HR Strange But True!
April 03, 2008

In New Orleans they might call this "lagniappe" (a little something extra--a bonus). In recent weeks we have solicited your stories on everything from interviewing idiocy to termination twists. We want to share as many of these great tales as we can, so consider this something of a cross-topic roundup.

Studying Hard for that Drug Test

"We interviewed a candidate for employment and extended a job offer as Sales Rep. As a condition for employment, he had to take a drug and substance abuse test. He did not go to his appointment for the drug test and when the recruiter phoned him to ask why, his answer was, 'Don't worry. I am cleaning my body. I should be clean by Wednesday, so I will go for the test on Thursday or Friday!!!'"

I'm Ready for My Solo, Mr. DeMille

"We had a young lady working as a receptionist/office assistant. One day, she requested FMLA [leave] because she had strained her voice, and her doctor had recommended she not use her voice at all for several days. Her doctor's note checked out, so we granted her the leave (it's a little hard to keep a receptionist who can't answer the phone or speak to visitors). It turned out she had a starring role in a local stage production, and the doctor's recommendation was oriented towards ensuring her success as a singer! We found out when an officemate saw a flyer for the show, including her name (and dates). When we pointed out that this was an inappropriate use of FMLA, she couldn't understand why. After all, she did have a note from the doctor. She left shortly thereafter for a position that offered more sensitivity to her artistic needs."

A Parent in Kneed

"One of our managers recently came to our HR office to discuss attendance problems of one of the employees in their department. Apparently, the employee had missed several work shifts, and she always provided different reasons for her absence. The strangest reason the employee provided was that she was going to miss work because her mother's knee had been hurt while breaking up a fight at a funeral."

Not the Sharpest Knife in the Drawer

"While working for a small government agency, we hired a temp to perform basic clerical duties for us until we could fill an empty position. The morning of her first day went smoothly, so that afternoon we asked her to type some address labels. Once she was situated at the typewriter, the manager went back to her office only to be interrupted by the temp a few minutes later. She said, 'This is probably a stupid question, but how do you get the label out of the typewriter without tearing it?' Thinking the labels were somehow jammed in the typewriter, the manager went out to see if she could solve the problem. Upon inspecting the typewriter, she found that the temp had actually peeled the label from its backing and stuck it to the typewriter roller to type it out. Needless to say, that was her last day in our office."

Not as Think as You Drunk I Am...

"I once terminated an employee during the first week of his employment. He was attending a week of sales training and came back from a lunch break drunk. He admitted drinking and said he was practicing having 'martini lunches' with clients. After sending him home in a cab, he showed up to training the next day. When asked why he came back, he said, 'I didn't remember getting fired. I must have been too drunk.'"

A Sub-Zero Tolerance Policy?

"Someone reported that an employee had put a six-pack of beer in the lunchroom refrigerator. We watched the surveillance tape and found out who it was. When confronted and reminded about the company policy banning alcohol from the premises as stated in the employee handbook, he said that he wasn't going to drink it while working. He said that he and two of his co-workers would drink it on their lunch breaks in the parking lot. It was his turn to bring the beer and since it was warm outside, he wanted it to stay cold (the other two guys would leave it in their cars and it would get too warm). He couldn't understand why he was being terminated. He didn't believe that zero tolerance was fair."

If any of these stories strike a chord, perhaps you would like to submit your own strange but true workplace tale.

Source: Our good and giving readers

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