident in his pants during work while running to the restroom because his manager wouldn’t let him leave a meeting early... the guy had IBD and the manager knew this, so the video shows him running down the hall and literally a few feet from the restrooms, he couldn't hold it in anymore. He looked to be in pain because he kinda collapsed, and then got back up. People were baffled. The manager was fired.
#21 Good Riddance
Not HR but IT. We had a guy immediately start using his work computer to watch sensitive material. Now, this immediately caused some alarms to go off in IT. Because it was my job to keep an eye on stuff like this, I decided to do this guy a solid because it was his first day. The guy got all kinds of upset at me and stormed off to HR to lodge a complaint against me for trying to tell him how to do his job. The dude got fired, long story short.
#22 The Worst Candidate
Not in HR, but a hiring manager. The candidate made a remark that made me do a double-take (don't remember exactly what, just a small cue that I picked up on). I made sure he understood that we will not tolerate any racism at all, and he proceeded to rattle off multiple racial slurs to show how he couldn't be racist if he was comfortable enough to use those words. Obviously, he didn't get hired, so he proceeded to contact our HR department to complain that I somehow tricked him into saying what he said.
#23 Bobcat Invasion
I no longer work in HR or at this company, but it's my favorite story from my time there. Our benefits team made the decision to eliminate reserved parking as lots of employees were frustrated when they walked past dozens of empty spots in the reserved lots every day. This new policy applied to all of the company's locations.
Of course, the benefits manager received hundreds of complaints in the first few days from people insisting they needed an exception for their own personal spot. The best reason by far was from one person who "needed a spot close to the door because they were terrified of bobcats". No other context. We didn't have bobcats near the corporate office so at first, we thought they meant construction equipment? Turns out, there actually were sightings of bobcats, like the animal, near this person's location.
Last I heard they were told to arrive earlier to get a closer spot and didn't get an exception.
#24 Parking Spot Drama
People are freaking crazy about "their parking spot." We have an early Saturday shift that consists of myself and four other guys. One guy came into the office ticked off, grabbed the keys to a company pickup, and moved it across the parking lot. I asked what his problem was. He said, "I'm sick of these jerks parking in my spot."
Our parking lot is not reserved in any way and there were 90+ open parking spots at this point in time, but he went through all the effort to park his vehicle, come into the building, get the key for the company pickup, move the pickup, and move his vehicle to "his" parking spot. I was speechless.
#25 With0ut A Trace
I work at my family's business in the industrial sector, and HR is one of the hats I wear. 2018 was insanely busy for us, so we had to hire a staffing agency to get some general labor guys in. It's a simple wax-on, wax-off kind of job.
The most memorable part of that hectic summer was one temp that the agency sent over for the third shift. We will call him Bobby for this story. Bobby shows up wearing nothing but a pair of cargo shorts, so we had to provide pants, shirts, and steel toes. Come break time at 4 p.m., he decided to go out to the parking lot and scale the building (about 30 feet, probably climbed a tree or something). He managed to turn the security camera away from the parking lot.
Bobby then walked away from the job and went home in the uniform and boots we provided for him. We assumed he wanted to break into some of the cars, but nothing was gone. It ended up costing probably $300 for training, the uniform, and just wasting our time.
#26 Pet Cemetery
The cemetery keeper admitted that he buries animals that die in the cemetery in occupied graves. Police wouldn't investigate as it was unlikely they'd be able to convict him. The employer wouldn't tackle it either as he was old and litigious. So someone's nanna is currently bunk bedding with some muntjac and apparently that's okay. I wonder when archeologists find graves with animals and conclude they were buried with their pets if it was really something more like this.
#27 The Odd Application
This was in the early 2000s when people still sent paper applications. I worked for a gaming company, so we got a fair amount of unsolicited applications, usually young people trying to break into the industry. But this application letter was extra-special. It started with: "I am in the center of an international conspiracy," followed by two tightly printed A4 pages of the freakiest stuff imaginable.
He wanted a job with us because "he needed to lay low for a while before he could get out of the country." We were suitably freaked out by the mere fact that he had our office address, chose not to reply, and forwarded the whole thing to corporate HR.
#28 Big Power Move
My wife works in HR. She had to question a high-ranking employee about an incident where a lower-ranking employee —who was being talked to about her inappropriate wardrobe choices which clearly violated company policy—decided in an act of protest to take out her chest and smack it down on the table. She asked him in her thick New England accent: “Is this too much cleavage for you?”
