20 Human Resource Employees Dish On Their Worst HR Nightmare Stories

Published 1 year ago

One imagines that working in human resources is a thankless job. They are expected to protect the company from the actions of employees while also mediating in human-to-human conflict scenarios encountered within a business to ensure all parties are satisfactorily represented and honestly, I’m sure the lines can get somewhat blurry. 

Rather than limiting ourselves to speculation though, the world of Reddit has opened up our scope of understanding. Folks have once more stepped up to share their experience and knowledge on the subject of HR under the veil of anonymity. So let’s dive into a barrage of nightmare experiences that real-life reps of HR had to deal with in their workplaces.

More info: Reddit

Read more


Image source: AliMcGraw, Monstera

Government employer. Agency management fired a popular program manager with about ~250 employees under him who all love him. He’s entitled to a public hearing about his dismissal if he desires, which he demands, after his HR meeting and his private hearing before the agency brass.

Everybody packs into the auditorium, all 250 of his employees there to advocate for him. His lawyer gives an opening statement about how he’s been fired for caring too much and for refusing to cut corners the agency brass wanted cut and for protecting his people from politicians trying to score political points and blah blah blah. Cheers from the crowd.

Our HR director stands up. She’s booed. She informs the hearing that they guy forged every single one of his employees’ required-by-law assessment forms that determined raises and promotions. He forged the signatures of all 250 people there, and filled the forms randomly. She puts examples of the forgery up on screen. It’s obvious. He ran out of time, and didn’t want to get reprimanded for disorganization (a long running but minor problem with him), so he forged a s**t ton of government documents.

250 people walked right out of the hearing, FURIOUS. He hadn’t told any of them the real reason he got fired! He told them it was random retaliation for being awesome. He knew the agency had all this evidence; it had been presented to him twice before and he had admitted he’d done it! It was INSANE. I guess he figured he had nothing to lose by punting. He became such a pariah he had to move.


When my wife was pumping, she’d put the milk in an insulated lunch bag and keep it in the break room fridge. She kept it discreet. Someone must have looked in the bag because HR informed her she could no longer keep milk there because an anonymous coworker complained that knowing the milk was there made him think about breasts (!?). They also told her she had to pump in the bathroom. My wife refused and quoted the law that requires companies to provide a room to pump in. HR lady wasn’t having it. My wife threatened to sue and informed them that the optics of all this would be bad seeing it was breast feeding awareness week and the company was involved in the cause. Long story short, HR lady barely kept her job, had to apologise to my wife, and had to go to sensitivity training.

Image source: CaptainAwesome06


Image source: Antepast8, Liz Henry

There was a dude in our other facility that was going around and wiping their a*s and shoving the s**t back up into the toilet paper dispenser so that when the next person goes to reach …


Image source: Dr_Kintobor, SHVETS production

My friend who worked in HR told me about her old job where the boss had drilled a hole from his office through to the ladies changing rooms and was perv whacking it every chance he could get. They found out because someone saw the light through the hole as he took the cover off for a peek. He denied everything and they had to take a dna sample from the carpet under the hole which confirmed it was a) him and b) that he had indeed been whacking away.


Image source: AmazingPass0, Polina Zimmerman

I had a friend working a GM when HR thought it was a good idea to test everyone on the skill set needed for their department regardless of how long they were in their position. Long careers, 15, 20, 25 years were ruined because even though they worked there for a long time with a long string of great performance reviews, they didn’t pass the test that measured what HR thought was required for the department.

Say your a materials expert working in a design department. You may know barely enough in the CAD system to draw a cylinder. On the other hand, given a cylinder, you can whip out all the properties that cylinder would have if it were made from aluminum, cold rolled steel, fiber glass etc. You’d be out of your job because HR said you had to have a certain level of CAD expertise even if it wasn’t relevant to your role in the design process.


Image source: Uranoscopy7, ThisIsEngineering

Came in to work early for a morning shift (work in an industrial lab). Heard noises from the back corner of the office portion of the building but can’t make out what they are because of distortion. Head that way to see what was going on as I was the only one there (so I thought) at 3 am. See my lab manager f*****g the district manager (her boss) while the HR Rep for the district is sitting there … enjoying the view. I NOPED and went to the lab and tried to forget what happened.


