June 5 2010|11.27 AM UTC

Stan Reybern

You’re Fired: 11 Horrific Layoff Stories

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Layoffs are rarely pleasant even under the best circumstances. After all, it’s pretty tough to put a positive spin on the sudden loss of your job. However, given the already bad undertones of a layoff, the way in which it is handled can make all the difference. Some employers (especially during recessions) add insult to injury by delivering news of layoffs in hurtful, embarrassing, or completely unexpected ways, which can create serious frustration for the victims. Here are 11 layoff horror stories from past and present that will make you grateful to still be employed.

“Get Well Soon, & Get a New Job”


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Hearing that you’ve been laid off is tough to stomach even in full health, so you can imagine the indignity of being given the news while bedridden with illness. Gawker.com tells the story of an unnamed person who honorably kept showing up to work despite lack of health insurance or treatment until being “dragged to the emergency room by a friend” for an unavoidable five night stint in the hospital. Rather than being rewarded for this praiseworthy display of workplace dedication, this person actually got canned! Her manager stopped by at home to “check on things”, bringing a bouquet of flowers and a severance check, presumably because of the time spent in the ER rather than at work. The now unemployed woman is said to still be paying off her hospital bill.

“SylviaFired.doc”


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Most of us regard our job status as a private matter between ourselves and our employers, not water-cooler fodder to be discussed publicly. Unfortunately, this seemingly reasonable request is not always honored. TheHighDefinite.com recalls the plight of a woman named Sylvia who was informed of her impending layoff not by telephone, not by e-mail, and not by a private one-on-one conference, but by discovering a Microsoft Word file called “SylviaFired.doc” which had been saved for public viewing on the company’s shared virtual hard drive! Worse yet, the memo was full of spelling and grammar errors, leading Sylvia to spend the last few hours of on-the-clock time fixing them. While Sylvia remembers this as “the most fulfilling project I took on during my time there” it’s an extremely embarrassing way to be given the heave-ho nonetheless.

“Got The News From Reuters”


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Millions of people get all kinds of news from Reuters, from sports to world affairs to finance. What none of us would ever expect to hear from a news wire report, however, is that we had lost our jobs. But as Thomasnet states, one employee of a large bank discovered that his entire division was being eliminated via a Reuters wire. Apparently, an unhappy bank insider leaked the story to the press before the bank had finalized any of its plans and the news spread like wildfire to the entire soon-to-be-scrapped team. Bank management frantically tried to play damage control (calling a closed-door meeting to avoid pandemonium) but the proverbial horses were already out of the barn by then. The bank’s HQ is said to be devising a strategy to deal with lawsuits from employees alleging mental pain and suffering.

“Train Your Replacements & Get The Hell Out”


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A growing number of companies are retaining employees they plan to layoff just long enough for them to train their cheap foreign replacements. Yahoo joined the party in December 2008, reportedly laying off eight to ten people as soon as they had finished training their web search analysis successors in India. What’s worse is the cruel timing of the layoffs. One disgruntled employee lamented the injustice of being kept around “only to get laid off two weeks before Christmas with a rather pathetic and hollow thank-you for having done so much work on the outsourcing.” Other companies (such as media research firm Nielsen) have taken to literally forcing employees to remain until their replacements are trained by withholding severance pay and unemployment benefits eligibility if they leave beforehand.

“You’re Next!”


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Big waves of layoffs are brutal for HR staff, who are often charged with delivering the news to recently laid off (and pissed off) employees. But in some cases, this is only half the battle. A telling example is a man who was asked to create and deliver “exit packages” (containing severance pay, final paperwork, etc.) to those being laid off…and then received his own the day after he finished handing them out to all the others. Talk about squeezing every last drop out of someone before tossing them to the curb! If this didn’t send shivers through what remained of the HR department, we don’t know what will.

“Changed The Locks”


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One of the last things a freshly laid off employee does at the workplace as gather his belongings, usually into a big box that makes their firing obvious to everyone. Apparently, however, some people don’t even get to do that. BerkeleyDaily.com remembers a horror story from the aftermath of the dotcom bust where one man could not even retrieve his possessions. The story quoted a union representative as saying:

“The locks were changed on the building and one of the guys had all his personal belongings impounded in the building. There’s no notice of when and how or if they will be paid.”