#29 In Plain Sight
One of the dumbest things: an employee that worked night audit at a hotel parked his car at the entrance and would occasionally go out there to drink a bottle of in full view of the cameras. He didn't even sit in his car to drink! Just grabbed the bottle out of the car each time and drank in the open. Seriously, he could have put it in a water bottle and drank at the desk and would have not been caught as soon as he was. If at all!
#30 There's Always One
Not in HR, but a tech manager, who was hiring. After struggling to get some decent profiles for a few days, I escalated the HR dept and "explained" to them the impact of this on the project delay. They dumped a bunch of about 50 profiles on me in response. Many were just junk but one profile stood out. It started decently.
Topmost college, engineering in computer science, many pet projects, top companies on the front page. But this is where it went bizarre. The candidate claimed that he is sick of corporates. He wants to modify his pet software as a tool to help bad people. I did not have the guts to go through any further. Needless to say, the concerned HR got an earful.
#31 Someone Else's Problem
I’m not in HR but my sister-in-law used to be one for a large Canadian tech firm. An executive at the company got very tipsy at a conference in Vegas and the company got a call from the hotel saying they’d have to pay for outside contractors. He had rubbed his mess all over the walls of his hotel room and the hotel cleaning staff refused to deal with it.
#32 Not This Time
I had someone interviewing for a job and he asked bluntly the name of our president. We told him and he straight up said: "I can get hired right now and do a much better job than the president. It will be a fool for you all not to hire me." He was applying for an entry-level customer service assistant job. Oh and he also cussed up a storm during the interview.
#33 The Fabrication
I got a call from a woman I'd never spoken to, asking when she could start. She'd received a job offer after interviewing with a manager for a customer service position, she told me, but no one ever contacted her about a start date or pre-employment processes like a background check, and it had been a month.
After a lengthy investigation, it came out that this manager had fabricated a job opening and offered it to this woman in an attempt to impress her. She quit her job (but, it should be noted, did not respond to the manager's romantic overtures) with the expectation of joining my company. She got a settlement (with an NDA) and the guy who "hired" her was fired. There was also a guy who faked his son's death for some extra PTO.
#34 Employee Of The Year
Not exactly weird but... I work in HR and we have two people with the exact same name but in different departments. This still causes confusion sometimes but the most awkward was last year at the Christmas party. We have this annual "employee of the year" award and the name was announced before mentioning the department or other info, although I warned the MC not to do that, as we had two people with the same name. Let's just say the wrong one got the most excited until he realized it wasn't him.
#35 A Big Secret
Not HR but a company I worked at, some employees were playing squash or similar racket sport at a gym. One of the guys who had been working there for over a year was a nice guy. At the gym, someone recognized him and called the police. He was arrested shortly afterward by armed police, for an assassination attempt on the King of Spain. He had fled the country and was using a false name.
#36 The Tape
My mom once represented a primary school caretaker (janitor) at a disciplinary meeting. He'd filmed himself with his girlfriend on the school premises, with the school camera, and left the tape in it where it was subsequently found by another member of staff. Obviously, he was immediately suspended and they took the keys to the building off of him... So he broke into the school that night to try and get the tape back. Needless to say he didn't keep the job!
#37 She Messed Up
I had an officer get a DUI, had huge drinking problems. She was resigning in lieu of elimination. She was getting out on a Friday, but that Monday, her urinalysis came back hot. CID called her in and she waived all her rights. She gave CID and our command everything we needed to court-martial her. She thought if she didn't confess, they'd do an investigation and she wouldn't get out on Friday. Turns out, the only thing to stop her resignation was a court-martial. Also, she was a military police officer.
#38 The Wrong Gamble
Tech company. One guy harassed a customer at our own company's product showcase and conference. The customer complained and it went directly to the CEO. The guy was fired the next day. His boss tried to argue it wasn't that big of a deal and we shouldn't fire him and tried to leverage himself. "If he goes then I'll go." Spoiler, they both went.
#39 Those Dang Seagulls
A music teacher hated his principal. This is a seacoast town, so he would leave bread on the principal's car to attract seagulls. Now, if you ever get close to one, you'll notice that seagulls are really big birds. They eat fish and garbage. So the principal would find his car covered in revolting, corrosive seagull excrement. I mentioned this to a friend who went to school with the music teacher, who told me that the principal was the guy's father in law.
#40 All On Video
Years ago, I worked in HR for a retail store. A manager would always clock out on time, however, the alarm wouldn't be set until about 30 to 45 minutes after he clocked out. Since we had a lot of trouble with internal theft, we assumed he was stealing. Loss prevention approved the installation of cameras across all stores, but we were told not to talk about it to see if we could catch any internal theft.
