Employees Share The Most Unethical Thing They've Been Asked To Do At Work.
This article is based on the AskReddit question "What is the most unethical thing you've been asked to do at work?"
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
1/24. I worked grave yard at a gas station. The owner came in all drunk one night and we were chatting. We talked about benign things and I mentioned that just found out I was pregnant. The first thing he said was "Good then I wouldnt have to wear a condom."
I was shocked but didn't say anything. Then he commented on my necklace. It had tiny handcuffs on it. He asked if thats how I liked it, handcuffed. After all of that and me refusing his requests politely, he said "How much money do I have to get out of the ATM to have you tonight?" My response was he'd better go home to his wife and kids before I called them to let them know where he was. He threatened to fire me.
The next day my manager pulls me aside and asks what happened. Then he asked if I would just keep it to myself. I told him I would if he'd take me off graveyards. Thats how I got to keep my job and work better hours.
2/24. I'm in IT. I was asked by an executive to delete sexually harassing emails he sent to a receptionist from our Exchange server. He thought they were private and she was talking about suing. He sent this request over email. I sent it to our HR/investigative units.
3/24. We would get a lot of stray cat dumps, and as you can imagine it's very costly but we did it anyway because you can't run an animal hospital and not love animals. Cats don't have amex cards.
Some strays were not very adoptable, we had a senior cat on a lot of meds that suffered seizures, and weirdo wire haired chihuahua that took a very long time to warm up to people (she bit, but had no teeth) and a house cat that had feline aids. We had them for years...
The owner was bought out by a corporation. The first thing the corp wanted to do was bring all the strays, even the residents to the humane society.
We rioted. It took a year to get them out one by one without causing too much upset but I tell you this, none of them went to a shelter.
4/24. I worked at a well-known automotive garage chain. Quit my second day on the job because while I was doing an oil change my manager told me to take out the customer's air filter, rub it on the ground outside, and show it to the customer so they believe it needs to be changed.
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5/24. I was asked to ignore 15 open 50-gallon drums that were filled with used phosphoric acid sitting out back of a workshop next to a stream. In the middle of a city. Heavy rains and hurricane winds tipped a few over one night, boss dumped one out on the ground because he needed the drum. When I quit I called the city on their asses.
6/24. Used to work in event management and was asked to ignore fire safety violations on a regular basis.
One time, we hosted a funeral for a sort of local celebrity, with 3500 people in attendance, at a venue that was licensed for 300. It was frighteningly obvious that any sort of mass panic would be absolutely disastrous, so two of the staff members decided to go behind management's back and call the police.
Another time, the boss at a venue refused to repair a broken heater in the middle of winter, with outside temperatures well below freezing. He told staff to simply use the gas oven to heat.
7/24. I used to work in a senior home which claimed to be "independent living" for the extraordinarily wealthy old, and let me tell you that place was a prison. Kitchen was regularly below health standards and the place was a ripoff for residents.
Our bosses step-mom moved in and was unable to move, and liability wise we weren't able to help her with anything, however boss would make an exception calling it "above and beyond care". Fuck that if she fell we all knew our ass was on the line. Also illegal petty cash boxes and hundred of off the book expenses for the boss. My buddy use to keep the books there and he actually gave up on asking how much he was doing that was illegal. Be very careful about what senior homes you send your loved ones to.
8/24. Years ago, I was working at a local pharmacy. The owner had always seemed like a revenue above all else kind of guy, often ranting at us pharm techs about not making enough money. One day we had a patient come with with a prescription for an expensive HIV medicine. So, I try to fill the prescription but notice that our inventory for this rarely filled drug was expired. I was filling out the forms for new inventory when the owner saw what I was doing and told me to fill the prescription with the expired medicine. I tried to explain but he silenced me with a glare. I looked to my coworkers for support but they averted their glances. I ended up filling the prescription but to this day I feel ashamed for not taking a stand against it. I quit the job a week later.
