People Reveal The Dumbest Screw Ups That Got A Coworker Fired
Have you ever witnessed someone get fired over a really stupid mistake? I have - and it's motivating for the remaining employees to think before we act. I once saw someone get fired to telling the owner he didn't understand what our jobs were. Not the best move, ace.
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
50. Just a small, $75 million mistake. NBD.Giphy
My first day on the job as a "financial analyst" at a large Blue Cross health insurance company in December 1986. It was my first job at a big company. They give me a paper report of their "group accounts receivables report" that's literally two feet thick and ask me to look at it - like I'm going to see anything. So I go through the report and later that day they ask me if I have any questions.
I say "why are the same groups appearing three times in different sections of the report?" My boss says "They're not." I say "sure they are, let me show you." It turns out there's an error in the receivable estimating logic of the report and it's caused the company to overestimate their accounts receivable by $75 million through November. There was a quick investigation and the corporate controller was fired before the end of the week.
49. When you're trying to get fired.
It's a long story, but basically a dude kept peeing in the ficus tree in a conference room.
At first maintenance thought it was an animal doing something in the walls, and gutted the room.
That didn't fix it, so they put a camera in. EVERYONE knew the camera was there, what we would catch was the talk of the office. Dude gets busted on camera, flat out denies he was pissing in the ficus tree.
HR just says, "well, ok, stop then" (old school company that wouldn't fire people unless you flat out murdered your boss).
Dude gets busted AGAIN like a week later. Still denies it even though he is there on tape, peeing in the tree, HR relocates him to pretty much the opposite side of the building, right next to a bathroom, and someone finally has the common sense to get rid of the ficus tree.
Dude now goes in, and just pees in the corner. They finally fired him after that one.
The obvious answer is the dude was trying to get fired, but he fought so hard against it every time it was on the table that it didn't add up. Occasionally i'll look him up on LinkedIn, and based off his work history, i'm going to assume its a re-occurring theme for him.
48. Way to blow your own cover.
We hired a new guy, on his first day the help desk guy is setting up his computer and the new guy asks, "could you change my username from tscott to twilliamson?' The help desk guy asked why, and he was told that's his real name. So he changed the username then went to HR to mention it to them.
I guess HR re-ran their background check with his new name and found somethings they didn't like, because like an hour later he's being escorted out of the office.
47. Moronic negligence.
I was a bank teller while I was getting through college. At our bank we had a "limit" system where to cash a check over a certain amount you had to have a manager override the transaction and approve the check themselves. One day I was at a new branch (we got shuffled around a lot) and someone comes in with a $25000 check. We had enough to cash it for him so I asked the manager to come over and take a look and override it.
She didn't, instead she was too busy texting/Facebooking at her desk so she just "remote overrode it" where she didn't see the check or customer and just typed in her password/okayed the transaction from her own computer. Because she did this I figured she must know the guy with the check, maybe he's a regular, etc. So I gave him his money and he was off. A week later we find out the check was a counterfeit. She was fired on the spot for negligence because they had her on camera on her cell phone and remote overriding instead of coming over to look.
46. Nothing to see here.Giphy
Security guard hated one person in the office.
He carved "c*nt" into her desk. She found it, reported it to HR, and they went to pull the security footage...which was "mysteriously deleted" for about 5 minutes in the middle of the day.
Guy decided to share adult meme emails with the girls in the office. Security marched him out of the building.
Somebody in my warehouse hit somebody with a forklift on purpose last night. So there's that.
43. A trifecta of failure.
There was the guy who let himself back into the office after hours so he could watch adult videos on his computer (this was before people usually had home Internet). He wasn't expecting our bosses to walk in with a bunch of potential investors, finding him knocking one out with his trousers round his ankles.
Then there was the woman who embezzled £27,000 and spent it on Facebook games. She made very little attempt to hide what she did so it was uncovered easily when we were audited.
Or the manager who threw a staple gun at a disabled wheelchair user on his team's head. He screamed at him that he didn't know the meaning of disabled, that he had a disabled brother, and that the team member was just a lazy bastard who was trying to get out of work by making up the pain he was in. Team member subsequently found out that his pain was due to spinal cancer. Manager was fired on the spot after it happened.
42. You just know he was in a frat.Giphy
Friend in college had an internship at some engineering company. Went up to a co-worker who had a banana on her desk, and loudly asked "do you ever use that for anything else?".
