Firing an employee can be a very uncomfortable process, especially if the person losing their job is unwilling to go. Things can get even hairier if the firee is angry or combative and ends up causing a scene, making the situation awkward for everyone involved. It's obviously a bad look and leaves little chance the employer will ever give a good recommendation, but some people just can't help but have an immediate and visceral reaction to getting the sack.
Whether it's a guy losing his mind over a substance test he didn't even fail, or a girl who tries to smash physical evidence of her theft and make up lies to divert attention, it's safe to say that whoever hires these people next is in for a crapshow. Here are some of Reddit managers' nuttiest, most dramatic stories of employees who completely freaked when they were fired. Content edited for clarity.
"I once had to fire someone for wearing flip-flops to work when I was a manager in a call center. We had a business professional dress code, but this girl would wear flip-flops to work every single day when the manual literally has a line that says flip-flops are not acceptable. I started off by trying to be the nice guy and just making jokes to her about how she couldn't wear them. Of course, she continued to wear them every single day, so I started to give her real warnings about them.
When I gave her the official verbal warning, she just kind of laughed it off, saying she 'might start wearing shoes in.' During the written warning, she was just downright ticked at me. She kept saying how it was bullcrap that I was targeting just her for being a young girl (keep in mind I'm in my mid 20's and only a year or two older than she is). During the final warning, she said that if I fired her for it she'd just claim that I harassed her and sue the balls off of me.
Sure enough, she just kept wearing the exact same dang pair of flip flops! I took her into the conference room and bluntly told her that she was being terminated for continued dress code violation. She lost it. First, she went into super witch mode and started stringing profanities into various combinations that I had never even dreamed of.
Then she ripped up all her warnings (copies that I had made to show her that we tried to coach her) and threw them at me. After that she started to cry her eyes out, saying that she needed the job because she's a single mother and had to put food on her kid's plate. Lady, if you need food, quit wearing those goddang flip-flops!"
"I used to work at a foundry where we poured iron; it wasn't a glamorous job, but it paid decent enough. When someone got injured or had a near-miss, no matter how small, it was part of my job to take them off-site for a substance test.
One evening someone wasn't paying attention, one of the induction furnaces overheated, and molten iron breached the lining and streamed out onto the floor. Well, before I got into the car with the guy who caused it, I looked at him dead in the eye and said, 'Man, if you're on something lets just forego this whole afternoon and get this over with by fessing up.' He swore up and down that he wasn't, so we went to the hospital.
He went into the doctor's office and 10 minutes later he came back and calmly sat down in his seat. After a bit, the nurse came out and handed me the results. Then, out of nowhere, he jumped up, grabbed the chair he was sitting on, and just went nuts on the door which led back to the lab, ramming the legs of the chair into the door.
He was screaming, 'LIARS, LIARS, LIARS!' Then he turned to me with this look of panic, and said, 'Tell them I am not using, I need this job!' I was like, 'Hey, he isn't on anything.' I mean, who wouldn't say that to get him to calm down? No one wants to be pummeled with a chair.
Security came, and about 10 minutes later so did the cops. His test actually turned out negative, but human resources let him go anyway. I never found out what happened to him. I felt sorry for the guy, but I'm glad I moved to a less stressful job later on down the line."
"I caught an employee stealing one day after a tip-off from a customer clued me in to watch the security footage. The guy opened up a brand new car stereo amp and receiver kit and removed a small plastic package of wires from inside. It was just a little bit of wire, but it meant I couldn't sell the kit as new due to missing parts.
The boss wasn't on site at the time, so it was up to me to fire him. He begged, pleaded, whined, and cried until I finally got him to leave. Later that night, he came back with his girlfriend to beg for his job. His girlfriend wigged out and started threatening to kill herself, then stormed out the door. I had to go after her while the boss handled the thief guy. Ultimately, for whatever the reason, the boss hired him back. Like, seriously, dude?
One week later, I caught him again on the security cameras loading some subwoofers into a trash bag while cleaning the shop. Then he took the trash bag around back and gingerly put it in the dumpster for later recovery. When he came back in, I told him he was fired and that he needed to get out immediately.
His response? He said that I 'had it in' for him, that he didn't do anything wrong, and that the footage (recorded five minutes earlier) wasn't him so I'd set him up. Then he started screaming and raising Cain, flinging stuff off the shelves, and smashing things. He only stopped when two HUGE bodybuilder-type guys came in the shop. I guess he thought I had called them because he took off running like a bat out of you know where. I never saw him again."