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9/24. The amount of factory managers that want the light curtains, area scanners, and other safety features disabled on their machines in the name of speeding up production is pretty appalling. That shit's there for a reason, and if I disable it my ass is on the line if/when your employee gets killed.
10/24. I work in documentary production and part of my job is to do annotated scripts for big international networks I'm sure a lot of people here watch. This is where you'll have to give references for every single line in your script, to prove to the network what you've written is 100% factual.
There was a line written by the scriptwriter / director that was not quite factual, due to the way it was worded. I suggested the line be reworded but he was adamant to have it that way, so of course the network came back to us and said either change the line or find a more concrete source. I searched and searched and couldn't find a source backing it up because of course the line was not factual! The director asked me to make nice with one of the experts in the topic and have him sign off on the line as a fact. I refused to do it, but the director went ahead and did it himself and the line made it into the final film. I get very frustrated every time I see the film on TV and hear the line.
11/24. I worked at a medical practice and the doctor would just throw medical waste and bags of used needles in the dumpster out back instead of properly disposing of it. I still don't understand why, he could have lost his license and got slapped with thousands of dollars in fines. Just goes to show, even if you graduated from Columbia medical school, you can still be a total idiot.
12/24. I was tasked with hiring someone to replace me. I went through a load of bad CVs and came up with a really great one. More educated than anyone at the company, great experience in relevant fields and friendly over the phone. Pleased with myself, I told my boss who told me to lose his file. I asked why, he was great. Well his name was Mohhammed and she didn't want a muslim working for us.
As soon as I finally believed she wasn't joking I was disgusted, stood up and asked her why not. Apparently because muslims disrespect women and he'll undermine her authority, what little they had anyway. I've honestly never been angrier in my life. This educated, well-spoken lovely guy, who was born in London and had been living in the country twice as long as her, wouldn't get the job because of his name and nothing else.
I chewed her out, told her how illegal this was and made to leave. I said "I have absolutely no respect for you" and she slapped me hard. I'm not a tough guy but I didn't break eye contact during that full arm slap. Just laughed and walked out with my stuff.
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13/24. Background: busy fast food restaurant right at the end of lunch rush.
There was some bread sitting on the counter and my manager asked me to put it in the cabinet where it went. As I was putting it away, a customer came up to me and said, "Excuse me, but that bread was on the floor, and someone picked it up and set it on the counter." I apologized and moved it back out of the cabinet, and asked my manager about it just in case the customer was confused or something. Her response? "Oh, just wait for the customer to leave and put it away once they're gone." Nope nope nope. B
14/24. I was working a part time job at a local gas station chain a few months back to make some extra cash. Near the end of my shift on my third day, I had a very drunk man come up to the counter to buy two large cases of beer. I asked him for his ID and it was shredded, taped back together, and outdated. He kept insisting he was a regular and it would be fine. I asked my trainer/manager for help and she actually made me sell the alcohol to this guy. I tried to protest but she told me it would cost me my job if I didn't. I admit I made the sale, but I immediately went on break and called the GM and the person above them and they refused to do anything. So I finished the remaining hour and quit.
15/24. I was asked to blame a client team member for a mistake I made as there was a financial implication to my company if it was one of our team members who was at fault. Didn't consider doing that once though...went above the person who asked me and told him it was my fault and I think it actually worked to my benefit long-term.
16/24. I used to work in construction as a fire protection services inspector. I would say I was asked to ignore something dangerous about 1 out of every 3 sites. They also thought nothing of asking me to ignore it like someone else has before.
I'm talking about things like:
an entire sprinkler system not actually connected in a brand new building.
fire exits that don't exit.
alarm systems that evacuate the wrong floor when smoke is detected.
Apparently I was the arsehole for refusing to issue a fire safety certificate until errors like this were fixed, things that usually take about an hour to fix - which I was happy to wait and watch them do.
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17/24. You know those recycle bins at super markets?
The glass ones get rather dangerous because you are transporting usually 20-30 pounds of sharp broken glass to the back of a truck to go to a plant.
My former bosses expected me to do that by myself in pouring rain/snow where I have to lift the container practically over my head to dump in this bigger container.