Only dude I ever knew to be fired from an internship.
41. Too Far
When I worked in an ICU I worked with a married couple. They seemed normal for the most part. The husband especially, but the wife was a little... uh.. high energy.. still not that weird. Or so we thought.
Anyways the woman wrote herself multiple death threats (one was written in blood, don't know if it was hers) and would put them in her locker. Then she'd put on this full show complete with tears and a full freak out every time she'd "receive" one of these letters.
They installed a camera in the locker room and that's when they found out the psycho wife was putting the letters in her own locker.
Obviously she was fired. Her poor husband still had to work with us while this thing was going on. He finally just quit. I felt bad for him with everyone gossiping about his crazy wife.
40. Sofa So Long
One of the salesmen told his girlfriend that he was the VP of sales. He snuck her in after hours and took her to the real VP's office - he had changed the nametag to the one from his cubicle - and they had sex on the sofa in the office.
The next day he BRAGS about it to a co-worker. Got fired and the sofa was hauled away that very day.
A guy brought in his gaming laptop on the night shift to play WoW and got nothing done.
One night the boss sneaks in, walks up behind him and calls our 800 number from his cell phone. The employee completely ignored the incoming call and got fired on the spot.
38. Intern-al StruggleGiphy
i interned at a computer security company. the kind that is VERY serious about security.
the first thing they told you when you got in, is that your phone should be turned off at all times when you're on the premises. you also had to sign a document agreeing to it before you were able to enter.
a new intern got caught on facebook on her phone on her first day, not even 2 hours after she got the speech and signed the document.
she got chewed up by the boss, got a written warning right away and got told it was her last warning before being fired.
that afternoon she got caught a second time using her phone.
there were tears. the guy from our university responsible for the interns even came to the company and pleaded her case. didn't work.
she had to repeat the last year of her master's degree because of that. dumba**es will be dumba**es.
(oh and another intern was fired while i was there because he took his work files home with him, work that included a full map of the company's network and some other critical stuff)
37. Pirate's Life
Worked in a pizza shop. I was the cook and the night was winding down. One of the guys was outside smoking. He had a soda cup that our manager thought was his so he took a sip. It was Jack and Coke. That guy was a delivery driver.
When I drove, I would routinely swing through the liquor store so I could deliver beer with pizza to regular customers (at a tidy profit) and that's small potatoes compared to the other drivers who sold weed.
36. Pushing Luck
Dude used his City Arena Employee ID Card to get in to a NBA Championship Game. Then, rather than chill in the corner and watch the game, he flashed his card to get past security and get courtside. Coach Carlesimo wasn't having it. Called Arena Management and reported this yahoo getting in the way and bugging his players. Dude lost his gig with the city, ultimately got kicked out of the Union. If he'd just snuck in to the game and chilled quietly, he could have watched the game and nobody would have said "Boo" to him. But he had to push his luck till it gave out.
My manager and I snuck into one of the NBA finals when Orlando was in the playoffs. We were Subway employees, so we just walked in the back like we belonged and flashed our hats to the guard. We're able to walk around the locker room and backstage areas. Finally made our way up to nose bleed behind the goal. Only one person asked us to move down. Seats didn't matter, because we pulled it off!
35. Food FightGiphy
I once worked a couple of summers on a casual contract in a food factory, one of those ones that makes microwave meals. We worked in the cooking area and would have a laugh during the shift but were all mature enough to know when to get on with the work.
Anwyay there was one kid who started with me fresh from school and really wanted to get taken on permanently.
A couple of months in we both get offered full time positions, I turned it down as I was going back to college a few weeks later so no point but this kid took it.
Having done all the paperwork he started his first week on the job, it would also be his last. Most of the meals were made for big brand companies and a very major customer was coming in for a visit during the week.
This meant us basically all having the day off from work so we didn't screw up but instead a sample line was being run just so they could see the process and we wouldn't lose the contract.
Kid doesn't get the importance of this and comes out of cold store with some mash potato to throw at someone, this would have been ok on any other day as long as senior management weren't around but not this day. Instead he hits one of the visitors. Kid was gone within the hour and left in a flood of tears.
34. BEER. NOW.
Trying to steal beer from a walk in cooler by emptying packs of beer or 40oz bottles into a trash bag and "throwing them away." She didn't know that there was a camera in the walk-in cooler.
