Horrible bosses - we've all had at least one. Whether it's sheer disregard for their job or an absurd amount of micromanagement, there are people who are just not meant to lead/be responsible for others. In some cases, some bosses are completely vile and need to be removed from a workplace before their toxic energy spreads to others. Below, workers share the times where their terrible bosses got what they deserved and got the boot from upper management.
“My supervisor was a 31 year old who had just gotten married a year ago. He was known for hitting on any young girl at work he could. I was dating a girl at work who was 18. My girlfriend and supervisor became really good friends. I mean realllly good friends. He sold her his Mercedes at a verrrry steep ‘friend discount.’ She got promotion after promotion that she frankly didn’t deserve or have the experience or availability for. She very rarely had to even perform the responsibilities of these promotions.
It was obvious to everyone what was going on. There was something between my girlfriend and our supervisor, though to this day she still insists there wasn’t. I could TELL our supervisor was straight up trying to win her over. They would go on dates (not dates in her eyes) and when he found out her and I were dating he told her he would fire me. She was seeing him a lot more than she was seeing me. I tried to express my concerns to her about all this, like maybe this isn’t what it looks like and I just need to hear her side. She got defensive and huffy and said he’s just a ‘really really REALLY good friend.’ At that point there was nothing I could do because if I told her to stop seeing him, he’d know I was the cause and fire me. One night I was closing the store while they were together at midnight doing who knows what. She decided to stop by and hang with me for the rest of the night. Our supervisor dropped her off with the intention that a non-working employee would be let into the store after close – a security violation. That’s where I got him.
I went to the owners and exposed the supervisor. I told them about how he is fraternizing with an employee, which is against policy for a supervisor, and I told them about how he brought her to the store one night with the intention of violating security policy. The owners asked some other employees about the situation and they all agreed you could tell just by looking at them that something wrong was going on.
Supervisor was fired. My girlfriend quickly became my ex-girlfriend. Supervisor wanted nothing to do with her anymore since he got fired because of her. I googled the supervisors name and found out where he lived. I had someone he wouldn’t recognize (in case HE answered the door) knock on his door and tell his wife exactly what he had been up to, about how he had been trying to get with an 18 year old girl. They are now divorced.
That’s what you get for trying to steal my girlfriend and ruining our relationship. Both of them can burn. My ex-girlfriend still doesn’t think she did anything wrong.”
“About 13-14 years ago, I was working as a web designer for a dot com. In our immediate group were a creative director, a creative manager, and 2 of us who were designers and we were all part of the marketing dept.
The creative director was a joke. Brought in by the previous VP of Marketing who he was friends with, he hardly did any work himself, and just played online poker waiting on us to send him things for approval. And he’d never stick around late when the rest of us needed to stay late to hit a deadline or deal with a crisis, etc. The creative manager, who’d been in charge for a couple years before the creative director’s hiring, still ran the day to day.
So the creative manager gave his notice that he’d accepted a new job, and when I met with the current VP of marketing to discuss transition, I mentioned that the creative director would need to step up and pull his weight. I guess a similar message was expressed by a number of people, and less than a week after the creative manager’s last day the creative director was fired!
This kind of sucked because we went down from 4 to 2 people in our group. I was appointed acting creative manager, and we eventually did hire one more designer. I left the company a couple months later, too, after the latest VP of Marketing was let go and there was going to be a 10th different person overseeing marketing in my 5 years there.
And the prick creative director? He’d reached out at some point (looking for files for his portfolio, I think?), and it happened to be in the 2 week window where I’d accepted my next job but hadn’t yet started so I mentioned my new position. Well, he fires off a copy of his resume to the company president and tried to poach my new job out from under me! On my first day at the new job, the president mentioned that somebody else from that same company also applied for the job and forwarded me the application email to see if I knew him… saw that the date was after he and I had last communicated. It’s safe to say I didn’t feel bad at all that he lost his job. You get what you give!”
Make Friends In High Places
“About 15 years ago, I worked at a major university in the IT department. After I was hired, it took me a couple of months to realize my boss was a sociopath as was his #2 guy.
Once I realized what I was dealing with, I just tried to keep my head down because I didn’t want to job hop so soon after leaving my last job. But they made that impossible.
We had a database administrator and I was interested in becoming a DBA so I talked to him a lot about what I should do to transition from a programmer to a DBA. The VP of IT, my boss’s boss, would stop by and talk to me and ask me about my aspirations, so I told her about wanting to be a DBA and that I was actually taking night classes so I could. This was a woman who my boss referred to as ‘she who must be obeyed’ in a totally disrespectful manner.
