HR Strange But True!
February 28, 2008

We knew you had it in you, but if we had known how good some of your strange workplace tales would be, we would have started kissing up to you long before now.

You may recall that last week, after relating two of your fellow readers' strange workplace experiences, we invited the rest of you to get off your duffs and save us a little work by sending in your own stories. Here is a sampling of what we received:

Guess He Wasn't Dating Molly Brown

"After a long week of interviewing with little success, we had the final interview to top it off. A gentleman walked into my office, sat down, and apologized for being late. Like the three interviewees before him, he had forgotten his application and resume. I had heard all the excuses I could handle for one day, but just to humor myself I asked why he was late. His response will forever remind me why I am in Human Resources. He said, 'My girlfriend has been in the hospital all day. She needed emergency back surgery.' Heartbroken, and at this point understanding why he did not have time to complete the required paperwork, I asked what had happened. 'We were wrestling and I dropped her in the sink,' he replied. I could not believe my ears."

A Troubling Trifecta

A reader with more than 20 years' experience as an HR manager submitted her top three stories:

1. "We hired a temp to cover the reception function for 2 weeks when our employee was on a leave of absence (LOA). She appeared very professional and attentive to her job. At 4:45 p.m. on the last day of her assignment, we heard banging coming from that area. When we stopped by to see what was going on, she had a hammer on the desk and was holding her shoe. She said that she was repairing her broken heel. A few minutes later, she thanked us for the opportunity to work for us and left the assignment. On Monday morning, our employee returned from LOA and found the drawer that contained petty cash was broken into and the money was gone! Unfortunately, we couldn't prove that the temp had actually broken into the desk or had taken the money!"

2. "A warehouse employee would take the long way around the office to move boxes from the warehouse to the shipping area. He was a very friendly fellow, always commenting about the beautiful weather and willing to help anyone who asked him for assistance. Weeks later, during an audit, we found expensive computer equipment missing. We set up a sting operation in the warehouse and observed him putting boxes in his back seat during one of his long trips around the building. At the end of the day as he drove away, he was detained and then terminated for theft. A few days later he filed a workers' comp claim for 'back strain' due to the 'lifting of the boxes!' He was granted lost wages and medical expenses!"

3. "An employee called into the office and said that he would not be coming into work until further notice because his wife had caught him cheating on her and had cut up all of his clothes."

You Live in California -- What Do You Expect?

Kathy in Southern California submitted this story:

"We have a 10-person office that happens to be all female, with no walk-in traffic due to the nature of our work. Several weeks ago, a man entered through the back door, strode through the main area directly into a side office, and sat down. He proceeded to demand the money that 'Dave' owed him. When we explained that there is no Dave here and that he must have the wrong place, he insisted that we settle up. Thankfully, he had chosen to sit next to a manager's desk. When she stood and began to move toward the door, he responded to the body language and left before she had to threaten to call the police. He was lucky she didn't hit the panic button that would have brought them without warning."

We received several other great stories but don't have the room to include them all this week. We may not get to all of them, but we'll try to publish as many as we can in coming weeks. As for the rest of you who haven't yet submitted your strange workplace tales, consider yourselves served.

Source: The smartest, hardest-working, and best-looking segment of our readers

TGIF - It's HR
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