Worst ways to get fired

When cost-conscious companies place too much value on speed and efficiency, it can lead to some insensitive strategies when laying off employees. See my recent column on some of the coldest ways companies have given workers the boot.

If you have any terrible tales of corporate termination, we'd like to hear them. -- Jeanne Sahadi

Posted by Deirdre Terry 11:00 AM 71 Comments comment | Add a Comment

My wife was fired by Bank of America via a letter delivered by FedEx. This was due to her missing too much work to recover from heart surgery. (The company took her recovery time out of her vacation days.) On her last day, her manager kept her at work until 8pm to finish her work, knowing she was recovering from heart surgery (this was a 9-5 job). My wife had scheduled two days off to attend doctor appointments and this is when her manager took the opportunity to fire her via a letter delivered by Fedex.
Posted By Rick, Boston, MA : 11:47 AM  

Many years ago I worked for a midwestern freight railroad as a brakewoman and conductor. The company established a labor-management "team" to address financial problems, while at the same time secretively developing a plan to reduce crew size by one third. They sent us a letter telling us that high costs were the cause of our having to be let go. Then they asked an administrative employee to come in on Saturday while being paid time and one half to distribute our last paychecks. No one from management was present to thank us for the work we had done or to wish us well after our departure. It felt like a slap in the face to all of us to be dismissed in this manner.
Posted By Cindy A, Milwaukee Wisconsin : 12:12 PM  

I didn't get it but the guy next to me did. We went out for lunch and when we came back his security pass wouldn't work so I let him through the gate. We passed the boss's office on the way to our desks. He went in and said "I need a new pass. Mine's failed." The boss said "Your pass hasn't failed. You don't work here."
and took the card out of his hand.
Posted By Al Robinson, Toronto, Ont : 12:23 PM  

Found out I was on the layoff list when I went to get the mail. My COBRA health insurance election letter (with instructions) was in the mail box. Later that day someone from HR called to inform me that it was true. The only way HR found out I had received the COBRA letter early, was when I talked to a peer about the day's events. He in turn contacted someone in management to voice his concern. Later, I found out that the layoff phone call was to come the following Monday because they had done so many calls already on Friday that they decided to leave some for Monday.
Posted By David, Cincinnati, OH : 12:39 PM  

I was fired by SunTrust for driving an old car. I worked at a branch in a VERY wealthy area of town (median income of 155K) and the manager told me that customer's were complaining it was an eyesore. He told me to park my car at the mall two blocks away and to walk to work. I refused to (it was the middle of winter) and so he fired me on the spot for not following directions.
Posted By Dan, Atlanta, GA : 12:48 PM  

My daughter's company schedued an employee day during working hours with food, drink and a visit and autograph session by the NASCAR driver the company sponsored. When the activities were over and the employees returned to their desks there were layoff notices for a fair number of employees. Guess the company thought the employees would feel better about the layoff if they had enjoyed themselves beforehand. I think it would have made me even more upset.
Posted By Gregg Crow, Marietta GA. : 12:53 PM  

I was on an H1B visa and on assignment in Korea when i was notified of my layoff. My manager called me at 6AM Korea time to my apartment and told me that I was being laid off and since I was on that H1B visa he adviced me not to return to the US since the company would notify the INS(currently BCIS) that I am no longer employed by that company.
Posted By J. Yoon, San Jose, CA : 12:54 PM  

Several years ago, I was let go from a Technology company using the half the group in one room and the other half in another room. However, we were told that the company was scaling us back to half-time for the month of February and that they hoped to close some business to bring us all back to full-time starting in March. On February 27th, I tried to get into the company system to log my time for the day. My UserID did not work. When I called to ask about it, I was told that things had not worked out as far as business was concerned and that all who had been put on half-time at the first of the month were now no longer employed. Then I was told I did not need to come in for the last day, I would be given credit for the time on the 27th and 28th. When I asked about severance, I was told that the previous four weeks at half time equaled two weeks of full time pay and that was all the severance anyone was getting!
Posted By BL, Triad, NC : 12:56 PM  