Such scenarios are apparently common in financially struggling companies, as are lengthy, protracted court battles over any back compensation you might be owed by the dying enterprise.

“Give a Book, Lose Your Job”


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Managers are constantly encouraging employees to take initiative in their jobs, such as by staying abreast of industry trends or keeping an eye out for new books that could give them an edge. It comes as somewhat of a mixed message, then, that one poster on FiredForNow.com reports being fired after doing exactly that. According to the anonymous commenter, he had told his boss (who was known to enjoy reading industry books) that he had come across a book the boss would like. The boss shot off a cheery “Awesome! I’ll come pick it up – thanks!” via e-mail, and summoned the employee to his office just hours later. Figuring he would save the boss a trip, he brought the book with him and handed it over as soon as he arrived. Amazingly, the boss then dropped the bombshell that the employee was being fired, held out the book and said “I guess you want this back, huh?” Evidently, the old adage to “expect the unexpected” is alive and well in corporate America.

“Fired During Surgery”


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So far we’ve seen firing via public memo, book exchange and get well soon visit, but perhaps none of them top the sheer absurdity of this one. According to the Examiner, a nurse in the Madison, WI area was literally “pulled out of surgery to be told she would be losing her job” at Dean’s West Clinic. Evidently, clinic management had received word from the parent company to lay off 90 employees immediately, which Dean’s West wasted little time enforcing. Amazingly, the sudden, unplanned lack of a nurse for the surgical procedure she was assisting with “did not violate any patient care procedures” according to the Examiner.

“Hyatt Housekeepers Laid Off For Minimum Wage Replacements”

One unhappy reality of business is cost-cutting, especially during tough times. The Daily Kos reports in September 2009 that Hyatt Hotels has laid off its benefited housekeeping staff (who earn $15+ per hour with health insurance) in order to bring in an outsourced firm willing to work for $8 with no benefits at all. While the Kos has somewhat exaggerated the situation in its typical fashion, it’s certainly horrific to abruptly lose your income and health insurance benefits in the middle of a recession with full knowledge that you probably wont be getting hired at anything close to your old salary.

“Duck Duck Goose Layoffs”


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As we’ve seen in many of these stories, the handling of the layoff is often harsher than the layoff itself. David Drach’s story reminds us just how true this is. Working as a network administrator for ex-dotcom company DoDots, Drach observed with shock as the company called he and his co-workers into various conference rooms for mysterious and abrupt “meetings.” The events that transpired are described thusly by Drach:

“They walked by and tapped people on the shoulders and told them to go home for today and come back tomorrow. They laid everybody else off,” he said. “They may as well have gotten people together in the circle and started playing duck-duck-goose.”

Talk about humiliation! While Drach found a new job rather easily, he still remains shaken by his layoff at DoDot, noting that “even after I got laid off, two of my friends stayed back to help the moving company. I got to go back to the scene of the crime after the fact. You can just see the shock still in their eyes.”.

“Fired During a Fire Drill”


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Milwaukee Unemployment Examiner writer Christine Wodke received word about a truly appalling “wave” of layoffs in April 2009 – no pun intended. According to a reader e-mail, a “large office campus” was evacuated during a fire drill, causing hundreds of employees to empty out of the multi-building complex and into a public outdoor area. What happened next is almost difficult for a sane person to comprehend. While the employees gathered in their assigned areas and waited to be signaled back indoors, the person in charge of the drill spoke the following words over a loudspeaker:

“Due to the ongoing recession and bad business climate, the company is laying off 50% of its staff. So when the announcement finishes I ask all of you to move back to the building. If your employee card does not give you access to the building , it means you have been laid off and will not be allowed inside the building. All of your belongings will be sent to you.”

The rationale for this impromptu (to say the least) layoff method? The desire to not “clog our e-mail system with layoff notices and farewell messages”, as well as “avoiding any fighting inside the office and security issues” for the staff, according to the Examiner.

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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Sean October 6, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Yea its really hard to be doing the firing.

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Simon October 6, 2009 at 6:52 pm

A friend of mine in South Korea worked at a ski resort as a ski instructor. Supposedly – this is how the story goes – she was skiing with another instructor when the other instructor got in an accident and broke her neck. People visited her at the hospital the next day, along with the boss, who asked if she could work tomorrow. No? Can’t work tomorrow? You’re fired.