As the months went on, I saw more and more egregious behavior by my boss and his #2 toady. We had a large corporation consulting on transition to their database. This included a young guy who was doing the database install including ordering the right equipment and migrating the data.
We also had student workers in our department. They were students who worked part time hours. One of these was a young woman. The big corp young guy and the young woman started going to lunch together. Apparently this was offensive to my boss, who threatened both of them with termination for ‘fraternization.’ The university had no such rule, my boss was just making it up as he went.
About 6 months after I was hired, the DBA quit. I went into our weekly staff meeting and at the end, my boss announces that I’d been promoted to DBA. My spidey senses were tingling because of his tone of voice and because this was the first I was hearing about it.
After the meeting, I went to his office to thank him and tell him I really appreciated the chance. He was very angry. Apparently, his boss had made him promote me. I had no idea.
The next thing I know, I’m being called into my boss’s #2 guy’s office. He tells me that performance reviews were coming up and I would have to be reviewed on job description of DBA rather than the job description of my old position. That is, unless I turned down the DBA position. Yep, he was threatening me to get me to turn down the promotion. I asked him to see the written description of my old position as well as the one for DBA. He couldn’t give them to me because they didn’t exist. Now, I can be pretty stubborn, and this really ticked me off. I didn’t do anything wrong and now my job was being threatened.
Part of my job duties during the 6 months of my employment involved working with the head of every department of the university, including the legal department. I had a good working relationship with every head of every department.
So I made an appointment with the university’s head counsel. I explained the situation to him including my boss’s boss making him promote me and my boss threatening me with my performance review. I told him that, although I was studying to be a DBA, I was really not qualified to be one without some hard work and if the university didn’t want me to take the position, I would absolutely turn it down. I also mentioned my boss’s nickname for his boss and the issue with the student worker and the big corp guy. Apparently, the student worker had already filed a harassment complaint so the head counsel knew about it.
He told me I had been promoted by someone (boss’s boss) who had every right to promote me and I should not worry about anything. He said if my boss gave me any more trouble that I should let him know.
A week later my boss and his #2 toady were fired. My boss ended up working at a small city college and is there to this day. I pity his employees.
I left the university about 2 years later and had a successful career as a DBA.”
“The Army’s Property”
“I worked retail, and was also Army Reserves at the time. I was working in a town in the north end of my state and my Reserves unit was in a larger city to the south. The cost of living was expensive and the pay wasn’t great.
One day I had enough, and called down to a store in the big city that I used to work at (same retail chain, different location). Asked about promotion opportunities down there. Now, when I lived down there previously, the store manager was a good friend of mine. But he moved on to better things, and this new store manager was running the place. As luck would have it, he needed someone in a particular role. Pay would be double what I was making. He told me to move on down and start working there as soon as possible, and once I was down there he’d put in the paperwork for the promotion.
As part of the planning for the move, I told him that I had my Reserves annual training coming up (3 weeks full time orders). Now, military service is protected by federal law in the US, so I put in the time off request and he approved it. I worked my butt off for the first month down there, doing all the roles of the higher paying job, but still at my lower pay because “oh, the paperwork is still pending.”
Well, on my last day before military orders, I hurt my knee pretty badly at work. Brought it to his attention, and he told me that ‘if your knee hurts so bad that you need to see a doctor, you will no longer work here.’ Very illegal, and very uncool. He then proceeded to tell me that I should lie to my sergeants and say I hurt it during my annual training, so that the Army would pay for it.
So, I leave work early and call HR while on my way to the doctor. Mention his comments, have them note the workplace injury, etc. Start my annual training, and explain to my sergeants that I had an injury at work and am a bit limited in what I can do (I did computer work, so it didn’t affect my work abilities at all, just couldn’t do much of anything physical).
Now, my military work is in what’s known as a SCIF — basically an office where top secret stuff goes on. No phones are allowed in the SCIF. At the end of the day, I leave the SCIF and check my phone. Tons of missed calls and texts from my boss about missing my shift. I explain to my sergeant what was going on, and they decide I should bring it to the commander. The whole company was forming up, so we go to the formation area and speak to the commander in front of the company.
Mid way through explaining, my phone starts ringing. It’s my boss. My sergeant grabs my phone and answers on speaker. Explains to my boss that I’m the Army’s property, and that I’ve been instructed to not speak with him until I’m off orders. After hanging up, my commander tells me to take all day the next day, and deal with HR.