Image source: UniqueConstraint, Inzmam Khan

Manufacturing, long story short, the company uses some pretty dangerous equipment and machines. The manufacturing floor and warehouse had started to have some safety issues, so they decided to start doing random drug tests.

60% failed, including the best friend of the owner. This same person was responsible for several of the safety issues mentioned above and was directly responsible for two people being injured while on the job due to negligence on his part. So what did HR do?

Nothing. The owner was one of the people that failed.


Image source: xeroxbulletgirl, RedWolf

We had a woman show up to work in a fishnet shirt and a black bra, which basically meant she was wearing a bra around the office because the fishnet did nothing to hide her skin. Her male manager came to me with an exhausted look on his face and asked me to come talk to his employee about dress code. I had to take the 40+ year old woman into an office and explain she had to go home and change, and no, she wouldn’t be paid during her time away from the office because she violated dress code.

She demanded I call my boss (regional HR director) because she said I was lying and being a racist. We made the call, she got sent home for the full day without pay, and we wrote her up for it. She left shouting about how I was a racist and she was going to file a complaint.

This lady eventually got fired for a bunch of other insanity, including having sex with a coworker in our parking lot with the door open.

I’m very glad I no longer work in HR.


Image source: AmzeyWamzey, cottonbro studio

I work for the civil service in the HR department, and I’ve heard some crazy things. A lot comes to mind, but I suppose the first thing that I thought of was the time that we were clearing out room old paperwork and I was relatively new. Some of the older colleagues were commenting on some of the files we were finding as they remembered the cases. Things like “Oh I remember this woman, she got married to this guy in the Post Office” or “This guy go through Stage 4 cancer, good for him”.

One of the files they picked up they just said casually “Remember this job? He’s the one that stabbed his manager in the face and ended up with a promotion. Crazy.” … and just moved right on past. I was like woooah hold up, I need the end to that story please.

Turns out they were out for a Christmas dinner and this guy had a fight with his manager, grabbed a steak knife and stabbed him in the cheek. Because of some strange circumstances at the time in government and who he was connected to, they couldn’t or wouldn’t fire him so they decided to transfer him to a different department. Only that there were no more positions left at his grade, and he wouldn’t settle for a lower grade so they ended up promoting him to a higher position including all benefits and pay. Civil service eh?


Image source: Blapopotamus, Pavel Danilyuk

Ok, here goes:

I am not in HR, but I worked at a small company (approx. 50 people) who hired a new receptionist (I’ll call her Jen). She was nice enough, though the more I talked to her, the more I caught her in little lies about her life/family/etc. I thought it was weird but just a quirk, nothing major.

One day, we get an email from HR that sadly, Jen’s husband had passed away and there was a collection for flowers, etc. Everyone felt terrible, she was only mid-thirties, no kids, and had talked fondly of this guy (I’ll call him Frank). She got 2 weeks off for bereavement, and came back as shaken up as anyone who just lost their spouse would be.

One day, I had to cover the reception area while Jen took a break. Imagine my surprise when I get a call asking for her…from her husband! I asked who it was, and made him repeat it, and he repeated, “This is Frank, Jen’s husband.” I wasn’t sure if it was a prank or a goddamn ghost, but I freaked out and didn’t tell anyone for months.

When I was finally ready to quit that job, my coworkers took me out for a goodbye party. I got drunk and mentioned the story to the HR lady, thinking I was going to shock her with my secret knowledge. “Oh yeah,” HR lady says, “we know. She wanted 2 more weeks of vacation, which she got as bereavement. But there’s nothing we can do about it because she knows the company President is sleeping with half of the admins and threatened to blackmail him.”

Great place to work. I also got harassed by my boss for months, and HR told me not to make a big deal of it because “he said he was sorry.”


Image source: thot_sauce, Azra Tuba Demir

I am on the HR team that supports a wide variety of US cities for our company, including our colorful Florida locations. This is the best story I heard.

We had some woman trying to avoid doing work by sitting out in her car in the parking lot. While she was hiding out there, she needed to use the restroom. Well, instead of going back inside (or doing literally anything else) she decides to pee out her car window. Even though I am also a woman, I was impressed and disgusted by the physics behind this feat. She had stuck her bare a*s outside the window and just went for it. Unbeknownst to her, her male co-worker had arrived at work late due to an appointment. He drove past to find a parking spot as this was happening, and got full view. He then reported the incident to us.