"I once fired a guy for lying about having his Master of Business Administration on his resume, then fired the human resources person who cleared him. The guy who lied about his MBA didn't do anything drastic other than making some smart aleck comment about having gotten $70,000 out of the company before we found out. He was a solid asset to the firm and made money for us, but I don't tolerate liars. The HR guy, however, went ballistic. He went into my office, whipped out his junk, and urinated on my desk right in front of me.
Earlier in my life, when I was fresh out of college, I was a warehouse manager/foreman. One time I caught a guy shooting up in the break room and fired him. It was a union warehouse, so he went to his union rep. I wasn't a member of the union even though I did a lot of the same work they did because I was technical management.
Regardless, the head of the union local at that warehouse and I were pretty good friends at the time. When he came to me asking for an across-the-board 3.5-percent raise for the next fiscal year during contract renewal negotiations, I told my boss we couldn't keep the crew for anything less than eight percent and ended up getting them 5.5 percent (I have a soft spot for hard-working labor). I told the union rep what was up and that the idiot I fired was shooting up at work, and he told me the union wouldn't contest the termination. As a result, the guy I fired ended up slashing my tires."
"My boss had been telling me for months that he was going to fire one of my subordinates. He called the guy in his office, talked to him for 30-45 minutes, and the guy walked out. The next morning, I saw the guy at work in another area and my boss told me we were going to try him out in another spot. A few weeks later, boss said he was going to fire him again but wanted me to be a witness that time. I should have known it was going to be trouble.
Boss told the guy that it wasn't working out and we just needed to part ways all while the guy is staring straight at me. Then the boss told him that he had to leave the building, and he totally lost his mind. He started screaming at the top of his lungs at me, 'YOU DID THIS, JERK! YOU SET ME UP TO FAIL, YOU JERK! THIS IS BULLCRAP!'
He must have picked up on my utter look of amazement, because then he said, 'DONT ACT LIKE YOU DIDN'T WANT TO GET RID OF ME, YOU PIECE OF CRAP! YOU MOVED ME TO (other department) SO THAT I'D FAIL! FORGET YOU, JERK! I KNOW YOUR GAMES, FORGET YOU, YOU PIECE OF CRAP!'
The uniform company had delivered a big stack of shirts on hangers that day, and this guy grabbed a bunch by the hangers and threw them at me. I ducked and they flew over my head and knocked all the stuff off the shelves behind me. We also had these ultra heavy duty staplers that you use with one hand (almost like scissors but way heavier). I reached over and grabbed the one on my desk, ready to knock the dude out if he came close to me. He saw me grab it, stood up, grabbed the door handle, and, on his way out, looked at me and said, 'YOU BETTER HOPE I DON'T SEE YOU OUTSIDE!'
As he was walking out, he tore a bulletin board off the wall and destroyed two desktop computers on a desk. A different employee had just ordered business cards which come in a box of 1,000. Fired guy chucked that across the room too, and 1,000 tiny rectangles flew everywhere. We were still finding them underneath things months later. As he reached the back door to walk to his car, an unfortunate employee with no knowledge of the situation said, 'Hey! How's it going?' The poor guy got an earful of expletives as our fired comrade stormed out.
I looked around and saw employees rushing for the doors and locking them. One of them came to me and said, 'You know he carries a .38 on his ankle every day, right?' so I called the cops, told them what happened, and walked outside to make sure I saw his car leave the lot. A few minutes went by and I didn't see anything. Then I felt a tap on my shoulder and nearly pooped myself when I turned around to see him standing there. 'Hey man, no hard feelings, ok?' he said.
I was floored. I told him the cops were coming and that he should leave. He shook my hand and off he went, never to be seen again. That is, until about three months ago, when I was browsing in a shop and heard my name. I turned around, and guess who was working in a store that sold WEAPONS and walking around with one on his hip. The dude approached me like we were best friends.
He asked what I was looking for, so I kinda made some chit chat and used the excuse that I was on my lunch break and had to get going. When I got back to my office, there was a message on my voice mailbox. It was him: 'Hey man, it was good to see you today. Glad you are doing well. Let me know if you need to order anything; I'll let you use my discount. Ok man, take care. Come by the shop and hang out sometime. Later.' What a strange and oblivious man."