Flash forward to the end of my orders. I spoke with both our district and regional managers (my bosses boss, and his boss). The district manager gave me his personal cell phone number, and said if I had any issues when I returned to work, to call him immediately.
I go in the store on my first day back. Say good morning to my boss. He glares at me and says ‘you better learn to shut your dang mouth.’
I whip out my phone and call his boss. Explain exactly what my boss just said to me. District manager tells me I can take the day off, with full pay, and that they’d deal with boss.
There’s a little more to the story. They didn’t fire him immediately, but switched me to a different store to get me out of the situation. Even at the new store, old boss was constantly harassing me. Boss at new store was friends with boss at old store, and so she decided to cut my hours to one day per week. And an hour before my shift, they’d call me and tell me to not come in. Eventually had to take them to court for lost wages and a knee injury, and won. By the time they settled I was already comfortable at my new, much better, much higher paying office job.”
A Man Child
“When I applied for this new job as assistant team project leader I had a lot of people warn me about my new boss who worked there from people within the company to clients. I brushed it off and said, ‘I’d rather make my own judgements when I meet them,’ as a way to assert myself and not get off on the wrong foot starting a new job.
Turns out everyone was right. This guy was not only rude towards the staff and clients but used that as a screen to mask his own incompetence for the position. Things were not just bad but horrible. The office we were in was disorganized due to his stubbornness and the team was torn down so bad that even the simplest jobs would take hours to complete. My boss also had a real sinister way of saying too much about his personal/dating life to me (I guess to make small talk?) to which I would respond with ‘I don’t care,’ and quickly stuffing my face back into whatever work I was doing. He would do everything from scream at the staff in front of clients, tease and bully the team for things like ‘not being able to count’ when really he missed a few sales figures in a report and sit in front of a computer for hours not doing anything. He also would call/text the team at any hour of the day for no reason at all and it was to the point where several team members confined in me they were looking for new jobs. Our team was neurotic and depressed, but also very young so they were very unsure about what to do about the situation. My boss also had a very disgusting hygiene problem, was very overweight and would often ‘forget’ to flush the toilet.
So, what did I do? I did the only thing I could do in my position. I couldn’t do anything directly myself being the new guy and friends advised me that moving on my own could be looked down on within the company. Instead, I started talking to my team one on one and empowered the heck out of them and coached them how to write letters to HR and to basically stand up for themselves. Things were moving quickly because I could see HR was talking to my boss about it as he starting coming in acting cold and throwing things against his desk and basically having a difficult time. For three years he had ground down this team to his control and he was losing it. I had the team documenting everything while I just sat back and watched. He never clued in I was pulling the strings as I just kept my nose down and said I was too new to really know any of the team outside of our projects. It also helped that I didn’t talk much about myself and just did my job and nothing more when I was there.
One day he came in and threw a keyboard against his desk and screamed ‘I DON’T WANT TO LOSE MY JOB!!’ and then fell on the desk crying. I stood there and felt horrible for a moment because hey- it sucks to see anyone like that. I told him to go take a walk and cool off for a moment & he locked himself in the bathroom for 3 hours where I could hear him crying. Eventually, someone from HR came into the office and asked where he was and I pointed at the bathroom. They went over and helped him grab a few things off his desk and they walked out together. (yes, he also didn’t flush the toilet.)
We were told he was taking a two-week leave of absence for medical reasons. Soon after that, my big boss came in to tell me that my boss wasn’t with the company any more and that they would be working hard to find a replacement and if I wanted to apply. I told them I was happy with my position in the company and would like to stay where I am for a bit longer before I go for something bigger. That’s the truth and I am glad they listened to me because now I have a great boss who’s teaching me lots and who works great with our project team.
The Scorn Of The Secretaries
“In the 90s, I worked for a company with several departments. A supervisor had transferred in from out of state. She was the kiss up/rude down kind of person and she foolishly treated the secretaries worst of all. I silently watched her downfall. I don’t know if the secretaries actually organized her professional demise or if it was just an accumulation of individual acts of petty revenge, but they got her fired. Her reports to the big boss showed up late or not at all, messages didn’t get through, meetings were mysteriously cancelled. One time, a secretary told me with malicious glee that she called another to say that the supervisor was coming to a meeting with a cold. The second secretary removed all of the kleenex from the conference room before she got there. That’s not even to mention the gossip they spread. After their campaign of destruction, the supervisor’s reputation became one of a woman who was incompetent, scatter-brained, and emotionally unstable. The more she protested that she had left a message or she knew that file had been on her desk, the worse it looked for her. Finally, she was let go. I was young and it was one of my first office jobs, but it taught me the important life lesson of NEVER messing with the secretary.”