Wham bam thank you ma’am.

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BillShrink_Guy October 6, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Simon: Wow that particular one is pretty rough… your friend’s ex-boss probably won the ahole-boss-of-the-year award.

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TorontoKev October 6, 2009 at 7:19 pm

Heh, I remember one of my first jobs in the IT department, I was told to disable someone’s account, as they were being terminated.

That person then came back from their lunch and called our department asking why she could not log in. Another IT person in the background said loudly “What? I heard she was TERMINATED??!” (I know, an IT professional lacking tact!). The other end of the phone suddenly was understandably quiet and shocked. I blubbered something about I’ll look into it and hung up. Human resources later phoned me to apologize.

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LicensedNerd October 6, 2009 at 7:36 pm

My sister told me that one of her underlings, who was tasked with making out the checks, asked my sister about the format of my sister’s payroll check, my sister replied that this was a termination check, and this is how she found out that she was being fired.

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Greg October 6, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Fired at Apple for taking a picture of Steve Jobs.

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walter mitty October 6, 2009 at 7:44 pm

I went out for surgery (which I had to pay a $1k copay for) and was laid off on the day I returned to work.

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Chris C June 11, 2010 at 10:13 am

Similar here. Went out for surgery in November, got back right before Thanksgiving and was told the day I returned that I was being let go (not laid off, out-and-out terminated).

Wife had same experience a year ago February.

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peter October 6, 2009 at 7:50 pm

I got fired during Paternity leave from work. My daughter was born right after Thanksgiving, a week later I got a call from my boss that the firm was downsizing and was letting me go.
Even though I personally accounted for a total sale of $1.5B (yes, Billion) by myself.
Kicker was I was escorted by security the following day to collect my belonging.

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Roger Strong October 6, 2009 at 7:56 pm

I recall reading a story in the newspaper back around 2001 about a company that had a mass layoff – on Take Your Daughter To Work Day.

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Mary October 6, 2009 at 8:22 pm

I had been at a job for about 6 months, doing well-then got sick, had to go to the hospital and have surgery-and it wasn’t planned.
The day I returned home, I got a call from the company and was told that I was laid off as of that day.

I had the insurance just long enough to cover the bill.

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Mary October 6, 2009 at 8:22 pm

I had been at a job for about 6 months, doing well-then got sick, had to go to the hospital and have surgery-and it wasn’t planned.
The day I returned home, I got a call from the company and was told that I was laid off as of that day.

I had the insurance just long enough to cover the hospital bill.

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Sean October 6, 2009 at 8:29 pm

I got layed off less than 2 weeks after my son was born, at the same company a friend was layed off the day he got back from his honeymoon.

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Vibius October 6, 2009 at 10:38 pm

I was a union rep at a big phone company and 1 time the companies VP assistant put the paper work in too early for 6 employees. Not early enough however. While they were working suddenly systems stopped working. One called IT and was told that their access had been revoked. I had 3 of the 6 at my desk freaking out within minutes.

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James October 6, 2009 at 10:46 pm

Employers do not decide who will get unemployment compensation; that is decided by examiners who follow the law. If an employee is fired, the burden of proof is on the employer to show willful misconduct; absent that proof, benefits cannot be denied. And severance is not deductible as earnings.

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GREGDIDNTFOLLOWTHERULES October 6, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Well, I hate to be the one to point this out. But if you took a picture of Steve Jobs at apple. You were violating standard corporate policy. Most Tech companies have a no photo or video rule within their private property. So, really, you were fired for your own stupidity.

This must be why they now mention at all new hire events, “and if you see Mr. Jobs, dont take pictures of him, or walk up to him and tell him how amazing he is.” Your stupid mistake undoubtably created a job for someone. The position is more than likely called, “Point out the obvious”.

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website design October 7, 2009 at 12:48 am

This is why you make best friends of the people in accounting. They know whats coming before anyone else does. I was lucky to have a good friend in finance tell me of the inevitable bankruptcy my company was headed towards. It gave me enough time to find another job and jump ship with my vacation time cashed in before it actually happened. It was good I did, because as soon as they filed for bankruptcy all unused vacation pay was withheld until the company could sell off its assets to pay for it.

