More worst boss ever stories

Last week we featured examples of some of the crazy things bosses asked their admins to do. This week, we found more really bad boss stories.  Taken from reader submissions to The Examiner, these bad bosses:

  • Threw a posh Park Avenue party, invited her employees, then when they arrived put them to work as servers.
  • Stole tools and equipment from the company and billed his employees for them.
  • Stood underneath a clock as employees arrived for work every morning.  Employees who were one minute late were sent home without pay, even if they were at the end of the line of people waiting to get past him.
  • Threw a stapler at an employee’s head for stapling pages together at the top left instead of the top center.

Click here for the complete list.   Tell us your Really Bad Boss behavior stories in the comment section after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Labor Disolution: Kansas City staffing company caught cheating ‘happy, appreciative employees’

housekeeperGiant Labor Solutions, a Kansas City staffing company, said of their services ”Our clients receive happy, appreciative employees that will thank you for allowing them the opportunity to work for you,” If your company contracted its workforce needs through them, they promised “recruiting, hiring, and payroll expenses will dramatically drop.”   What they didn’t mention was that expenses would drop because they were charging hefty fees to the hundreds of workers from Jamaica, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic they promised visas to through the federal H-2B seasonal worker program.  Fees that, unknowingly to the workers, would continue to accrue, even after they began working at the hotels they were staffing.  Staffers were charged rent while living in overcrowded housing and paid for their own uniforms and transportation costs, often leaving them with paychecks showing “negative earnings.”  

Giant Labor Solutions has been charged with among other things, alleged racketeering, forced labor trafficking, wire fraud and money laundering.  In light of the recent auto industry fiasco and labor unions’ seeming unwillingness to make the compromises necessary to stave off massive layoffs, it’s easy to decry unions in general. But the cold hard fact is many companies won’t do the right thing, unless and until they’re forced to.  Read more at Today’s Workplace.

Pantyhose wars – Page 378 of the Really Bad Boss Manual

Retro hose

Retro hose

The other day I promised to provide details regarding the frequent pantyhose inspections that took place at my former job.  Long since paroled  resigned from that position, today, shamefaced and humiliated, I’ll briefly summarize how a master degreed professional was reduced to a work life replete with fearful sick leave taking, snack sneaking, and pantyhose wars. 

In the same office where employees were subject to human voice analysis for sick day legitimacy and where random trashcan inspections were elevated to an art form, monitoring female employees for pantyhose wearage (no, it’s not a real word) was a priority.  I know what you’re thinking.  How is it possible that all that Really Bad Boss talent was concentrated in one office?  Implausible as it may seem, it’s true.  If there’s a management guide on how to demoralize employees, lose their trust and respect, and cause heat stroke, these managers read it, perfected it and then submitted tips on how to improve it.  And on page 378 is an entry that reads something like this “Failure of subordinates to wear pantyhose will cause the total and complete meltdown of the system, resulting in a shifting of the earth on it axis.”  I’ve never had access to the manual, but page 378 must have been dire to elicit the kind of fervent adherence to pantyhose wearage displayed by management.

The irony of the whole thing is that in their eyes, wearing pantyhose epitomized professionalism.  In their minds, clients would overlook the worn carpets and drab office walls.  They’d tolerate long wait times, antiquated office machinery and incomplete and incorrect answers to their questions.  But what they would not tolerate is the sight of stocking-less legs.  We disagreed, but unable to openly defy the establishment, the bravest among us skirted the issue (pun intended) by wearing pants even in the middle of summer.  And thus, the pantyhose wars began.  As with most wars, there were no clear winners.  Management was left with an angry, demoralized staff, and the pants wearers, well, we were just hot.

It’s “Burger King, have it your way” NOT “Have your way at Burger King”

burger-kingA Clemmons, North Carolina Burger King Manager didn’t get the memo.  Kathleen Joyner, a teenaged employee at the fast food restaurant, sued Burger King after she was repeatedly propositioned for sex by her General Manager. When she reported the sexual harassment to assistant managers, they did nothing.  Now Burger King Inc. will have to fork over $85,000 for damages and provide sexual harassment training to its supervisors. 

Regardless of where you work, if you’ve reached the level of General Manager, I’m pretty certain you ’ve rubbed up against at least one sexual harassment policy along the way.  The truth is, men and women who stalk their employees like prey usually know exactly what the company’s sexual harassment policies are.  They simply choose to ignore them.

