5 True HR Horror Stories
From ghosts and haunted houses to scary movies and costumes, October is the spookiest time of the year. But in the world of HR, eerie things can happen all year round.This Halloween season, we asked HR professionals for their scariest moments. Here are their top 5 horror stories:
1. Secret Side Business
“I once had to deal with an admin employee who submitted a form to increase her own salary. She also forged her manager's signature. Upon investigation, we found out that she was using company property (PC and printer) for this business she was secretly running on the side. She was let go the very next day.” — Daniel Carter, Founder, Zippy Electrics
2. Fake Resume Experience
“At my very first recruitment job, we hired a very senior employee. For his work visa, I needed a copy of his university degree and I had to follow up repeatedly. He kept making excuses, like ‘I need to see if it's in my parents’ basement’. It turns out he had lied on his CV. He resigned immediately.” — Aaron Simmons, Founder, TestPrepGenie.com
3. Disgruntled Boyfriend
“We had a boyfriend of an employee call our main line asking for HR. The boyfriend was very aggravated, saying that another employee was trying to talk to his girlfriend and said some very threatening words, including physical threats and coming to the work property to teach him a lesson. We informed any pertaining individuals/authorities and, for a whole month, our department watched the camera feeds just in case.” — Anonymous
4. Wildlife Encounters
“It was a day like any other when I got a call in the afternoon to address a ‘snake issue’ on the back patio. There was a giant Burmese python hanging out where a lot of employees took their breaks. We called fish and wildlife control, but there was nothing they could do since snakes are transient, and it would have moved by the time they arrived. Instead, we put up a sign to warn employees, and most of them decided to get fresh air somewhere else. I love how HR is the department everyone calls for odd issues. What exactly was I to do as the HR Generalist, grab the snake like Steve Irwin?
There was another time that I had to address a ‘bear issue’. There was a black bear that decided to make the tree in our parking lot his home. Obviously, this was a safety issue so we again called fish and wildlife control, but unless the bear was attacking people, they weren’t going to do anything. We had to send out a memo to the whole office and institute a buddy policy where employees walked out together. On one occasion at night my boss actually ran into the bear as he was approaching his car. He slowly walked away and had to wait to leave until the bear headed back to his tree. This bear issue went on for about a week. Again, I find it funny that HR is the department called to deal with wild animals.” — Dave Rietsema, Founder, CEO, Matchr
5. Chair Throwing
“We had an employee who was having a bad day and threw chairs around in the cafeteria. The employee was called in to talk with our HR manager and their manager in a conference room. I was on standby in the next conference room with my phone ready to dial 911 just in case. That was the most anxiety-filled 30 minutes of waiting in my whole career.” — Anonymous
Every HR professional is bound to find themselves in a spooky situation they’re unsure how to navigate. To learn more about handling those challenging moments, check out HR's Guide to Having Difficult Conversations.
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