Edit: If I knew my gas station story was this entertaining, I would have told you guys more stories a long time ago. cmpgamer
33. What's AOL?
HR received an email from some random AOL account that was using our President's name as the friendly name. The email said, "Hi, I am unhappy with my bank's customer service. Can you change my direct deposit to the following..."
She changed it. CarterLawler
32. Every little thing....
We're in a field where you have to record every little thing you do in case you get audited by the state. One of my coworkers was copy and pasting the notes for six straight months and skipping out on going to actually see any clients. It was found out when one of the clients called and asked a supervisor why they hadn't been seen in so long when they were supposed to be seen once a week. Mist2393
31. A few nips...Giphy
Coworker got caught barfing into her trash can. They found hundreds of empty nip-sized bottles of vodka in her desk. Barkingpanther
30. Employee Discount.
A salesman at my old job would sell whatever he was selling TVs, furniture, mattresses to customers then after they left he would go back into the system and give them a discount in the amount that it would take to buy another item (usually a tv) then take the TV home. Inventory matched and no one was on to him until someone came in for a refund and things didn't match up. passengerv
29. Show me the receipts!
My company has its own courier service and during the day's work they are allowed to have a few drinks during the day, grab a meal and hand in the receipts to our accounting and be reimbursed. The drinks of course can't be alcoholic - it's like water or coffee, or soda or some kind of refreshment. These courier handle money among other things and it should've gone without saying that they can't be under the influence of alcohol during their working hours. (plus they drive)
Weeeell, apparently it needed to be said. Because one genius went 'hey, BEER IS A DRINK' and he bought a ton of beer and tried to hand in the receipt for it to our accountant. He also had moments when he tried to hand in grocery receipts too.
"You can have a meal, Bogdan!"
"This is food!"
"IT'S A DOZEN RAW EGGS!" AccioSexLife
28. She Nasty!
Cursed out the CEO's wife and ended her rant by saying "what are you gonna do, fire me?" papayaregime
27. So Sleepy!Giphy
We had a contractor who fell asleep in front of the CEO when he was giving a tour of the facilities to the board members. Also, solitaire was on his screen instead of work. It was pretty bad. rheidaus
26. The Flip!
Worked the phones for a furniture retailer a few years ago. Had an agency temp who muted his headset, flipped it up and surfed the Web for a good ten minutes, and afterwards replaced it and told his customer who he'd had on the line the whole time that his computer had crashed.
I watched as the deputy manager casually walked over, waited for the call to end and then escorted him out of the building. Trimem
We had a guy take one of our GPS-TRACKED trucks to a competitor and put in an application. On the clock. undeadpenguins
That sounds more like a giant FU to his employer! theflyinghillbilly
24. I was Blind.
A co-worker who I trained in electronics managed to steal almost $8000 worth of IPads. I always felt like garbage for not realizing it but also it wasn't necessarily my job to look out for employee theft and he seemed like such a good guy. The worst part is that they knew he was doing it but let it continue so they could charge him with a higher sentence. The_Snickelfritz
23. The Fruit Ninja!
I worked at a supermarket, and once two girls went out the back of the produce section with a bunch of fruit and veg and knives and filmed each other doing "fruit ninja," then posted it on Snapchat. One of the girls was Snapchat friends with our manager and two days later they were gone. God, I feel second hand embarrassment just typing this and I barely knew either of them, it was just so stupid. ganoz
22. Too Salty...
Dumbest screwup: I work in a site that manufactures chemicals for blood typing. We had a guy start here in the development lab who, pretty much straight away, it became obvious had lied about his previous experience working in a lab. Someone asked him whether a liquid he had added was glycerol or BSA, so he stuck his finger in it, tasted it and said "tastes salty so I'd say BSA"...
Needless to say he was fired on the spot. fantalemon
21. Inspector Gadget?Giphy
Building inspector who wasn't bothering to actually do inspections. Got caught when a property owner asked why he had been billed for an inspection at an address that had been razed the previous year. Can't inspect what's not there. nagakagan
20. Mail Felony!
I used to work at the post office. In December there's always a flood of mail (both packages and letters) so we temp hire like 10 extra people drivers and ~30 extra for mail (small-ish town). This one temp-mailman would load his car with the mail for his route and then dispose of it and spend the day at home smoking weed.
