HR Horror Stories
26 November 2021

HR Horror Stories


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


HR transformation


Everyone has been told a horror story by a friend or colleague regarding a previous employer.  Some are quite funny and some are simply ridiculous.  Below are a few from around the web.

How not to impress your boss

“Several years ago, while working for a local newspaper, a distressed supervisor called me because the employee’s mother showed up with the employee for the performance review. She said she felt it was just like a ‘parent-teacher’ conference, and that her help would probably be needed to make sure her son met work standards. The son was 22.” – Source –

Below is a letter sent out by a new HR Manager at an undisclosed company.

Dear Staff,

It is advised that you come to work dressed according to your salary.  If we see you wearing Prada trainers & carrying a Gucci bag we assume you are doing well financially and therefore you do not need a pay rise.  If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better, so that you may buy nicer clothes and therefore you do not need a pay rise.  If you dress in-between, you are right where you need to be and therefore you do not need a pay rise.

We will no longer accept a doctor statement as proof of sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.

Operations are now banned. As long as you are an employee here, you need all your organs. You should not consider removing anything. We hired you intact. To have something removed constitutes a breach of employment.

Each employee will receive 104 personal days a year. 

They are called Saturday & Sunday.

All employees will take their vacation at the same time every year. 

The holidays are as follows: January 1 & December 25

Entirely too much time is being spent in the toilets. In the future, we will follow the practice of going in alphabetical Order. For instance, all employees whose names begin with ‘ A’ will go from 8:00 to 8:20, employees whose names begin with ‘ B’ will go from 8:20 to 8:40 and so on. If you’re unable to go at your allotted time, it will be necessary to wait until the next day when your turn comes again.
In extreme emergencies, employees may swap their time with a co-worker. Both employees’ supervisors must approve this exchange in writing. In addition, there is now a strict 3-minute time limit in the stalls. At the end of three minutes, an alarm will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract, the ‘ trap’ door will open and a picture will be taken.
After your second offence, your picture will be posted on the company bulletin board under the ‘ Chronic Offenders’ category.

Skinny people get 30 minutes for lunch as they need to eat more so that they can look healthy.

Normal size people get 15 minutes for lunch to get a balanced meal to maintain their average figure.
Fat people get 5 minutes for lunch, because that’s all the time needed to drink a Slim Fast and take a diet pill.
Thank you for your loyalty to our company. We are here to provide a positive employment experience. Therefore, all questions, comments, concerns, complaints, frustrations, irritations, aggravations, insinuations, allegations, accusations, contemplation, consternation and input should be directed elsewhere.

Source – Guy Sports

A lesson in over enthusiasm

A big steel company was feeling it was time for a shakeup so they hired a new head of human resources.  Well, the new boss was determined to rid the company of all slackers.
On a tour of the facilities, this HR supremo noticed a guy leaning against a wall.  The room was full of workers and he wanted to let them know that he meant business; so he asked the guy, “How much money do you make a week?”

A little surprised, the young man looked at him and said, “I make $500 a week. Why?”  The Human Resources boss said, “Wait right here.” He walked back to his office, came back in two minutes, and handed the guy $2,000 in cash and said, “Here’s four weeks’ pay. Now GET OUT and don’t come back.”

Feeling pretty good about himself, the new boss looked around the room and asked, “Does anyone want to tell me what that slacker did here?”  From across the room a voice said, “Pizza delivery guy from Domino’s.” – Source – Guy Sports

How not to fire an employee

After working at a bank for 23 years, an employee got a new supervisor, who quickly unveiled an updated org chart — which didn’t include the employee’s name. Not surprisingly, he was let go shortly after. – Source HR Tech News

Fast food employee gains weight and sues employer

The company famous for “happy meals”, has at least one ex-manager who is anything but happy with the food selection at work.

A former manager at a McDonald’s restaurant in Brazil was awarded $17,500 because he gained over 60 lbs during his employment.

The man claims the restaurant is responsible for his significant weight gain during the 12 years he worked at the franchise. The former McDonald’s manager felt it was his job responsibility to sample the food every day to make sure it was up to standards. He felt he was forced to do so because McDonald’s hired “mystery clients” to randomly visit restaurants and report on their experiences, including the quality of the food.

In addition to taste-testing, the former manager also blames the company for offering free lunches to employees, claiming the perk exposes employees, like him, to additional unhealthy foods.

According to news sources, McDonald’s is considering whether they will appear the judge’s ruling. “The chain offers a large variety of options and balanced menus to cater (to) the daily dietary needs of its employees,” the company said in the statement. – Source HR Strange But True

How not to write a cover letter

Dear Sir or Madame:

I am an ambitious undergraduate at NYU triple majoring in Mathematics, Economics, and Computer Science. I am a punctual, personable, and shrewd individual, yet I have a quality which I pride myself on more than any of these.

I am unequivocally the most unflaggingly hard worker I know, and I love self-improvement. I have always felt that my time should be spent wisely, so I continuously challenge myself; I left Villanova because the work was too easy. Once I realized I could achieve a perfect GPA while holding a part-time job at NYU, I decided to redouble my effort by placing out of two classes, taking two honors classes, and holding two part-time jobs. That semester I achieved a 3.93, and in the same time I managed to bench double my bodyweight and do 35 pull-ups.

I say these things only because solid evidence is more convincing than unverifiable statements, and I want to demonstrate that I am a hard worker. J.P. Morgan is a firm with a reputation that precedes itself and employees who represent only the best and rightest in finance. I know that the employees in this firm will push me to excellence, especially within the Investment Banking division. In fact, one of the supporting reasons I chose Investment Banking over any other division was that I know it is difficult. I hope to augment my character by diligently working for the professionals at Morgan Stanley, and I feel I have much to offer in return.

I am proficient in several programming languages, and I can pick up a new one very quickly. For instance, I learned a years worth of Java from NYU in 27 days on my own; this is how I placed out of two including: Money and Banking, Analysis, Game Theory, Probability and Statistics. Even further, I am taking Machine Learning and Probabilistic Graphical Modeling currently, two programming courses offered by Stanford, so that I may truly offer the most if I am accepted. I am proficient with Bloomberg terminals, excellent with excel, and can perform basic office functions with terrifying efficiency. I have plenty of experience in the professional world through my internship at Merrill Lynch, and my research assistant position at NYU. In fact, my most recent employer has found me so useful that he promoted me to a Research Assistant and an official CTED intern. This role is usually reserved for Masters students, but my employer gave the title to me so that he could give me more work.

Please realize that I am not a braggart or conceited, I just want to outline my usefulness. Egos can be a huge liability, and I try not to have one.

Thank you so much for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.



Source – Gawker