HR · 6 November 2015

Hacking emails and harassment – The worst things workers have seen employers do

One boss said to throw out an application without even looking at it
One boss said to throw out an application without even looking at it

If you think you’re having a bad day at work, you might be able to put things in perspective a bit after seeing this eyebrow-raising list from confidential sharing app Whisper. It has compiled a list of the 20 Corrupt Things Employees Have Seen Their Bosses Do, with users anonymously sharing the worst incidents they have seen at work.

The results weren’t particularly reassuring, from an employer who served food to a guest that had fallen into the rubbish bin to one boss demoting a worker for dating a girl he disliked.

Other issues came in the form of unfair recruitment – a boss said to throw out an application without even looking at it, while another discussed not hiring an overqualified individual, simply because he was unattractive and “it was going to be a bad look”.

Then there was the employer who asked a worker to hack into his partner’s account to see if he was intending on leaving the company. Luckily for said partner, the worker in question said they did it, but blocked all the emails mentioning the topic.

Among other unpleasant tales was an employer denying people the company’s services as they didn’t want to “help women with ‘too many’ kids, unmarried women, minorities, or anyone who ‘looked too poor’ to find a home”.

One employee recounted seeing a coworker being told she would make a good porn star, and another was asked to help arrange plans for various mistresses of their employer to help him cheat on his girlfriend.

There were also examples of employers roping in employees to help fiddle results. One Whisper user said they had two bosses asking them to manipulate numbers to make performance look better than it actually was, while another said they saw a boss change a failing grade to a passing grade for students in order to claim 100 per cent of students had graduated while she was in charge.

Stealing wasn’t out of the ordinary – one pinched a coworker’s commission, while another stole money from a cash register.

Many bosses are known to lose their tempers from time to time, but some of the anecdotes shared on Whisper took it to the extreme. An employer was said to have shouted at a pregnant woman when she complained about the heavily over-salted chips she was served, dismissing her and blaming it on her “hormones and cravings” before telling her to leave. Another stirred cigarette ashes into soup being served.

If that’s left you slightly concerned, you might want to have a look at Glassdoor’s list of the best bosses to work for in the UK, for a bit of reassurance and to find out what good employers are doing right.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.

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