HR Strange But True!
July 06, 2006

You've seen them here before; you'll see them here again: We admit that we're drawn to "bad boss" stories like moths to a flame. So you can imagine how singed our wings are getting as we follow Working America's "My Bad Boss Contest."

Working America, an AFL-CIO affiliate, just announced the first weekly winner and first of five semifinalists for the contest's grand prize -- a week's vacation away from the boss.

While details are sketchy, the winning entry apparently was submitted by a health insurance worker distraught over her boss's refusal to authorize a hospital admission for a military veteran who was traumatized by news coverage of the war in Iraq. In the meantime, the hospital already had charged $5,000 to the man's credit card.

As the worker was trying to get authorization for hospitalization and to get the veteran's money back, the man committed suicide.

"I couldn't quit crying when I heard [about the suicide] and took the rest of the day off," the author wrote. "I used my personal time to do it."

"My boss complained to my supervisor. He said, 'I don't know why she had to take the day off. People commit suicide everyday.'"

The woman has since quit her job and says she is now in therapy.

Other stories of bad bosses (we can't vouch for their veracity, and some of them do seem a bit embellished) included:

  • A millionaire dentist who took $100 from each of his workers' paychecks to make up for profits lost in the days following 9/11
  • A worker whose boss's gambling problem interfered with the company's ability to meet the weekly payroll. On one occasion, instead of receiving a paycheck, the worker was given two slot machine payout tickets that had to be redeemed at the casino -- 23 miles away.
  • A worker whose gothic dress and fondness for skulls led her boss to label her a witch. When the worker's father had a heart attack, she rushed to the hospital and called her office to explain. "My boss called me and left a message where she said, 'Why don't you just cast a spell on your dad and get back to work? And anyway, if he dies, can't you just call on his spirit in the after life? You will be at work tomorrow or you won't only lose your dad -- you will lose your job,'" the worker wrote. "My dad died that day and I called her and told her where she could shove her job, and also called a lawyer. She may have thought I was a witch and evil but wait until she has a run in with the ultimate evil -- my LAWYER."
Source: Working America's My Bad Boss Contest

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