"I had to fire a secretary once and she flipped out on me. It was awkward as she did not work for me, but I was her official supervisor as she was on my department's payroll (my department was profitable and the department she worked for was new and not yet profitable). Even more awkward was the fact that, although she was being fired for extensive tardiness, the real reason was that she had recently gotten herself addicted to coke with allegations that she was using at work.
One Friday morning when she bothered to show up late again after about 10 warnings, I asked her to meet with me in a shared office. When she entered, she noticed that my boss was there, as was the head of the department she worked for, and we had the company's general counsel on speakerphone. She knew what was up and immediately got combative, but then she seemed to give in and started to cry, asking to use the ladies room before she left.
A friend of hers followed her in and we heard a commotion; apparently, the fired woman tried to do a line when her friend came in, there was an argument, and the woman slammed her friend's head into the mirror in anger. We called the police and she was removed, but her friend refused to press charges.
Fast forward a month and I received a letter from the state unemployment office stating that she had applied for unemployment and an administrative judge would have a hearing on her eligibility. I participated in the hearing by phone with the judge asking about what happened before her firing (the assault in the bathroom was not considered admissible as it occurred after the firing).
After I walked through the warnings that led to the firing, the judge deemed her ineligible for unemployment, which led to her screaming obscenities over the phone at the judge and her lawyer. I don't know what happened to her after that, but I hope she got help for her problem."
"The guy I was going to fire, his branch manager loathed him with the intensity of one thousand suns, so when she got word that I was coming down to terminate his employment the next day, she couldn't help herself and told everyone in the office. Naturally, word got back to him about 3 seconds later.
I showed up late the next morning and as soon as I hit the door, he stood up from his desk and said, 'You're not going to fire me,' and pulled a .45 out of his briefcase (this was back in the day when people still carried briefcases and kept all their work in them). He chambered a round, turned it around, and tried to pull the trigger but the palm grip safety prevented him.
Like a nitwit, I jumped on him and tried to get the weapon away from him, but he was so slick with sweat I slid off him. He finally figured out where he went wrong, put the .45 up to his chest, and blew a small hole in the front and a really, really big hole in his back.
Obviously, cops show up, statements are taken, and I was told a few thousand times to never try and take a weapon away from anyone. We closed the office for a few days.
I don't think he wasn't going to shoot me. He was a pretty messed up person to begin with - I had to term him because of multiple HR incidents - harassment, unprofessional behavior with clients, etc. I do know his wife had left him a few months prior to this, and he was just a miserable guy. I think the term was the straw that broke the camels back. After that, it pretty much turned into a morbid joke - if I happened to show up at one of the other offices, people either looked horrified or ran for a private office or the bathroom."
"I had only started working at a new store like two weeks earlier, but the manager told me I was now his assistant manager, and I needed to fire the night shift guy. I got a (slight) raise, so I figured I pretty much had to do it. I was only 21, and had very little work (or life) experience. I didn't know how to fire someone.
But, I did it. I came in to work the next morning to fire this guy. I didn't know what to say, so I was like 'look, dude, I know this sucks, but as you know I've been made ASM, and my first order of business was to let you go.' I barely got the words out before he was screaming at me, calling me names, telling me I didn't have the authority, and that he'd been there over a year...and he refused to get out from behind the counter. So, I called my manager, but since he had a raging drinking problem, so he was still passed out cold at 9 am. Meanwhile, the night shift dude called the owner of the business, who sent his son (one of the supervisors). I had the owner and the supervisor screaming at me (one in person, the other on the phone). The supervisor said that I needed to get the manager on the phone, and I better hope he answers, because if he can't fire him, he'd fire me instead.
I called, and the manager finally answers. He has a conversation with the supervisor that lasts about five minutes or so, while I'm sitting there freaking out about the likely event of getting fired myself. After five minutes, the supervisor looks at night shift guy and says 'you're fired, get out.' Then he turns to me and says 'Sorry about that. The idiot manager never actually promoted you...he was just too much of a coward to do his job.'
Two weeks later, I was the manager."
"I let a girl go for stealing $400 out of my wallet while I was outside on a phone call. We had security cameras in my office, but she didn't think they recorded anything. I asked her for the $400 back, but she denied taking it. I showed her the footage, and she leapt for the DVR and began smashing it.
Then she gave me the biggest, maniacal grin and said, 'Good luck firing me now, I'm gonna call your boss and tell him I caught you drinking on the job and that you broke the DVR to cover it up.'