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db October 7, 2009 at 12:59 am

if you owe child support and get laid off the amount remains unchanged until you get a new job with a lower pay… rules differ by state and judge…but that my statement is how the judicial system sees it

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Bitslicer October 7, 2009 at 6:13 am

Back in the ’70s a large electronic company in Dallas called selected employees in to the cafeteria for a ‘meeting’. After all were assembled the lay-off announcement was made. The doors back to the plant were secured by guards. The no longer employed were then escorted out an emergency exit and told to drop their badges in to the box. Again their stuff was then sent to them.

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CommonDoorLocks October 7, 2009 at 7:10 am

Some of these sound a lot like the company my Dad works for. Basically, people go home thinking everything is fine, only to show up for work the next day, try to key-card in, and find that their card doesn’t work anymore.

They then get 10 minutes with a security escort to fetch their stuff from their workspace.

No warning, no notice, no nothing. Just a locked door in the morning when you get to work.

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james October 7, 2009 at 8:15 am

man i love living in the UK, where we actually have employment rights.

Capatalism FTW. Good luck with that america.

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BillyRayJoeBob October 7, 2009 at 9:18 am

I used to work for a very large electronics company. They were moving us into a new office building, and two days before we were supposed to move, they had us all go into the new building for a meeting. We figured we were going to be told about the move, but instead we were all laid off. When we went back to our building, our computers had been taken off our desks and locked in a room. We weren’t allowed to take anything out of the building unless we had a property pass. This meant I couldn’t take my own CD player and CDs home with me. This last bit upset the head of HR, and when we returned the next day to clean out our offices, the security staff was not there. Over the weekend, managers from other divisions ransacked our office. Anything useful that wasn’t locked up was stolen. Still, it was a great layoff. I got 5 months pay with full benefits for 3 months, and I got a job long before that was over…

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Nadine October 7, 2009 at 9:43 am

Against various rules and regulations, I worked completely alone in a small but busy city centre office/store. I was the manager and sole employee of said office. My duties ranged from normal office stuff, to making coffees for clients, and working as a retial employee for the customers(we where a printing office)
I was over worked, often doing three to four hours of over time, with no overtime pay, and as I was alone in the office I couldnt take a lunch break. I couldnt even change lightbulbs in the ceiling, or clean the tall windows, as I was terrified if i had an accident, I’d be stuck, alone, with no one to notice I was even absent from my desk because I was called by the bosses on average, 3 times a week.
I was also frequently told to keep the door unlocked despite being near a collge, main road, and drug clinic, as wellas more than a few bars. Daily, creepy as f*** weirdo’s would pass by my door. I’m 5’5 and weigh 120 pounds. I cant fight off a COLD. I was also injured on the job several times, one cut to my finger that realistically should have taken stitches and to this day limits my flexibility. In june this year I worked myself half to death organising two large events. I was told about both at the same time, one a bbq to celebrate green day(yeah, i know) where i needed to sort out both the food and entertainment with THREE DAYS notice. The next was a networking event a week later where i had to be on hand to organise the office for people to move around, and srve all the drinks and food. I was also left alone both times to do all the cleaning and tidying the next morning(i’d had to do the same for the xmas party earlier in my time there)
A week after the networking event, on a wednesday, my boss arrived unexpectedly. She informed me I was being let go, which I’d expected as the ‘store’ didnt make much money. I asked if i should finish the month, which would have meant ten more days there’ She said no. I asked if I should finish to friday. She said no. I asked if i should finish THE DAY.
She asked me for my keys and told me to go and enjoy what was left of the day.
I was left alone, in the middle of town, with no way home and very suddenly unemployed.

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Jack October 7, 2009 at 9:58 am

My old boss was very proud of this story. He gathered all the employees together in the conference room, said “raise your hand if you’re coming into work tomorrow.” Everyone raised their hands, he then said to one girl, “No Michelle, lower your hand. You will not be coming in tomorrow.”

No warning, no nothing.

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Steve October 7, 2009 at 11:26 am

A friend got called into the bosses office at the IT dept of the university we both worked for. The boss asked “how long have you worked here. He replied ” 23 years” . The boss then says ” well..I guess your not going to make it to 24″
He did get the last laugh however – during the two weeks notice they gave him, he got himself on long term disability
and university ended up paying him full salary for 3 more years.