While I was visiting my decorated Marine Captain son who was dying at Walter Reed Hospital, my boss redid the org chart taking away all of my direct reports except one and having them report to him. A short time after I returned he informed me that since I had so little to do I was to be laid off.
Posted By Deborah, Ridgefield, CT : 12:58 PM  

I was out of town, for a family funeral. Just before leaving for the funeral, I received a call from my office (MCI), telling me my position had been cut, due to a recent merger with WorldCom.
Posted By Larry, Atlanta, GA : 1:00 PM  

After I caught one of the partners of the firm in an act of indiscretion in his office, he began disparaging my character and acting very unprofessionally towards me, then had me transferred to another department. I was ready to quit when I was approached by management and told that they knew there was a problem with this partner, as he had done this type of thing to others in the past, but that in my case, they needed me to stay because I was highly respected by everyone and that I was a valued employee. They even had the partner come in and 'apologize' for his behavior...something I didn't ask for. After I helped them get through a difficult busy season due to losing a key manager in the department I'd been transferred to, I was fired. When asked why, I was told, "Your attitude doesn't fit in with the firm going forward." All they did was string me along to get them through the busiest time of the year, then cut me loose.
Posted By Eric, Phoenix, AZ : 1:23 PM  

The small company I had relocated for was bought out by a very large company. Within a month, I was asked several times to alter reports, hide negative data, or forge signatures. I repeatedly refused. At six months, I was given a terrible review. I was given 90 days to meet some very difficult expectations. Despite working very hard to keep my job, I was fired after 30 days. The reason I was given was insubordination. At the time, there was no whistleblowing law in PA, so I had no recourse.
Posted By Sandra Exton, PA : 1:24 PM  

i was in IT, few months before laid off.
the company sent in few programmers from
India, get used to our work.

then laid off notice came,
human tragedy right ?
Posted By sam long, chicago il : 1:33 PM  

My husband was fired from the Boston location of Mellon Bank, while he was on sick leave and in a Boston hospital. A letter was sent to our home, via overnight mail. Although the letter was dated August 30, the letter stated that my husband was fired retroactively back to July 2, when he was also in the hospital.
Posted By Mary, Las Vegas, NV : 1:33 PM  

About 15 years ago I worked for a now defunct wholesale club ala: CostCo. The office space was very limited due to the fact that most of the building was used as front-of house retail area. I was working late one night and the company's fax machine was in my office. Unbeknownst to Corporate HQ that I was still in, they sent a newpaper display ad to our GM for placement. The ad was for MY job. I called HQ immediately and told them I was gone right then. They went bankrupt and I found the job of my life!
Posted By Adam, Mystic, CT : 1:33 PM  

I discovered fraud at our Korean subsidiary and was put in charge of operations. I discovering the bribery of customs officials and once I closed the books and prepared fraud reserves was fired because of the reservations I raised relating to the bribery, which was taped recorded and minuted in an attorney led interrogation of the employees. The company asked me to leave because of my criticism of the CFO who permitted this environment to persist and who had also evaded providing information to Korean tax authorities on the regional hub operating in Hong Kong, but domiciled in the British Virgin Islands and which was "arranged" to disappear a few months after my firing (all documented) with hand written mirror accounting instructions issued by the CFO himself....
Posted By Joe, Boston, MA : 1:33 PM  

2 colleagues; one fired by fax while on assignment in Europe; the other had his door locks changed to his office with all of his belongings put in a box outside of his office door.
Posted By Bobbie, Carmel, IN : 1:38 PM  

Back in May, I was the victim of a mass layoff by Ameriquest Mortgage Company. Security guards as well as a representive for a "transition" company were brought in as a surprise to us all. They sat us down in the conference room and played a recording of the CEO telling us that they were shutting down all the branches in the country and resorting to 4 call centers and from now forth our services are no longer needed. We then had 5 minutes to gather our belongings and leave the office never to come back again...nothing like getting laid off by a recording!
Posted By Erjohn Amzovski, Philadelphia, PA : 1:42 PM  

My boss called me to his office and told me they had to let go of me , He was unhappy about it ,gave me two weeks of ntoice and a wonderful sendoff lunch too :)
Posted By Bob,Gainesville,VA : 1:47 PM  