One of our HR people had to investigate this, and sure enough, parking lot cameras could corroborate his story. Our HR person confronted the woman. Her response: “Well how did he know it was me?? It could have been anyone.” We thought, ok fair enough. The cameras aren’t CSI grade zoom, so we only saw the a*s part. It was harder to completely identify the face. So we went back to the male peer and asked how he knew it was her. His response? “Oh it was definitely her. The face tattoos are pretty recognizable.”

We definitely don’t get paid enough for this.

EDIT: for you investigative sleuths out there…our cameras are not as amazing as you think they are. It’s a parking lot, not the white house. The one camera that caught the event didn’t have hyper zoom on the license plate. That’s why we have a witness.


My mom doesn’t reddit so I will type this out for her:

“We received an outside email with a photo attachment, the photograph was of a nurse we employed with what looked like a glass pipe is some sort on her lap. The email alleged that she was an addict, we found out later it came from an ex-girlfriend she had just broken up with. It prompted us to go seek out the nurse, when we arrived at her desk she was on the phone with a patient but visibly nodding off. We requested she come to the HR office to with us to talk, then we confronted her with the allegation. She denied everything and agreed to a drug test. Instead of sending her to an outside lab we had one send technicians to our office building to administer the test, that’s when things went south. She began telling us she needed to go out to her car (we believe this was because she planned to use synthetic urine or someone else’s and us not sending her to an outside lab lost her the opportunity to do that) and we flatly told her that leaving the bathroom would be noted as a refusal to take the test which would mean an automatic termination. This woman proceeded to throw a tantrum on the floor of the bathroom for the next 7 hours of the day (we had to shut down that entire bathroom, other employees started a rumor we were holding a pregnant woman hostage) and at lunch time she demanded a meal. So I went to the cafeteria, purchased her a sandwich and drink, and then she at it on the bathroom floor!! After hours of tears and yelling 5pm rolled around, she calmly stood up and said ‘it’s the end of my shift so I’ll be leaving now’. We repeated to her that leaving would *still* be considered a refusal and grounds for immediate termination. At this time the technician (who had also been there watching all this for the last 7 hours) tried to intervene and talk some sense into her. Eventually she reluctantly agreed to a buccal swab rather than a urine test, and then she left for the day. Needless to say, the results we got back were Positive and she was terminated as well as reported to the licensing boards. I though that was the end of it until several weeks later when she called to complain her insurance card was no longer valid and she couldn’t pick up a prescription. This turned into an hour long discussion about how losing employment also means losing the benefits. “

Image source: kellieos


I don’t work in HR but I do have a nightmare HR story. When I was on my gap year I worked a part time job as a fitness instructor at a leisure centre. One of my coworkers, call him Bill, was a nice guy and I would often sit and chat to him on my breaks etc. Long term GF and baby at home.

As part of my job I used to teach spinning classes on a fairly regular basis. I would normally leave my phone in the staff room while I was teaching, or behind the reception desk. Both these places were secure and my phone had a passcode on it. I didn’t want it going off while I was teaching because the when it received calls/texts it interfered with the stereo in the spin studio. I didn’t have a locker or anything where I could store it.

Sometime in around January I was at at uni for an interview weekend. My girlfriend at the time had come to pick me up and while she was waiting in the car, she was scrolling through my messages on my iPad. When I got in the car she showed me one of my chats and said why did you send this video to Bill? I had no recollection of sending any videos to Bill, since I did not speak to him outside of work beyond “I’m going to be late” or similar.

I thought it was a mistake but as I scrolled further back up I saw that “I” had sent this same video to Bill a couple of weeks prior. Feeling thoroughly perplexed I clicked into the video and saw it was a video of me (20F) and my girlfriend (26F) on holiday in Thailand. I’d like to stress that it was not a sexual video, we were just joking around but we had just got out the shower and were both naked.

At this point I’m still thinking it’s some kind of big mistake as Bill is a nice guy with a baby at home. However, I look a little closer and realise that the dates / times of when “I” had sent these videos was at times I was teaching spin classes and therefore had left my phone unattended.

