Workplace HR Horror Stories

athena21

Member
Aug 8, 2011
486
10
I thought I'd start a thread similar to the retail employee stories thread, but about issues when dealing with HR. After reading some of the stories on here, I'm sure people have a lot.

Here's one to start:

I had a very micromanaging, horrible boss that made a previous lab position a nightmare to work at. After trying to talk to him about giving me space to let me do my work, he responded with "not until I trust you, and that's going to be awhile." Yet at this point (about 3-4 months in) he had already complimented me that I was able to perform a lot of the procedures more efficiently than he could.

So I wrote an e-mail to HR asking for some advice on the issue and explaining that I had already tried speaking with my boss about it. It took her a few days to respond, and she simply suggested having a discussion with my boss (uh, did you not read my e-mail? already tried that) and said she'd be on vacation the next week and wouldn't be able to respond back, without leaving me another point of contact either.

I wrote her back explaining I'd already tried the talking thing, and was there anything else she could suggest. Over a week passed, and I never received another response.

After 6 months of the worst work environment I've ever been in, I decided to move home and lie to my boss (I thought telling him the truth "I hate you and can't work for you" would create a bad final 2 weeks) and said I had to take care of my mom after she had some major surgery.

I e-mailed my notice to the HR lady, and received the response back "Oh I'm sorry to hear about this, I hope it has nothing to do with our earlier conversation!"

Even better, I had been applying for other jobs during my last couple months there, and when the HR lady asked for a "formal" resignation letter instead of just a basic e-mail, I stupidly attached a cover letter for one of the positions I had applied for - I saved it under the wrong file. She responded back with a cold "I think you sent the wrong file." Oops!
 

redney

Lovin' Life!
O.G.
Apr 21, 2006
14,038
5,393
I'm sorry you have had a bad experience with HR at your previous organization. Professionally I've been in and around corporate HR organizations for nearly 20 years and now head up talent management strategy consulting projects for companies. Most HR organizations with whom I've had experience have had a mix of people with skills levels on all points on the competence spectrum, which is similar to the companies for which they work, KWIM?

It's a shame that there are frustrating situations and not-so-competent professionals out there, but to be fair these are found everywhere and not just in HR. We all encounter PITA bosses, company leadership, co-workers, subordinates, clients, etc.

Perhaps this thread can be broadened to focus on complaints for incompetence at work, and not singling out a single department.
 

babypie

Member
Jun 3, 2007
18,913
2
I once worked with a woman who made racist remarks daily with our boss sitting at the desk right next to her. Three of us complained to HR. The woman was spoken to by HR and was quiet for about 2 weeks, then started up again like nothing had happened. Complained to HR again. Nothing was done. I left soon after and heard she still works there to this day.
 
Jan 25, 2006
25,474
44
Maryland
My last boss would LOUDLY share her opinions on religion, politics, and sexual orientation around the office. I was working for a large University that clearly states in the employee handbook that things like this will not be tolerated. She would also retaliate against employees if she was mad at them by giving them other peoples work, screwing with their parking etc. Many people had complained about her and nothing was ever done with her. She would receieve slaps on the hand and be back at it again of course after she retaliated against the employee who went to HR about her. HR seems to have the idea that if you don't like your job quit and find another one and it shouldn't be this way. A lot of managers should be fired.
 

doreenjoy

zzz
Feb 6, 2008
10,642
51
I once worked with a woman who made racist remarks daily with our boss sitting at the desk right next to her. Three of us complained to HR. The woman was spoken to by HR and was quiet for about 2 weeks, then started up again like nothing had happened. Complained to HR again. Nothing was done. I left soon after and heard she still works there to this day.
My next call:

"Hello, Dept of Labor? I need to file a complaint against a hostile work environment..."
 
Oct 20, 2008
4,209
1,559
it is good to remember that when push comes to shove, HR is there to protect the Company and, unless the situation is cut-and-dried, will most likely side with management, specially upper management. so be judicious with how you use HR and its services.
 
Sep 11, 2006
6,852
2,246
U.K.
it is good to remember that when push comes to shove, HR is there to protect the Company and, unless the situation is cut-and-dried, will most likely side with management, specially upper management. so be judicious with how you use HR and its services.
This is so very true. Wasn't funny at the time but the outcome did turn out to be hilarious.

Many many many years ago, I had cause to complain to HR about the way I was being treated by a manager (had the full support of the rest of the team as witnesses). Turns out the Personnel Officer who was tasked with the meeting was having an affair with said manager. When that all came out, neither of them came out of it very well as she should have excused herself from dealing with the complaint! He got moved and she was demoted.