I was employed by a software company in Chicago several years ago. My boss was located at Corporate HQ in MountainView, CA. On a Friday, I was asked by the office manager to participate in a conference call, which was my boss in CA. He told me over the speaker phone that I had "broken the code" and that I could go home and not return. He and I were both Marines so he was trying to let me down easy. I never did get a real reason for being let go and was replaced a week later by someone they paid less than half my salary to.
Posted By Tim K., Chicago, IL : 1:48 PM  

When Amdocs realized it could no longer afford the Stamford location, during the horrendous recession of the early aughts (00's) it closed the location in a humanely manner. We were given two months of unlimited Internet, a consultant came in to give us job hunting techniques and in general we were trusted not to go ballistic. Needless to say, amdocs is not American-owned - its headquarters is in Ra'nanana Israel.
Posted By Marianne Seggerman, Westport, Connecticut : 1:49 PM  

My boss called me at 9pm on a Sunday wanting me to come into work because she was being audited by a government office. I had for weeks been sending her written (duplicated) memos reminding her of this audit and the need to get together. I was a single parent and had just returned from a weekend camping trip with my 9 year old son. He was in bed because he had school the next day. I refused to wake him up and bring him with me to work after 9pm on a Sunday night. She fired me on the phone. To make matters worse when I went in to get my stuff she wouldn't let me have my personal belongings, and told the unemployment office that I had raised my voice to her the next day when she wouldn't let me get my belongings! I was denied unemployment!!! Appealed and won......
Posted By Kathleen, ARlington TX : 1:50 PM  

I got the Christmas "bonus" when I was visiting my family in Minnesota for Christmas in 2000. I got the call at 1pm on Friday the 22nd from my one of my coworkers alerting me that 30 of us had been let go. I called my boss, his boss and HR for confirmation with no success. I finally got ahold of our adm assistant who confirmed the information. It turns out everyone in management left for the holiday weekend right after the annoucement was made leaving the adm assistment to deal with the incoming calls.
I guess I didn't cry to hard when the company filed BK a year later and then went under.
Posted By Jason, Phoenix, AZ : 1:52 PM  

I was on the road and tried to email a project to my boss. The send failed, reporting that the server didn't recognize me. I sent the project from a personal account with the message "something's wrong with my email." The boss replied quickly, "Email's fine, you've been laid off."

My husband's co-workers all got called to an impromptu gathering at a local restaurant. As folks headed into the place, they got held back - they were meeting on the restaurant lawn, not inside. While they all got the lay-off news, management was parking SUVs in front of all the office entrances and windows. Former employees had to schedule appointments to reclaim their personal items.
Posted By E. Weeks, San Diego, CA : 1:52 PM  

When my husband was fired from Bentley Systems, the head of HR, Mark Haggarty, moved all of his co-workers to a different area of the building and told them of the firing. After everyone was cleared out of the working area, they escorted him out of the building. An employee dropped by our house the next day with his boxed personal belongings. They treated him like an absolute criminal.
Posted By Lyn, Exton, PA : 1:53 PM  

I was working for an Apartment Leasing agency a couple years ago, and the office manager came in to tell me she was firing me. She then told me I could work two more weeks, but after that not to come back. Sounds nice to offer me two weeks notice to find something else, but the truth is that she wanted me to stay there and do my job while she took her vacation, and then be out on my behind when she came back. So, in short form, "You're fired, after I get my vacation in."
Posted By Paul, Sevierville TN : 1:56 PM  

I used to work for a major computer & defense contractor. One Thursday morning a few years ago, my team leader called us all into our lab, locked the door, and started crying. She said she'd just been told by the department manager that 6 of the 11 people on her team were being laid off the following day - and she didn't know who was on the layoff list. She said she'd been told by the department head to keep the layoffs a secret but she couldn't do so (she gave her own notice a few weeks later). Needless to say, little work got done those next two days. Ironically, since the department head hadn't consulted the team leader, he mistakenly laid off an entire team that was working on a key project. The failure of that key project was one of several factors that motivated our federal client to not rehire said firm at the end of the contract. This then resulted in the department head loosing his job. What goes around can indeed come around.
Posted By Joe Trnka, St. Paul, MN : 2:09 PM  