Bill, being the sicko he was, had the obviously seen me put my passcode into my phone during all the times we had been sat chatting on breaks etc. and had memorised it. He had then taken the opportunity to scroll through all my personal photos and videos when I had left my phone unattended to go and teach classes. I’m assuming that he had deleted the video once, hence why he had sent it to himself again a couple of weeks later. He’d also deleted the chat history from my iPhone but hadn’t realised it synced to my iPad (this was in around 2012 btw). I would only have been about 18/19 at the time when the videos were taken.

Obviously I reported this to my manager and to HR but it was a bit of a minefield for them to navigate. I don’t know what he told them but I imagine it was along the lines of saying I sent them to him of my own free will, how would he have known my password etc. It took a long while to get sorted but in the end he did get sacked, thankfully. The police also paid him a visit so I’m sure he had some explaining to do to his SO.

Image source: b0bbyk


Image source: skittlesnwhiskey, iPrice Group

Was once asked to investigate a sexual harassment situation where three different women were coming on to a male coworker throughout their shift. I took down the details, got the names, easy peasy investigation so I thought.

A week later, nobody by these descriptions or names had ever worked for the company. I decided to talk to the gentleman again. After a lengthy conversation where things didn’t quite stack up I asked him how these women communicated with him.

I s**t you not, with a straight face, he looks me in the eye and replies “telepathically” like I’m some kind of idiot.

I had never sent an employee for psychological evaluation up to that point and I hope never to have to again.

So yeah I was asked by a delusional schizophrenic to conduct a sex harassment investigation on the voices in his head.


I work in HR. Had an employee refer her bf (not 100% sure anyone knew they were dating, but they had a baby). So they work in the same building, but different areas. One day a new girl starts and he cheats. Find out him and new girl disappear at times. New girl harasses old gf (not sure if they really even broke up) and so the gf gets a peace order against the new girl. So we have to move the new girl to a different site. She quits and then the guy throws a fit and quits too. The gf eventually gets fired shortly as her work performance changes drastically.

Few weeks later I get employment verification request for the gf and the guy for a different state. I’m like….ok…

A year later he ends up murdering her and drives across numerous state lines with the toddler and drops the little one off with family back in our state. They eventually find him in a wooden area with a self inflicted gunshot wound.

Before they found him or the toddler I was made to deal with the FBI and local police as most of HR was new. This is when we discovered the managers had concerns about him. Might have been the one time I lost my cool with a manager. They never mentioned anything to HR about possible domestic violence.

Image source: Celtic_Dragonfly17


I was asked to translate for some visitors from the parent company at a celebration held by HR. I stopped translating around the time the director of HR started asking overly-personal, sexual questions to the two young HR “office ladies”. A couple days later, during a private b******t session, I recounted the story to a friend who happened to be a director from the parent company. He put on his professional hat and asked me to write it up and submit a complaint to the parent company’s HR.

Nightmare ensued. Local head of HR had been in charge of the sexual harassment avoidance training that had narrowly saved them from lawsuit. CEO of local company insisted that I bring the story out in public and talk to the director of HR “like an adult”. Parent company HR brought in HR from another local subsidiary to perform an investigation. It became painfully obvious who the whistleblower was.

Nothing came of the investigation that I heard about, but the next year was made to be a living hell for me by the local company. Even the office lady who had been the subject of the sexy inquisition resented the fact that she was in the center of a controversy.

I left that company as soon as I possibly could and was not saddened to hear of their bankruptcy and partition a couple of years later (they had other “issues” as well).

TL;DR Got harassed out of my job by HR after reporting HR director for sexual harassment.

Image source: baldbandersnatch


Image source: Phat3lvis, Karolina Grabowska

1) I had a bookkeeper that paid himself two checks every week. We did not catch it for a year.

2) Another bookkeeper quit and files for unemployment. He then claimed a claim with EEOC that he had a disability and we failed to make accommodations for him. The disability was alcoholism, and the accommodations were leaving early to attend AA meetings. Seriously, we had to hire a lawyer to fight that.