Bad times, worse management

Those of us with really bad bosses suffer more when times are rough

I was talking to a friend of mine recently, a hard-working, intelligent guy whose skills are in high demand.  When he learned his employer was folding and layoffs were looming, he wasted no time finding another job. Within a couple of weeks, he’d accepted an offer with another company.  Three months into the new job, he realized he’d walked into a company with serious management issues. Frustrated, he tried going through the proper channels to have the problems addressed.  First he went to the offending manager, who basically told him to get back to work.  When he went to that manager’s manager, he was told to hang in there.   A trip to human resources sent him straight into the proverbial brick wall.  The final straw came when in a meeting with both managers he was actually asked “where do you think you’re gonna find anything better in this job market?”

There have been times in my own career when I’ve felt like my bosses must have been thinking that very same thing. “Where are they going to go in this job market?”  And because they felt that way they either took us for granted, or worse, knowingly and willfully continued to mismanage and mistreat us.

When times are bad, bad management seems to get even worse. It’s a disorder that primarily affects companies whose management is already pretty horrible.    Whether you blame it on cockiness, their own fear of job instability or plain old stupidity, bad bosses are notorious for making bad situations even worse.   Managers who can’t function well during good times will most certainly fall to pieces when times get rough, and we, the employees, are the collateral damage. 

For obvious reasons, I look forward to our current economy turning the corner and returning to its former glory.  Another perk of the economic turnaround will be witnessing the mass exodus that occurs when good employees feel it’s safe enough to finally leave their really bad bosses.

Another day, another CEO arrest

The really bad rap label CEO and his self fulfilling prophecy

I’m no medium, but I could have seen this one coming a mile away.  I think we all can predict a life of crime, imprisonment and possibly death for anyone, if they do the following:

  1. Start a rap label and call it anything having to with drugs, crime, arrests, murder…you get the idea.  In this case let’s call it Take Down Records.
  2. Make yourself CEO and give yourself an alias that carries the promise of organized crime. In this scenario let’s use the always popular surname Capone. Ace Capone.
  3. Star in one of your own label’s music videos as…Ace Capone, the violent drug kingpin -  Be really convincing, because the video will be used as evidence against you in your own trial
  4. When the cops raid your home, have on hand; over $500K in cash, 10 guns and 450 grams of cocaine.
  5. Finally, do all of this in Philadelphia, the city with the ‘drug kingpin’ statute. 
Ace. Capone no more - Image:Philly.com

Ace. Capone no more - Image:Philly.com

35 year old Alton Coles, aka Ace Capone, was sentenced to mandatory life plus 55 years on Thursday for, among other things drug trafficking, wire fraud, money laundering and weapons offenses.  Alton, the CEO of Take Down Records, father of five and owner of a local day care and ice water stand, cried while telling the judge that life in prison was too harsh a sentence for selling drugs. 

I’m not here to argue about whether the sentence was fair or not.  Or, whether Coles’ harsh childhood, including a crackhead father and absentee mother should have been taken into account during sentencing. That’s for another blog and another day.  What I am saying is this.  If, as a CEO, you choose, among all the words available to you in the English language, to name your company using a combination of words associated with crime, you choose to name yourself  after a notorious gangster  and you choose to write about, rap about and star in videos about selling drugs, then when you get busted,  that is what we call a self fulfilling prophesy.  Read more about the case against Coles here.

Another really bad idea from the bosses of reality tv, Workers vote on who gets laid off

really-bad-boss-stamp-of-approvalSomeone’s Gotta Go- We think its the execs over at FOX, but that’s actually the title of a new Fox network reality tv show currently in production. Each episode of Someone’s Gotta Go will feature a small business faced with lay-offs.  But instead of the boss deciding who’ll be let go, the company opens the books on everyone’s salaries and employees decide which one of their colleagues will get the boot. 

I don’t even know where to begin with what’s wrong with this scenario.  First of all, the world needs another reality TV show like Donald Trump needs more hair spray.  At this rate, we won’t be done with everyone’s 15 minutes of fame until around the year 2040.  Is America that celebrity obsessed that everyone has to become one?  Even worse than our celebrity obsession is the idea that network execs want to make money so badly that they are willing, even in this economy, to turn lay-offs into entertainment for mass consumption.   Over the past several months, I’ve watched heart wrenching news programs that follow families as they spiral into bankruptcy and foreclosure after a layoff.  Marriages end, children are displaced and people lose the sense of stability they’ve often worked their entire lives to achieve.  This is entertainment?  With unemployment levels poised to hit double digits – is this something we want to make sport of?

No word on whether or not the businesses that participate receive any sort of payment, but even if they do, for the bosses that own the companies involved, we think it’s a bad idea to sell your employees out for a little reality show fame and some cash.  And for the geniuses who came up with this really bad idea, poorly played indeed.  I hope this show gets laid off, and fast.

Learn more about the gem of a show here.

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