After 8 years working for a law firm, I arrived at work on a Friday to be told that my job was being posted in that Sunday's Want Ad's. "Just to see who calls" was the reason. Sure enoguh, it was there. When I arrived to work on Monday my boss was sitting in the front entrance and was shocked to see I turned up. I had already hired a labor attorney over the weekend and he told me exactly what was to befall on me. I couldn't quit. I was demoted to answering a phone after being the firms' account manager of over 8 mill a year. When the pink slip came the lawsuit was served. It was a bitter fight, but I won in the end. I haven't had a decent job since then because of all the mental baggage I carry. Motto: don't dedicate yourself to anything or anyone other than yourself.
Posted By M. Smythe, Providence, RI : 2:10 PM  

Before emigrating from the UK the way my boss would let people know they were fired was to ask me to disable their email accounts.

I was told to send anyone who queried why their email no longer worked to pick up a redundancy letter at the front desk.

Eventually (after I could no longer stand the looks and comments from my co-workers) I was fired after disabling every senior manager's email account; many of whom helped our boss come up with his spineless way of avoiding confrontation.

I took exception to this collective lack of backbone, passing the responsibility of letting people know they no longer had a job to me.
Posted By AJ, Anchorage, AK : 2:11 PM  

I had worked for 15 years as the CFO for a privately-held manufacturer which had always endured the periodic fluctuations of a seasonal business. I was asked to change two monthly losses into profitable months in order to hide the information from the recently retired, but still majority owner. When I refused, I was greeted with a termination notice (no reason given), and no severance pay for 15 years of dedicated service. Needless to say, I lost most of my material possessions including my home and car, but not my pride for making the right choice!
Posted By Bob, Baltimore, MD : 2:11 PM  

My old coworker took a demotion (although not a firing) in this manner: She left for China to visit her brother. While she was gone, her supervisor and her soon-to-be replacement packed up all of her belongings and stacked them in boxes outside of her office, which the replacement promptly moved in to. The supervisor then called my coworker - in the middle of the night, China time- and told her she'd been demoted. When she returned, she just unpacked her boxes and sat down in her new cubicle - no one ever said a word in person about it! The worst part is that she stayed there for two more years.
Posted By Melissa, Columbia, MD : 2:20 PM  

I worked for Sprint in the late 80's/early 90's and we had a large number of IS individuals in 3 locations - Kansas City, Dallas, and Seattle. One of the high-up mucky-mucks lived in Dallas and didn't want to lay off any of 'his' employees in that location, so they transferred some of our responsibilities to a department in Texas and laid off 30 of us in a 120 person department. We found out when we attempted to logon to the system on a Monday morning only to be told by Corporate Data Security that we didn't work there anymore. Most of us had packed our desks up before the 10:00 announcement was made that we were being replaced with 75 contractors...
Posted By Lynda, Kansas City, MO : 2:23 PM  

I was hired by a company on the east coast and had to move, at my own expense, from the west coast. In my offer letter, it stated that the company would pay to relocate me back to the west coast if they had to let me go within 14 months. I did not ask for this provision, it was just part of their normal hiring package. After 12 months on the east coast I had my yearly performance review with my manager. He gave me a very positive review and it was accompanied by a substantial raise. After my manager covered all the required points of the review and the meeting was wrapping up, he proceeded to give me a 60 day layoff notice. Not only that, the date of my layoff was exactly 1 day after the 14 months, so the company would not have to pay for my relocation back to my original residence. There's nothing like getting a good raise and a layoff notice at the same meeting..."You did a great job and here's what you would be making if we were going to let you keep your job....."
Posted By Brian, Phoenix, AZ : 2:28 PM  

Yeah, reading all of these adds new meaning to the warm and fuzzy feelings I get during "Labor Day". All the HR palaber about employees being "our most valued asset" is a crock. Anyone who fires people in these manners is a coward and not fit to lead anyone. And the "whistleblower law" just got defanged a little while ago. I have never seen such a worker unfriendly environment in 30 years, yet the outlook is sunny according to our current administration.
Posted By Kerry Johnson, Apple Valley,MN : 2:30 PM  