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knifeyspooney October 7, 2009 at 11:28 am

A Very Important Executive on the other side of the country got me on the phone to troubleshoot his VPN connection. I told him everything looked fine – then asked the person in charge of the VPN who said, “oh yeah, he’s fired – they just haven’t told him yet – when he calls me I just say we’re having VPN issues.”

So when the Very Important Executive called me again I had to basically say, “yeah, contrary to what I said before, we’re having massive VPN problems – try again later.”

That went on for three weeks.

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wgc October 7, 2009 at 11:37 am

One of my stories …

At a startup where all of us worked ridiculous hours, my manager tried to expand my responsibilities to tasks that required I always be the first one in AND the last one to leave. I objected to the insanity and thought they saw reason. That night I was the only one at the office until 11:30 taking care of yet another issue. First thing in the morning I was laid off for “not caring enough about the company to do whatever is necessary”.

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Dan October 7, 2009 at 11:41 am

An ISP I worked for had a meeting and let us know they were going out of business and this would be our last day of work. They told us this at noon and we were required to work until the end of the day fielding calls from angry customers who’d just been cut off without warning (or refunds). It was one of my first jobs so I stupidly stayed until quitting time only to have my last two paychecks bounce.

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James October 7, 2009 at 11:58 am

Working at a call center in Canada.
We left work friday night at 11pm. When we went back at 5 all the doors were locked.

No last two weeks pay, no severence. Nothing.

All the management fled the company, 250 people lost their jobs. No one has ever been charged with any wrong doing.

The last time i checked, all the computers, server and EVERYTHING was still in the building, along with notes from the owner of the property saying my company owed them money and they were seizing all property

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SWS October 7, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Wow, some of these really suck, especially the one with the fire drill. That is inexcusable doing that way!

When I got laid off from a DCOM it was actually a relief, even though I thought the way they did it was shitty!

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Nick October 7, 2009 at 1:08 pm

I was laid off 4 days before my 2nd son was born. They knew that the baby was coming, and said that “getting laid off now is the best thing for you! You will be able to spend a lot more time with the new baby!”

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Mark October 7, 2009 at 6:27 pm

In the 80′s I was with a credit card company who went through a “reduction in force” that caused a rather embarrassing spectacle. A rumor was circulating – a few days before – that about 50 people were going to be “let go” on the 15th. People were on pins and needles.

I was one of the managers who had to cut four (4) from the department I managed. I hated this – as they were amazing people – but cost cutting was mandated. The HR department planned everything several days before – including the plan for the IT Department to deactivate the KeyCards for those who were being terminated. Since all the terminations were set for 9:30 a.m. – the plan was to deactivate their cards at 12 noon – on the 15th.

The next morning, the day of the terminations, I was 15 minutes late – due to a wreck on the Interstate. As I walked into the building – there were 30-40 people in the lobby – looking rather bewildered and worried. Their KeyCards wouldn’t work – and due to company policy no one was EVER allowed to let someone walk through a KeyLock door without swiping their own card – as this was a highly-secure company and they need an audit trail of who came and went. If there was ever a card failure you had to call the security department from the lobby phone.

As I was preparing to swipe my card I saw three of the people I was suppose to terminate at 9:30 a.m. – walking towards me. They were pissed – and had already come to the conclusion that this was a rather unplanned way of letting them know that this was likely their last day. I couldn’t confirm their hypothesis – but they knew as they read my expression of embarrassment and disbelief.

I’ll spare the details – but I’ll say that all of the well-rehearsed plans flew out the window and we learned that afternoon that someone in IT deactivated the cards at 12 midnight, the night before, rather than 12 noon.

In the 20 years since this horrible event, I have experienced several quick pangs to the stomach anytime my card didn’t immediately grant me access into the office.

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Ben October 8, 2009 at 7:24 am

I’ve got two wonderful past employees who were quite courteous in my terminations. Except the opposite.