When he was found out he was fired and charged with a felony. Turns out that destroying mail in the amounts he was doing is considered as an act of terrorism (since there's a lot of official documents that go through the mail system), He's still a deadbeat and he's also not allowed to leave the country because he's on an international list of known terrorists. gardyna
19. Bunch of Winners....
I have three, all at the same company. One was an alcoholic and he got caught drinking hand sanitizer. The other one was caught f***ing our intern in the supplies room.
Take a pick! Jauxerous
18. The Huffer.
Not me but my friend works at a tech store and his coworker got fired because on day 3 of his job, he was found in the back huffing really expensive compressed air that the company needed a special license to have. WaviestMetal
17. Being Fueled.Giphy
Heard about a guy who got a job at a float plane company. He was fueling a plane and someone called coffee break time so he left.
He was fired day 1 for spilling many liters of fuel into the water because he didn't turn off the pump when he went for coffee break. canehdian78
16. Invisible People.
I worked for a short time as an insurance salesman. When I joined my office, there was this guy who was just killing it in policy sales. My first quarter there he was top salesman in the nation and we had a big office dinner to celebrate. A few weeks later, he quits showing up at the office, we wonder what is going on. Turns out he was selling policies to people who either didn't exist or friends and family members then paying for the policies himself.
Then after a few months he would let the policies lapse. Of course, after his big quarter he couldn't keep up and company auditors got suspicious. Huge scandal since the president of the company had shouted out congratulations to him in a company presentation. Got him fired, as well as our office and regional managers demoted as well. Everybody working in the office at the time found different work soon after (myself included)... MaestroM45
15. Porn Crash.
One of my colleagues watched porn in his office laptop at home and unknowingly downloaded virus and when he connect to our VPN. It spread everywhere causing the production to crash and 3 hours of downtime. The it team found the source and he was fired.
Treat your office laptop well folks. it's ok to check Amazon or match score but never any suspicious websites. Indianfattie
14. Family Affair.
Two coworkers. Both married. Both have kids. They hooked up.
Everyone knew or thought they knew. They agreed to both leave their SO's and hook up for real. He told his wife and kids and filed for divorce.
She did the same but her SO wanted to give it another shot. She agreed. Next day at work was a crapstorm. Guy loses his mind and (obv) gets into an argument. (never physical).
She is sent to a different department. He was let go. (fired). Lanceth115
13. Not that phone fool!Giphy
Had a friend that did cable. He thought the customer was hitting on him at a job because "she was dropping serious hints and jokes." After he left, he texted her on his COMPANY PHONE saying something like "I'm gonna screw the crap out of you." Within, like, 15 min he was back at the office being terminated. whiteout14
12. Fire it Up!
Screw up... breakfast cook was grilling two 10oz beef tenders to take home. When confronted about them by the owner of the establishment, she proceeded to say a guest called down and requested them (they're only on our dinner menu). So he checks phone records and finds nothing.
Fires her right there... anyways, the stupid part here she should have just wrapped them up in a takeout box and grilled them at home and she would still have her job. Ironically, she was grilling them to take home to her boyfriend who had just gotten his first job in 3 years or something. mattbridel
11. Scamming reward points....
I worked for the largest telecommunications company in the country (Australia), who has a point system as a staff benefit scheme, so depending on much of your KPIs you achieve depends how many points you get.
Points can be used to pay your phone/internet bill, but only so many points get allocated per sector. The member of middle management who was in charge of rewarding the points and wasn't eligible to participate in the scheme so instead over X amount of months she was adding the points as dollars on her bill, to which she was stocking up with free staff plans iPhones, and then re selling them and waiving the disconnect fees on her account. She got busted after clearing about $10,000 on her account and trying to refund it back to her bank account.
Everyone was glad to see her go after finding out she was scamming the teams out of their rewards points. xTacoMumx
10. The Good Run.
Boss decided to have an affair with the accountant in order to get approvals for needless lunch/dinner meeting expenses as well as international travels that provided no benefit to the company or her position.
This went on for over five years... parent company finally caught on and fired both of them. Wonder if it was worth it? KismetHeartfilia
9. But I Love Wendy's!Giphy
I used to work in a call center for a retail website. Because we were taking people's orders over the phone and had credit card numbers and stuff, it was a highly secure building. You had to have a badge to enter and be screened by security before you could come in, but visitors were allowed to come into the cafeteria to eat with employees. Some lady apparently didn't have a babysitter and brought her 9 year old daughter in to the cafe and then somehow got her back into the phone area without security noticing.
