There are a number of good reasons to fire someone, but sometimes, it's for something you never thought you would have to deal with.
Here, managers share the most bizarre circumstance in which they had to fire someone.
1. The Sandwich Isn't The Biggest Problem.
New-ish server was dealing with a complaint a customer had with their BLT. Rather than having me talk to the table he took a bite out of it and said, "I'm not seeing the problem."
2. We Called Him "Good Time" Charlie.
I had an employee apologize to two different tables for forgetting to put their food order in. They had been waiting like 45 minutes and nothing had been entered into the system. We looked at the camera system because he had been acting weird all day. After he wrote down their order, he proceeded to go outside and fire up a joint. He was apparently too high to remember to put in the order.
It was his first, and last day.
3. It's Not Soda.
Every day at lunch, she would drink roughly half of her soda, then take it with her to the bathroom to fill it back up with whiskey. She did a pretty good job covering up the smell, and since she did it from day 1 it wasn't immediately obvious that she was getting drunk.
Found out on day four, when she knocked her full cup over and we all got punched with the smell of booze in the afternoon.
4. Not The Sharpest Tool In The Shed.
I was assistant manager at a restaurant for a while and one of the newer bussers had called in 3 times in his first two weeks. He called in on Saturday telling me he was deathly sick and couldn't even get out of bed (story continued on the next page...).
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Around 9pm after the dinner rush one of my servers ask me to go check on table 42. I turn the corner and there is the "sick" busser stoned out of his mind with two buddies eating.
5. Out Of Office, Out Of Mind.
During my first real developer job, the company I was working for tried to implement a bunch of things to improve efficiency and employee satisfaction.
Two interesting programs they implemented were 'work from home' and agile development, along with the requisite bullpens (shared team areas). What this basically meant is that we only had to show up in the office for core hours (4 hours) 3 days a week, and the rest of time we could work in shared areas, restaurants, parks, home - you name it. Sometimes, if you couldn't be at core hours, you would just dial in. We were young and excited and dedicated, so the core team really got a lot of good work done with this model. About two weeks after we started, our scrum master casually mentioned 'Has anyone seen Phil?' Phil was a quiet guy, and he was still answering emails and IM, so it took us a while to agree that no-one had actually seen him in a long time. She called him from the speakerphone in the bull-pen, and as God is my witness, here is the call that took place:
Boss: Hey Phil! What's up?
Phil: Hey Boss - not much, what's up with you?
Boss: Hey, we were just noticing we hadn't seen you much lately. You ever coming back in for core hours?
Phil: ...Probably not...
Boss: Oh... why is that?
Phil: Because I moved to Idaho.
Boss: ...But Phil, we're in DC?
Phil: I know.
Boss: Why didn't you tell us you wanted to move to Idaho?
Phil: Oh. Because I knew you wouldn't let me.
Phil got fired.
6. "Trapped" In The Closet.
I had an employee lock another employee in a closet one time. The person that was trapped called the police from inside the closet. It was quite an HR nightmare.
7. I Don't Think You Can Use Company Property For That...
We had a secretary who would get nothing done all day. We were all curious as to what she really did during the day (story continued on the next page...).
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I gave her lists to complete but she would throw them in the trash. I got fed up and looked at her company computer at the end of the day to see what she was really doing during work hours.
Found out she was prostituting herself with her company email.
8. Lunch Thief.
Boss had to fire a lady in our office because she lost it when someone ate her bagel from the fridge. She literally had a tantrum.
Also, the girl who ate it, ate it by mistake. She thought it was a bagel from the office breakfast we had earlier that same morning (it was in the same packaging as the office stuff). Now, I absolutely hate it when people eat my lunch, but the girl who ate the bagel profusely apologized. Even stated she would go and buy her a new one right on the spot. But the other lady couldn't let it go. So, that ended up being her last night.
9. Liar, Liar.
New guy, around 20 yrs old or so, called in sick saying he thinks he had a stroke. Since he lived across the street from the store where we worked, we all then stood and watched through the store's glass door as he packed up his truck with beach gear and drove off with his girlfriend.
Fired the next day.
10. Can't win em all.
Back in my days working at a used car dealership, we had a teen come in and test drive a 1,500 (mile) Corvette.
Anyway, the kid drives it around our set loop once, and is being a little waffley on if he wants to get it or not. He says it doesn't really drive as well as he thought it would. My salesman told him it was user error, and he'd prove it to him, they went out for another loop around, with the employee driving it.