The first was a hospital which had brought me on in the fall. They’d initially agreed to pay my relocation, then partially reneged and said they’d only cover a certain amount and that I’d have to agree to pay it back if I left before a 3-year period. (This was directly after college, and I had no savings to afford anything but to say “yes”.) I was axed on January 4th. As a new employee, I was not allowed to take vacation for a year, though I had accrued half a year of vacation and sick leave which I could not collect. This, plus not being allowed to work the lengthy holiday, verbal promises that my job was secure despite the painfully low census at the hospital. The termination letter was also full of false accusations (slanderous, really) and my name was spelled incorrectly. They also insisted that I repay the relocation fees (an insistence that was promptly disregarded.)

The second was a small publishing company. They laid me off 1.6 months after I was hired. I’d been aggressively looking for work and (surprisingly) had several job offers in the period that I worked there; things seemed a bit tenuous with the company due to overall financials due to a split amongst the owners, so I asked about the viability of long-term employment with the company, and whether I should look elsewhere. They said, without a question, my position was secure – so I started looking into getting into an apartment (out of family’s housing). The following Monday I was laid off.

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Ben October 8, 2009 at 7:28 am

Oh yeah, three more things to add: the first termination occurred 3 months after my child was born, and I’ve had a nearly-impossible time finding an employer who will even look at my resume with such short stints of employment. I’ve, essentially, been unemployed for the past two years due to these events, despite being an honest, considerate, and ethical person who has always excelled at tasks put before me.

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JC October 9, 2009 at 11:12 pm

My old company decided to outsource their entire IT dept to a POS company of PLANO, TX. They said that if you receive an offer letter you are safe. Two months before the transition I received my offer letter and I was exited and happy to still have a job (unlike about 800 employees). I was told the company would do I background check (I knew I would pass) and I drug test (also I knew I was fine), but I was never informed of credit check.

The big day for the transition was here I went home Friday and came back Monday working for the new company. Nothing had changed I was happy. About a week later I get a call on SUNDAY from an HR rep who told me they do a CREDIT check as part of the transition and there was some stuff on my credit they wanted to clear with me. I called them back on Monday and explained to them everything. The call ended and I was confident I would be ok. Tuesday I get another call from another HR rep asking me for more information and it is then that I am informed I need to get approval from the VP of my org (at the new company) because they have this policy and they wont hire anyone with bad credit. Now this was to do the same job for the same company I worked for 1 1/2 week before.

I was extremely upset and went to speak with my former boss who then sent me home to cool off (HE WAS THE BEST BOSS EVER).

I got home logged in and started working when my new boss calls me and gives me the bad news and tells me I was being laid off for having bad credit.

I begged for my job (I am an extremely proud person) cried on the phone they didn’t care. They asked me to go back to the office and return my phone, laptop and corp. credit cards.

I went on a rampage and tried to use both corp. cards but they were already cancelled. I kept my phone for almost 6 months.

I was so angry because I was going to be at the same company at the same desk working with the same people doing the same job…. If my credit was good enough for company A (which was a GREAT company with GREAT benefits), why not for company B?

I then tried to get my severance package witch was part of the outsourcing deal and was told NO “You never worked for us”. This is after I received a check from them as an employee not a consultant.

After 2 months I spoke to my former boss who told me to call HR for my old company and explained to them what happened. After about a week of calling different people who were involved with the outsourcing contract I got to the right person who promised would take care of it. I flew to PR for the Christmas break (I had purchased the tickets in May way before this thing started). I got home after new years and in my mailbox I had a severance check from my old company and a very nice letter apologizing for the ordeal I had gone through.

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BLM October 11, 2009 at 5:17 am

Aah, I have two of my own.

First one I arrived at work, on my birthday, having announced my wife & I were pregnant with son #2, to find my account cancelled, half the staff was in the same position. No warning, just arrive at work to realise you are cut back… Only consolation? I did get my severance and the CEO got cut back in the next round of layoffs… guess they didn’t like the fact he was claiming expenses of more than my yearly salary A MONTH!

Second one (many years later), I arrive back from spending time with my sister (due to my collapsing marriage, nervous wreck). I got explicit approval for the leave from the VP because we were in the middle of a project.

Got back, went in to work to get a phonecall on the way to come to the VP’s office where I got handed a garden leave letter (you’re not fired, but don’t come in to work), asked to hand in all company items, escorted off the property.