The way the ceiling was set up, the cameras weren't too obvious, but if you knew what to look for it was quite noticeable. Anyway, it turned out this dude was seeing a younger co-worker (he was 25 expecting his first child with his wife). Our regional manager of loss prevention saw the footage and had to turn it over to the police. The real kicker is the girl's dad was a captain on the police force.
#41 A Happy Twist
I worked in HR for a couple of years now, mostly for large firms managing facilities within properties. One of the strangest cases was brought about because a client asked us to review CCTV footage as he'd driven past the office late at night and noticed the motion sensor lights inside going on and off. He was concerned there had been a break-in.
It turned out our night security officer who's primary role is to monitor cameras from the control room was skipping up and down the corridors because "he felt too full of energy" and had to get it out of his system somehow. Watching the footage of him skipping featuring the occasional star jump through vacant corridors for 20 minutes at 1 a.m. really made my day.
#42 The Case Of The Printer
Not in HR, but I worked in security about 20 years ago. I came into work as one of our night shift guys was getting fired for printing out sensitive pictures. It turned out, he was viewing them on a company computer and printing them out, but couldn’t find the printer he was going to. The manager of purchasing came in the next day to a stack of printed out pictures on his printer. Somehow, IT was able to backtrack the credit card being used for all of it and it was his.
#43 The Worst Notification
I worked in HR and IT at a start-up for a few years. Being the only tech-savvy guy on the HR team, I managed our HRIS (Human Resources information system) which had all of the employee information in it and I would get notifications emailed to me for important to-do items like on and offboarding employees, setting up accounts, things like that.
A few months ago, there was a big layoff and about 10% of the company was being let go. Automated emails started pouring in to start removing access for people and then I got an email that I needed to remove my own access. I found out I was being let go by an automated email, telling me that I needed to remove my own access.
#44 A Little Loopy
We had a cashier who refused to work at a certain register because it was enclosed while all the others were open. Her reason was that one of the sales clerks in the hardware department was waiting for the right moment to end her, and she wanted to be able to have an escape route when it happened. How did she know the clerk—who she never really interacted with—was planning on ending her? "You can just see it in his eyes."
She didn't want us to solve her problem with the clerk, mind you. She just wanted a fighting chance of escape when the inevitable happened. That employee's doctor soon took her off work for quite some time to get her meds straight.
#45 The Voicemail
I was recruiting for an entry-level job—think an administrator at a call center—and I gave a candidate a call to request an in-person interview. The call went to voicemail and her greeting was her rapping about her lingerie business. Several team members gave her a call that day to hear the greeting. Another employee once asked me for his own private room (in a shared office space) because he farted a lot.
#46 Warped Views
I once had an employee who had monthly miscarriages. I was overwhelmed the first time she told me it happened. Eventually, I realized she was getting her period. She would cry and wail over her new miscarriage. Sad really. Her husband actually came to talk to me and he explained that she was taught period equals miscarriage. Religion had really warped her life. She was super nice and normal except for period stuff. She was in her 30s.
#47 The Side Hustle
I didn't work in HR but bear with me for a bit. I worked at a locally run worldwide IT firm. A young lady was performing extra jobs for "frustrated" employees in the parking lot during her business day. What would you use to schedule something like this? Why the company email system of course. She was the one who worked in HR. I guess everyone has to have a side hustle these days.
#48 Shady HR
I was a contractor and had worked with a few of the departments in the building. HR was one of them. I was out at a bar in a different city and saw about six or seven of the HR reps sitting on the other side ripping shots. They recognized me and called me over to take a few shots with them. I ended up getting plowed with them and at the end of the night, they asked me to keep everything I heard on the down-low. I laughed and said, "Who am I going to report it to anyway, you are all here."
#49 Low Key DJ
One of our contractors on a help desk project worked was on call for overnight shifts. He had a knack for getting to the office and addressing tickets super quickly. Someone noticed the printer ran out of ink at a ridiculous rate. They followed a literal paper trail into a closet where they found his sleeping bag and about 5,000 flyers advertising his DJ gig. My man was literally living in a government facility and moonlighting as a DJ.
#50 Zero To 100
In college, I worked as a filing clerk for the facilities department (groundskeepers, janitors, maintenance, etc). I had to file notices and letters from the school to the employees along with their time cards and such. Apparently, one guy got arrested and the letters went from the span of “we’ve put you on vacation” to “you’re fired and if you come back we will have you arrested (again)” in about four hours. I don’t know what he did but I could see the higher-ups getting more and more pissed with each letter.