workplace horror stories bad bosses yelling at employees

Bad Bosses: 4 Workplace Horror Stories You’ll Never Forget

Employment discrimination and harassment can be downright scary at times. From physical and verbal abuse to sexual harassment to disability discrimination, many cases of abuse can double as horror stories.

Here are 4 frightening accounts of employee mistreatment at work.

  1. Being in a Bad Mood Is No Excuse for Your Boss to Abuse You
  2. Workplace abuse and bullying can come in many forms, but it can be especially disheartening when your boss is the one who is participating in the demeaning behavior. Regardless of whether your boss is in a bad mood or not, abuse should not be tolerated.

    Here’s an example:

    workplace horror stories boss mad at employee about coffe

    Cindy was a personal assistant to the CEO of a prominent advertising firm. One of her daily responsibilities was to bring her boss a piping hot cup of coffee first thing every morning. But he would rarely drink his coffee right away; sometimes he would let it sit for an hour. When he finally took a sip, he would storm out of his office complaining about the “cat piss” he was drinking. He would then verbally berate Cindy for her incompetence and would proceed to pour the cup of coffee on all of the documents and papers in her inbox. After a while, Cindy had enough and quit her job.


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  3. No One Is Beyond Reproach When It Comes to Sexual Harassment
  4. Your boss, co-worker, or client may tell you that you have no chance of winning a sexual harassment suit because they have more money to hire the best lawyers. No one is above the law, and you shouldn’t feel helpless because you may not be coming from a position of power.

    Here’s an example:

    workplace horror stories boss sexually harassing employee

    Rachel had a great working relationship with one of her clients, so when he had an innovative idea for a startup, she eagerly jumped onboard to serve as vice president. However, it didn’t take long for her new boss to begin sexually harassing her by planning business trips to Europe that he used as a means to proposition her. He thought he was beyond reproach because he was quite wealthy and “could hire the best lawyers money could buy.” For Rachel, the last straw was when her boss set up a fake customer meeting in his hotel room and didn’t mince words when he cornered her and said, “Stop fighting it and just spend the night.” She rushed out of his room and didn’t look back, hopping on a flight back to the U.S. early the next morning.


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  5. Disability Discrimination Leads to a Hostile Work Environment
  6. Discriminatory actions go beyond simply terminating an employee; they can devolve into creating or allowing a hostile work environment. Employers have to make reasonable accommodations for their disabled employees or risk breaking federal laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

    Here’s an example:

    workplace horror stories disabled employee with back pain fired from job

    Brian was hired to be a web designer for a product manufacturing company, but his responsibilities quickly grew to include office manager, IT support, and receptionist without his consent and with no additional pay. Shortly after that, he was in a serious car accident and was told by his boss that he had to return to work in a month or he would lose his job. Despite suffering from severe chronic pain, he returned, but he could not work as fast as he did prior to the accident. His boss began to bully and harass him, which led Brian to become severely depressed, so he went to see a psychiatrist who suggested that Brian should apply for temporary disability. On his first day of disability leave, Brian was fired by his boss.


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  7. Race Discrimination Rears Its Ugly Head
  8. Employment discrimination can come in many forms, but in the case of race discrimination it often boils down to being denied a promotion, demoted, or wrongfully terminated on the basis of your color, creed, national origin, or race.

    Here’s an example:

    workplace horror stories hispanic employee passed up for promotion
    Despite being more qualified than the competition, Javier was repeatedly passed over for promotions at one of the largest accounting firms in town. After the third time, he asked his boss if he could speak with him so that he could find out if there were anything he could work on to improve his chances of being promoted. Although his boss had been apprehensive about hiring Javier, he reluctantly agreed to bring him on board after Javier had received glowing reviews from the other two managers on the hiring committee. Javier’s boss had gone out of his way to avoid dealing with Javier, but during their meeting, the truth came out. Javier was shocked when his boss bluntly stated that Javier would never be promoted under his watch. Javier asked why, and without hesitation, his boss said that he couldn’t match the work of his peers because of his heritage and upbringing.

At Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., we’ve heard our fair share of workplace horror stories, and we take employee discrimination and harassment very seriously. To find out more about this topic, download our free Guide to Understanding Employment Discrimination.

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