All for minimum wage.
18/24. We had a flood at a car dealership I worked at. The Parts Department was below ground and under about a foot of water. My boss asked me to gather older inventory that he couldn't send back and soak it down with a hose. His plan was to add it to the insurance claim. It was about $15k. I refused as it was blatant insurance fraud.
19/24. I work in rental cars. When we get low on vehicles, sometimes we end up giving free upgrades to fill the reservation. But our managers still want us to sell upgrades. So during those times, we'll offer a vehicle you'll already get upgraded to for free at a price we basically make up based on how likely you are to say yes. That's right, I tell you it's $10 more per day, and if you say no, you get it for free.
The company likes money, so they intentionally allow too many reservations to come through. Sometimes, everybody shows up. So if you're on the last flight, your 2 months in advance reservation might not mean shit. That's when I'm asked to change the definition of reservation.
Walking up without a reservation, I make the price based on what I believe current supply and demand to be. Ask for a specific car that I happen to have? That'll cost more.
I feel like a shitty person every day, but it is one of the best paying jobs in my area for those without a degree. I already have a second job I work on the weekends, so every damn day is me trying not to scream back at customers that this is not who I want to be. I drink and smoke more and more every day, which doesn't help the finances either. But it's the only way I can cope with who I am during the day. Sorry for the heavy shit, I just get a lot of flak when people find out what I do for a living so I feel the need to tell people how I hate being a rental agent more than anybody in the world hates rental agents.
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20/24. I was the receptionist at a salon in high school in a small Texas town and I was asked to send away a black man who came in with his military uniform on. He had just gotten home from deployment and wanted to look nice before he surprised his wife. My boss asked me to turn him away because "she didn't cut black people hair." I refused to do so and quit soon after. I realized I didn't want to work for a racist jerk.
21/24. I, a front desk paperwork drone, have been asked on multiple occasions by licensed professionals in my business to "just write in" dated entries they missed on legal documents, or white out incorrect labels on invoices.
I am legally not allowed to do this!! Just 'cause the guy who was here before me said he did that for you doesn't mean he did AND doesn't mean it's acceptable.
22/24. The work functions of my section, where we were all salaried, was moved to our call center in the next state over where the workers were all hourly and had less benefits. Our management found jobs for us still within the company, and my team was still on good terms with the lower tier workers on the call center team.
Management put me into business analysis, and had a project for me to document all of our processes, in order to "increase efficiency". I worked on this for several months, until it was made clear in a meeting that "increasing efficiency" meant "reducing headcount". They had wanted me to find a way for them to take the three person hourly wage team, that had taken over for my four person team, and make it a two person hourly wage team. For "efficiency".
And then I left.
23/24. I was an adjunct professor at a community college. Two students completely plagiarized their final exam essays (a research paper with half a term's worth of work). My syllabus (backed by the department) stated that any and all plagiarism would result in a zero on an assignment. Student A accepted his zero and the overall grade dropped C to a D. Student B's grade dropped from A to B, and she returned that afternoon with her mother to speak to the dean. Later, I was called to a meeting with my department chair and the dean of faculty about Student B. They said she made questionable, potentially damaging comments about my character and insisted that I "make it go away" and let her resubmit the paper she had entirely copied from Wikipedia and crappy mommy blogs. That was seven years ago, and "make it go away" still rings in my ears. Was this the worst thing I've ever experienced? Of course not. But the fact that a college student could cheat, lie, and disparage me and get away with it all with the school's support makes me sick.
24/24. I worked at the movies and my managers asked me to clean dirty cups and tubs that they picked out of the trash, I declined and they took them home and did it themselves. Another time they asked me not to put concession orders into a computer and to do the math to give change back in my head so that they could make the safe even because a manager had been dipping into it.
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Breaking up is hard to do.
And when you get the law involved, it's even worse. But sometimes people don't need the law's help to make things overcomplicated, they just have a grand ole time making that happen themselves.
People on the front lines of human cruelty include divorce lawyers. These are their stories.