3) A guy I hired hurt himself on the first hour of the first day of work, he claimed he fell and hit his head on the wall. He was out for weeks on workman’s comp form the concussion. Then when he came back on light duty, he could only do desk work but managed to fall again in the bathroom and hit his head again. It took me 9-months to get rid of him. It turns out this was not his first rodeo, when I called his former employer the lady I spoke to made an offhand comment about workplace accidents and head injuries and the importance of cameras in the workplace

4) While doing a remodel of a museum, one of my employees helped himself to a gun that was on display. It was very ugly and embarrassing for everyone. My company was kicked off the job and banned from ever working for them again. I fired the guy and he filed a discrimination claim with EEOC because I did not fire the whole crew, just him.

I got more..


Image source: ChesterMcGonigle, Thought Catalog

My dad was pretty high up in HR for a F500 company, he had some great firing stories.

They had to fire one of their VPs because he was stealing bacon from the cafeteria every morning. He’d get his tray and put his newspaper over the bacon and then go through the cashier line. He lost a $200k/yr job over 60 cents worth of bacon every day.

He also handled the on the job deaths since it was a utility company. Since it was a power company, many of the power plants were cooled with water from natural bodies of water. The plants would have a water intake pipe submerged in a river for this purpose. They were big too, easily seven or eight feet in diameter.

The intakes would fill up with debris from time to time and they’d have to send a diver down into it to clean it out. The intakes used an impeller to pull in the water, which is basically just a big fan blade. The impeller would have to be stopped for the diver to go down in there. One time they sent a diver down there thinking the impeller was stopped, but it wasn’t. The diver was dead before they could pull him out. Evidently, there wasn’t much left of him and the company ended up having to shell out a lot of money for psychotherapy for the guys that had to go down in there and recover what was left of him.


Image source: AliMcGraw, Chris de Lima

A friend of mine who did HR for a museum just reminded me of this one: It was a history museum, dealing in famous people from American history, and one of the senior museum guys was an expert on … let’s say Alexander Hamilton. Gradually, over the course of a couple years, it became clear that at some point this guy had started believing *he was Alexander Hamilton.* Either literally, or reincarnated, or possessed — I have no idea. His e-mails only used words and phrases that appeared in Hamilton’s writing (which made for high hilarity when they wanted to talk about an interactive online exhibit), and when people insulted him/Hamilton he would start calling them 18th century names and get pissed they were impugning his/Hamilton’s honor. He started getting angry at the other museum guys if they tried to put “wrong” things in the Hamilton exhibit (things that didn’t suit his preferred narrative of Hamilton).

When he challenged another employee to a duel because he was angry at the verbiage on a sign explaining an exhibit item, they had to call the police and have him escorted off the premises and get a restraining order. It was INSANE.

(the figure was not Alexander Hamilton, but this guy did literally challenge another employee to a duel and appeared extremely ready to follow through, to the death. The police put him in the hospital with a psychiatric hold, I don’t know what happened after that.)


Image source: theouterworld, Cytonn Photography

As an office manager, I hired an employee and on the first day he was told to fill in his new hire paperwork. I put him in an office and come back in a while later and ask for the papers. He hands them over, and I scan them off to our HR dept. About twenty minutes later I get a call from our HR rep who thought it was pretty funny that he filled out their name as “Batman” on all his paperwork. So I have the guy re-do the paperwork, and he wrote his name as batman.

By the end of the day I had to get this new hire on a call with HR to have them explain to him that if he didn’t fill out the paperwork correctly he’d be out of the job. I had him in my office about once a week for one ridiculous thing after another until one day he comes in and announces that he’s changed his name, officially, to Batman. So, I get him the W-4 and paperwork, he fills it out and off we go. He’s Batman now. HR comes back and says they need the proof of name change so that they can update his withholdings. I tell Batman he needs to provide that so we can finish updating him in the system. No problem, I’ll bring it tomorrow he says. Three weeks go by where he’s telling me and HR he forgot again, then it got lost, etc. Turns out, he’d never actually changed his name.

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

Got wisdom to pour?



ask reddit, HR, HR nightmare, human resource problem, Human Resources, strange Human resource issues, work, workplace drama
Like deMilked on Facebook
Want more milk?
Hit like for a daily artshake!
Don't show this - I already like Demilked