“And How Does That Make You Feel?”
“I’m a therapist. I worked in a partial hospital day program for teens. I was the only therapist in a small program that was underfunded and underserved because the big bucks were made on the inpatient units.
They hired a pretentious psychiatrist who was split between my day program and the inpatient units. He wasn’t my boss, per se, but he is supposed to lead the treatment recommendations and I am supposed to follow, even though I see the clients every day in group therapy and weekly in both an individual and family therapy session. He saw them once per week for at least 15 minutes, and the average stay in the program is 2 weeks so you can kind of see a problem there.
He would spend less and less time in my program and more and more time on the inpatient units, often time leaving halfway through the day. One day I see notes in the chart for a client he supposedly saw that day. I hadn’t seen him in the building all day and I was desperately awaiting him to re-evaluate her meds because of side effects she was reporting. He was scheduled to see her and the note was generic and did not at all match with what the client was telling me.
I asked my one support staff who had worked there for 15+ years if he pulled any kid out of group (she is with them all day and takes notes every hour to reflect what each client did for the hour—she was great at her job). She said no kids were pulled out all day. I asked the client if she saw the doctor that day. She said no.
I notified my supervisor, who told the CEO, who asked for a written statement and the next day he was terminated.
Such a messed up thing to not only neglect clients in need of care but to falsify medical records to make it look like you did your job. The majority of these kids were recovering from suicidal thoughts/self harm. At least the kids on the inpatient units are monitored 24/7. The kids in the day program go home every night, so I would argue the risk for suicide is much higher. He’s lucky nothing serious happened.”
“I got promoted to sous chef by my head chef in this restaurant I worked at. I worked my butt off learning everything I needed to become the best sous I could. Flash forward a few months later my chef walks out. Quits on the spot.
Normally, the sous should take over which I did. I worked overtime came in at weird hours, did everything and then some by myself for a month.
Restaurant owner tells me he hired another chef over hiring me as full time chef. Some guy from a different state. This guy comes in and tries changing everything and starts RUINING the restaurant. I was beyond ticked in general so I stopped caring much. I decided to look this chef up because he kept telling stories about how cool he was. I look him up and find NOTHING.
Then I remembered a coworker he hired called him by a different last name. So I looked that up. Bingo.
Dude turns out that’s he’s on the run for missing probation and not registering as a CHILD PREDATOR. He has illicit child video charges and wasn’t allowed to be near minors. WE HAD 16 YEAR OLD BUSBOYS.
Anyway, I told the owner this. He got called out for it. Then got fired. After the meeting between him and the owners I put my notice in. Forget being involved with that.”
Don’t Fudge The Numbers
“I worked at a facility that manufactured medical devices, mainly catheters.
One day a work order came in and my manager came into the clean room to hand me the work order and to enter in the order specs (things like dip speed, dwell time, extraction speed and cure time) for the production run. Entering in the specs is literally the one thing I wasn’t allowed to do. That had to be done by a supervisor or the manager.
After he leaves, because why not, I double check the specs before I start the test run. The specs were off. Like, WAY off. I call the manager who literally just entered them in and asked him if he knew something I didn’t and if he wanted me to correct them.
He vehemently told me to leave the specs as is and run the machine as per his specs. I ask for his reasoning (something I don’t normally do, but I had a funny feeling) and all he said was, ‘they won’t know the difference.’
Now, considering these catheters go INSIDE of people and can cause serious injury if they are faulty, I call up the production manager and tell him whats going down. He’s on the phone for less than ten seconds and all he tells me is to stop production and to hang out. Cool, I hadn’t even started so I left the clean room and took a break.
Not even five minutes later I hear some yelling, a door slam and the production manager goes into the clean room to enter the specs into the machine and has me verify the specs right in front of him. He turns to me and says, ‘If this ever happens again, with anyone, let me know. Personally.’
They put him on suspension and sent him home. They started an investigation (there’s a boatload of paper work and lots of paper trails when it comes to medical devices) and it turns out he had been fudging the numbers for a solid month and not with just this customer. The company that had been ordering the products threw a fit and said they would find another manufacturing company if you don’t fire the guy (my boss) immediately. It was a multi-million dollar contract at risk so he was gone after the week-long investigation.
All I got was a measly hand shake and a thanks from the owner of the company.”