She put her at a cubicle and put a headset on her to make her blend in.
What actually got her caught was that she decided to eat a full Wendy's meal at her desk (which we weren't allowed to do) which lead a supervisor over to reprimand her. When he came over, he saw the kid sitting there. She was fired immediately. Reddit
8. You Can't Hide!
I worked in a grocery store at the time. Every inch of the place (with the exception of the bathrooms) was covered by the cameras. There was no such thing as the cameras having a blind spot. I had a security guard I liked warn me to be careful of what I did due to the lack of blind spots and many of the cameras being hidden from view. Despite the fact that there was literally no point during the day when you were off camera there were 6 people that were stealing thousands from the cash drawers and stealing credit card information each week.
All 6 were arrested and walked out of the store in cuffs. Since I liked all 6 and was considered a friend to all 6 I had my cash drawer randomly audited periodically for a few months after that. Every time someone new started to steal, even if I was known to dislike that person, the auditing began again. I eventually quit without notice. gothiclg
7. The Purchase.
Worked in a warehouse were all the product was stored and shipped. Dude was somehow purchasing product through the company's account, shipping it to his address, storing in his basement, then selling it on ebay. Word is his basement was full to the ceiling with product. He got caught, got fired, and got in trouble with the police. boyjohnnyjohnnyboy
6. Flying Pads.
I work for a regional airline (pilot).
Parent company finally got us IPads to use as Electronic Flight bags, and distributed them to all the pilots. One guy thought it'd be wise to sell the company iPad and try to activate is Samsung phone as the EFB. Didn't work. Goes to company who ask "where is your iPad?" And turns out he sold it on eBay. Genius got canned for being an idiot, but last I knew the pilot union was working with him to get his job back.
We just got rid of 20lbs of paper that you had to lug everywhere and replaced it with an iPad, and you go and try that shit? C'mon man. bignose703
5. The Airdropper.
I knew a guy who got caught airdropping nudes of another employee into his phone. The sad thing is he's married with three kids and I always looked up to him as a role model until that happened. BandaidPlacementTech
4. Private Parts.
The CEO had his own private "Executive Lavatory" that was off-limits to everyone else (the door even said "Private" on it).
As a prank, one new hire challenged the rule when he mistakenly thought the CEO was away and the coast was clear. He got caught red-handed when the boss walked in, and summarily fired as a result.
(Apparently, the guy didn't apologize, but told the CEO in a confrontational manner that all lavatories should be available without restrictions.) Back2Bach
3. Last Gear.
I worked at a large quick lube chain for a while after high school. We had just had a meeting about how if the customer was on site, or if the car was a manual transmission and you didn't know how to drive one, to have the customer move their own car.
This guy finished up on a car. He jumped in to pull it out of the bay. It was a manual transmission. He didn't know how to work one. The customer had left it in gear instead of neutral with the parking brake on.
The guy fires it up, the clutch pops and the car goes flying through the garage bay door. The guy just left. Didn't change clothes or anything. Just left and we never saw him again.
The customer was in the waiting room. The whole thing was on tape. We watched that tape over and over. The customers reaction was priceless. Theo_kerabatsus
2. In & Out.Giphy
I worked retail in college. One day an employee walked into the backroom, grabbed a laptop from the stock shelves, and walked out. It's baffling because he KNEW there were security cameras. He was fired, and I never saw him again. I always wanted to know what prompted that blatant theft. mryingster
1. All the Facts.
I'll give you two, from a big computer company I used to work for, about 30 years ago.
A security guard at work was a pot dealer. One evening, there were police hiding everywhere, waiting for the security guard to sell weed to someone. My buddy walked in bought weed, and the dealer was arrested. My friend was told he would not be charged, just fired, and he was escorted to the door. He was quite bitter about it.
Another employee was stealing CPU boards from computers and selling them. This worked until he stole a board from a prototype computer. The buyer didn't know what the board was, so the buyer contacted the computer company to ask. They caught the guy. aRoseBy
We are told that, if you're not confident, you should just "fake it til you make it."
This is great--in theory. In practice, sometimes "faking it" can have extremely real and terrible consequences, which these people found out the hardest of hard ways.