As she was standing there staring me down, I turned on my computer monitor and clicked the saved video of her opening my desk and taking the money out of my wallet. She then lunged at my computer in an attempt to break that too, at which point I pinned her on the ground and called the police.
It ended up being such a huge issue and the crazy part is that she wasn't immediately fired. We had like three meetings of her making up loads of nonsense to get me fired, causing a lot of drama for me. She was the highest selling salesperson at my location, made them about 10k a week, so they really didn't want to let her go. They ended up terminating her, but I also told them I quit and that the company that hired me was taking me on directly and cutting them off as a contractor. It was a crappy company and I'm glad I got out."
"My dad has been a 'boss' for most of his career as he supervises bus drivers for a living. We used to live in a rural area; my mom used to joke that it was 'the last stop before Alaska' for crazy people.
One winter, my dad had to call this big, burly bus driver into his office to fire him. The guy had used racial epithets against some of his riders who were elementary school kids, mind you. It had happened more than once, he'd been warned, and so my dad was going to cut him loose.
My dad told me that he was pretty sure the dude was going to come across the table at him, as the guy was red in the face, barely had a lid on his rage, and made some vague threats. My dad was legitimately shaken up when the guy finally left, but got on with his day.
That night, back at home, my dad was out working in the garage with the garage door open. We lived WAY out in the sticks, and across from our front yard was a big field with trees scattered here and there. Dad was working in the garage when all of a sudden he heard a huge BANG, like a weapon going off. Dad dropped to the ground, remembering the guy he just fired that day, and started to flip out. He figured this idiot was across the street taking freaking shots at him!
Dad held still a few minutes and heard nothing else, so he crawled over to the side of the garage and pulled himself up using the handle of a drawer on his workbench, ready to go in and call the cops. As he stood up, he opened the drawer he used to pull himself up, and realized that the bang he heard was actually...a can of soda pop in the drawer that had frozen and exploded in the frigid midwinter night."
"My boss and I let a woman go who was not performing her job the way she needed to, even after an extended period of working on it with her. When we told her what was going on, she started hyperventilating and we had to call the paramedics because she could not control herself. I felt embarrassed for her.
Another time we had an entry-level delivery driver who had been acting weird, showing up late, taking too long on drives, etc so my boss asked him to take a substances test. He went willingly and then came back to the shop for a few minutes then just left. I asked my boss if he knew what was going on, but he did not.
A little later that afternoon, the driver's mom called and told me that she would pay for all the merchandise he broke if we would let him have his job back. He was over 18, so none of that was her business, but I told her he didn't break anything. As far as I knew, he had not been fired and just left without saying anything. I told her she should go talk to her son and find out what was going on. We never heard from either of them again. His results came back a few days later, and he tested positive for a lot of things."
"I had about five write-ups on this girl at work. She consistently had a crap attitude, would wander off to make long, painfully detailed personal phone calls, and was confrontational and volatile.
My documentation was impeccable and I wrote down, verbatim, every single one of our check-ins, verbal warnings, and constructive criticism conversations, and made her aware of it every time. The day that we sat down with our director to tell her she either needed to move to a different position in a different location or leave the agency, she sat stone-faced while the director read off the exquisitely detailed and specific (with dates and times) incident reports, then asked if she recalled any of those incidents.
She stood up and began a slow clap, then looked me in the face and went, 'Oh, Bill (me), brilliant. Well played! You got me! How proud of yourself are you? Amaaazing. Fantaaastic. Good for you, good for you. Are you happy with yourself? This is just great.'
I sat there and stared at her until she stopped. She sat back down, cleared her throat, and said, 'I had no idea this is how you felt about me, Bill. I wish you had come to me sooner.' Then she started blubbering like a baby about how 'fragile' she was and in the next sentence claimed I hadn't been 'direct' enough with her and just needed someone who 'wouldn't hold (her) hand and just man up and tell (her) what to do.'
Our director looked at her dumbfounded and said, 'Well, no one has ever called Bill a hand-holder before, but if you insist.' Our director then placed her in a location with a high turnover rate and the hardest boss to work for in the agency. She quit soon after marrying one of their staff on a whim. Fun! I also had a woman burst into tears and tell me I was firing her from her entire life. I informed her that if her job was her life, then maybe she should think about taking up some hobbies."