Two weeks later they claim I caused the project to fail (external software with bugs, vendor said to upgrade, my director said we wouldn’t upgrade until they fixed the bugs… what?) and that my performance was completely unacceptable. A month after getting a performance appraisal of above normal… and a year after getting acknowleged with a cash bonus for excellent, money saving, work.

Was months later with strained communications between myself and company and some external auditors before the truth emerged that they clumsily had suspected me of a security leak. The auditors proved completely false and ordered them to sign off on my employment reference that I needed for my next job, which they had been refusing to do. Even to the point that they wouldn’t admit I had worked there for six years! WTF!

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mc October 13, 2009 at 4:00 pm

With the subterfuges and “these-aren’t-really-people” attitude, this reminds me of Holocaust stories–this group goes to the showers and gas, and the rest go to the labor camp. Same spirit.

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notmisternutt October 16, 2009 at 10:57 am

When I was layed off in September of 2008, at the beginning of this whole debacle, I was informed that we had a new employee joining the IT department. The employee was my replacement and I was layed off within 10 minutes of the news.

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KellyB October 20, 2009 at 10:59 pm

I was planning to roll off a project where I was billable in 3 weeks time and the company told me I was going to the “bench” until I found my next project. A couple of days later, managers from random projects started calling to disucuss their projects with me – projects requiring skills that I had no experience with. About one week before I was to roll onto the bench, HR wrote me stating that I had rejected one of the project manager’s assignments and that I would be terminated. I had to work that remaining week as a billable resource on a project knowing I was already fired from the company!

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CPC October 22, 2009 at 8:20 am

I worked for over a year as a bank teller, and 3 months ago i had got a new manager. She seemed nice, but somehow i just got a vibe from her that she didn’t like me even if it didn’t really look like it. She also recently hired one of her good friends. Also my assistant manager was a witch, but she would act differently when my manager was around, and when she wasn’t she would her mood would change like the weather. I lived the farthest from my job, like 50 min. and i always showed up on time never late, and never at all called out sick. They always had me go help out at other branches(might i say they were farther travel) but i was always willing to travel to help out in all the branches. They told me that they can depend on me for all that. And they said how customers love me and i always have a smile on my face. Well this past monday, my manager pulled me in her office and the assistant manager. They showed me a paper print of a transaction i made, that i made a mistake…and they fired me. I’m just shocked how unfair that it was, usually u get fired for stealing or being late all the time etc. but for making a mistake on one transaction!!! You can obviously tell that they didn’t like me for some reason and just found an excuse to get rid of me!How fair is that.

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angrydad October 22, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Yeah, i worked for a company for 2 years, than one day a new guy showed up, and my boss told me to train him, I thought we were getting a second person to help me out but they just had me train him for two weeks and then they fired me at the end of the two weeks. I knew something was up they didnt have the balls to tell me.

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mooring packs November 19, 2009 at 10:40 pm

I like the fire drill one best.

I heard of one company where an entire department got called into a conference room and were handed a piece of paper with people’s names on it. They didn’t know if the list meant they were laid off or safe. It took a few minutes for the HR rep to show up to explain the deal. Unbelievable!

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pixellust January 18, 2010 at 5:51 pm

I was told that my department was consolidating with other property’s art departments. Cost saving measure is what they told us.

We were told we had two weeks, however when I came to work the next morning my card didn’t work.

Though I am glad that I’m not there anymore. the owner is a cheat and a fraud. The company is now in bankruptcy because the owner would borrow money against his company, to buy homes and cars and airplanes.

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Martina January 18, 2010 at 9:03 pm

I was fired from my very first job as a cashier at a grocery store with NO ONE informing me until two weeks after my last date of work.

Let me explain further: I went into the store and saw I was scheduled and came in on that day. When my shift started a manager walked over, yanked me aside, and said I was fired.

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Jod January 21, 2010 at 6:07 am

I like to give a comment I worked for a company doing credit control and at the end of the second week I got ill, and was fired, my ex bosses comment was that he decided to divide the work amongst the other two people doing the accounts.

I said I understand and asked if it would be possible to use him a a job reference he said no problem that will be fine.

Well I found a permanent job yesterday on the 20 Jan 2009 and e-mailed my ex-boss and also e-mailed him today to see if he received my e-mail.