He managed to get pulled over doing 135 (MPH) in a school zone, got arrested if I recall correctly. Needless to say, he was not welcome back at our store, however, the teen did buy the car.
11. Never Came Back.
Had a guy show up for work his first day, was doing just fine, seemed to be good with the job (story continued on the next page...).
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I went to the office to get some paperwork for him to fill out, and he was just gone. Never came back, didn't steal anything, no explanation at all.
12. How Else Would You Be Able To Tell?
Had a server drink out of two customer's sodas to see which was which.... in front of them...
13. Must Not Have Understood What The Job Entailed.
Hired a girl to work in a bagel store, who on her first day told me she couldn't touch any of the meats because she was vegan.
Guy hired to manage a store in a mall REFUSED to park in employee parking. As I'm sure everyone knows, mall employees have designated parking places, far from the choice spots near mall entrances. This guy refused to park there, and every time he parked illegally, the store got fined $100. And he parked in customer parking Every. Darn. Day. He was called out on it, the policy was explained over and over (story continued on the next page...).
He got written up. He was told that on the next infraction he would be fired. And he did it the very next day. Was totally blindsided when we actually fired him.
15. Working At A Call Center.
My manager had to fire someone for doing cocaine in the toilets. I guess thats what working at a call centre can do to someone
16. He Really Need A Ride.
Offered a job to a candidate, but had to step out of the office to grab some paperwork. Came back and a bus pass that was on the desk was missing. Newly hired employee stole it. I asked him to return it because a previous candidate dropped it and he said he needed it more than they did and walked out
17. I Often Also Get 'Sick' After A Night Out.
Managed a long term care facility. Got a call one night from a resident telling me that the new night time worker was acting weird. This was about midnight and the shift started at 11. I called my lead (there were 3 people on duty). And asked how the night was going. She told me that, "Yeah, 'Sally' was sick".
I put on my shoes and headed in (story continued on the next page...).
Now, having the administrator show up at almost 1 am is never a good thing so I'm pretty sure all three of them felt scared when I showed up. I took one look at 'Sally' leaning against the wall, and asked her to come into my office.
I asked her if she had been drinking. "I never drink at work" she slurred at me. I told her I had to have her blow into this tube. We had breathalyzer tubes that registered if they were over a specific level. The crystals changed from clear to dark blue if the alcohol registered over the legal limit. No surprise. Turned dark blue. I asked her again if she had been drinking. She admitted to have been drinking earlier in the evening. She and her friend had been doing shots up until about 10pm. "But I'm not drunk! I stopped and ate almost 2 hours ago so it's all out of my system." Nope. Doesn't work that way. "Sorry Sally, but I need to let you go. Call someone to come get you." I told her as I was filling out paperwork for the breathalyzer usage and final check request. "Oh, that's okay, I drove in." Nope nope nope. She then asked what time she should come in tomorrow. "Sally, you no longer work here. Coming to work intoxicated is not tolerated."
Oh. Really? Yes. Really. Please call someone, who has not been drinking, to come get you. She called about 16 hours later asking me for her next week schedule. She didn't remember being at work and getting fired.
18. That Sounds Illegal At Best.
I knew someone at a fast food restuarant who did NOT get fired for going to the washroom and taking off his pants and underwear. He was making sandwiches wearing only an apron and shirt. The manager laughed at him. I think the entire store must have been on drugs.
19. Jealousy Never Wins.
I used to work at a popular coffee chain and we had this supervisor who was an actor in all these local community theater things and wanted to get into stand up comedy. Well, if somebody was funny, he obviously got ticked off that he wasn't the one in the limelight.
A new guy was hired who was really funny and supervisor was always being a jerk to him, giving him the crappiest jobs and picking on him. One night, supervisor is being a complete jerk and a bunch of us pipe up to tell him to chill out. Something snapped. Supervisor absolutely lost it, went in the backroom and grabbed a bunch of frozen donuts and just came out and was throwing them at funny guy angrily and just swearing at him and berating him. Then he just walked out the back door and walked off down the street. We all thought he quit on the spot but he just went to smoke a cigarette and came back 10 minutes later. By that point, someone called the manager and she came in and canned him on the spot.
Those of us who live in New York live this truth on a daily basis.
Sometimes, you just meet a person who isn't quite all there. It's hard to tell at first, but then you talk with them for a little while and it just becomes abundantly clear if they're two eggs short of an omelette.
The stories of how you find out are so interesting. But yet, they teach us to look for clues when we interact with others.