I am a believer in Cause and Effect without time restrictions. I know that I have a angry nature and I treated people unkindly in the past and I think that is why I got back this treatment. So I will keep reading about Nichiren Daishonin’s interpretation the Lotus Sutra, best English translation by Burton Waston and also read the behavior of the Buddha and find a way to make positive causes and so the angry will be reduced and if I make positive causes I eventually there will be very little angry left and use my Buddha nature and be a better human being and really start have compassion and understanding for my fellow humans.

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LK January 24, 2010 at 1:10 pm

I was laid off on Jan 14, my boss using a combo of several of the methods listed: Train your Replacement and “You’re Next” I had only been at this job for 8 months, did it well and was stunned and shocked when being told at the end of the day I was laid off. I am still angry and it will take some time for me to forgive my former boss. He said the reason was “budget cuts” and others were laid off too (I don’t know who). I liked my job :( I had to go in on Friday to pick up my last check and my professional certificate that was still there. My co-workers were angry about what happened and said the work I used to do wasn’t getting done, big surprise. I held my head high though and kept my dignity. I gave my former co-workers a big hug with a big lump in my throat. I will be hurting a long time from this cruel boss. Karma-’nuff said.

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Kathy May 20, 2010 at 11:31 am

I had to have an emergency hysterectomy after I went in for a day-surgery. I was home for two days when my boss called to “check on me.” He asked if this was a good time, and I as I was in serious pain, I told him that it really wasn’t a good time to talk. He then proceeded to tell me they couldn’t wait the six weeks for me to be released back to work, they needed to “move on.” This after five years of working as this jerk’s assistant. They made me sign legal papers to get my severance. I regret not getting an attorney.

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John June 14, 2010 at 4:12 pm

The one about 50% of people being fired during a fire drill is an urban legend. Check Snopes: http://www.snopes.com/business/consumer/firedrill.asp

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anita August 8, 2010 at 5:19 pm

I was an accountant at a small internet company in NYC. I was laid off unexpectedly on a Friday afternoon by my boss.
I asked him, if I could come back on monday to gather up my stuff. He was very eager to throw me out but in the end he gave in and allowed me to come on monday to clean up my desk.
My account was already deactivated, I was alone in the office.
So I decided to ransack the office, stealing a brand new laptop computer of the CFO’s desk, an electrical pencil sharpener, and a box of linen/cotton fancy paper (the kind that costs $50). Then i went to the receptionist’s desk and took her RueLaLa.com order of brand new Italian shoes (receptionist was not in yet and she has always been a total bitch to me).
So that was my “desk clean up” and now I have a pair of Ferragamo shoes for free and a new laptop.

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TorontoJay August 19, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Wow, it seems really, REALLY hard for corporate types to rise above being an a$$hole when firing staff. It really brings out their Inner Troll.

I mean it has to be done, but the lack of human dynamic is discouraging and saddening.

And screw bitchy receptionists. Who in the world do they think they are??

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rubester August 22, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Here is a history of my job losses:
1. My first job at a flex manufacturer I had while in school had “baited” me. During school I had moved from the production floor to the engineering department as an intern with the offer of an engineering position after graduation. The thing to note is that the intern position required me to give up all my benefits and a minor cut in pay. About a month after graduation I was called into my managers office to be informed they didn’t have a position for me. During me exit interview they covered their butts with stories of personality conflicts to attendance issues.

2. A major electronics manufacturer had been cutting back for years which had made life very tense already. After the umpteenth cutback we knew the routines and what to expect. During the cut that let me go, we all knew to check one of the work database programs. If you couldn’t get on you were being let go. There was almost a half of a work day before they informed you of the news.

3. My last on that occurred in July of this year had been drawn out for a long time. Also after years of cuts the staff had been overworked and understaffed. The new VP had his vision of.a lean company (i.e. Cuts and layoffs). The CEO publically announced no layoffs but that didn’t mean any cuts were made. It was just done in a manner where no severences were to be paid. The first step was to overwork and overstress to the point of quitting. If you persevered they then found a reason to fire you (rediculous or even made up as what was in my case). When the “reason” was presented to me they dragged a final decision for over three weeks telling me that they had to evaluate things in HR. Knowing they wanted to let you go and then dragging out the death blow for over three weeks sure was pathetic.

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