I was working for a major aerospace company about 13 years ago and was laid off. I had notified my manager several weeks in advance that I was going to be out for at least six weeks for an upcoming abdominal surgery. When the time came, I was home the day before surgery getting ready for surgery the next morning when my boss called me. He was on the phone with the department manager and they informed me that I was being laid off. I had known that a lay-off was coming, but I thought it was extremely heartless to call me at home the day before a major surgery to inform me that I did not have a job to go back to.
Posted By Steve G, Perry, UT : 2:30 PM  

I was called into the bosses office and told that "company was going in a different direction" and was let go.
Two days later I received a letter in the mail stating that since I hadn't shown up for work that the they could only assume that I quit.
Posted By Greg, Rochester NY : 2:38 PM  

I went to our large office building one morning and my badge wouldn't work. I called Security from the badge reader intercom and they said I had been let go. I received a voicemail that day telling me all my things in my office would be boxed and sent to me "at their convenience."
Posted By Karen S., Dallas TX : 2:39 PM  

In the late 90's, I was working at a technology coming which had several different sites. We went through several rounds of layoffs, but one was quite memorable. Management told everyone in one of our east coast sites that there was going to be an offsite meeting. They arranged for two buses to transport the entire team to the location of the meeting. Everyone was assigned a seat on one of the two buses. One bus went to hotel where they discussed the companie's new organization. The other went to another hotel where HR was waiting with termination packages.
Posted By Will, Irvine, CA : 2:42 PM  

I was working at a dot com company. It was October & there was a list of 30 people to be laid off. My best friend who worked for the CFO came by to say she was so sorry I was on the list. (There were two of us with the same first name & she did not look at the last name to confirm it it was me or not).Well I went to my manager to confirm this & kept being told �No you�re not on the list�. After several attempts of re-asking the same question it was confirm I was on a list. However it was the list of layoffs that was to occur Dec 23. (I actually saw the second list). I was then told I could leave in October or stay. I waited till Dec 23. I kept my head up & on the last day brought in sparkling cider & made a toast to all my friends. Management gave me really nice going away package. Said they were impressed at how professional I was throughout my remaining time. I was the lucky one at this company.
Posted By Susan, Houston, TX : 2:42 PM  

I had been working for an associationfro three weeks. Came in on Monday and they had turned all computer systems off, then papered the windows to the conference rooms. If your phone rang at your desk.. you knew you were gone. No one wanted to answer the phone.
Posted By KMK Foley, Springfield, VA : 2:44 PM  

20-30 of us worked for a "international telecommunations company" in a remote branch office and some of us had noticed our HR head and Division VP were visiting the site. We joked that they were probably there to give us pink slips. Imagine our shock and surprise when we were summomoned for an employe meeting only to learn that the "joke" was true. We were told they were shutting down our small office and moving operations back abroad and to the remaining offices in CA and TX. Everyone was permitted to leave for the day and no further work was expected. We received minimal severence and very few of us ever bothered to show up at the office after the announcement as we were all busy looking for new jobs.
Posted By Bryan, Colorado Springs, CO : 2:51 PM  

My husband was "downsized" in the airport lobby by the middle manager who flew in. Then he was requested to go back to his office collect all his files, computer etc and deliver them back to the airport for the boss.

Then he was also terminated after he had driven 14 hours to headquarters to attend a regional meeting. They didn't even pay for the gas and lodging- told him to deduct it from his taxes as a business expense.
Posted By Cherry, Grand Rapids, MI : 2:57 PM  

I had worked for a prepress company in Chicago for 7 years when I lost my job. I had a gut feeling about it the month before and had asked one of the top managers if we might be laid off. his response was: as long as you want, you have a job with us". I closed on my first house, and within 6 weeks, my company called a meeting for all shifts. When we arrived, we were told it was "nothing personal, it's just business". We had 15 minutes to gather our belongings and leave. They did set us up with career coaches and resume writers, along with severence pay. They eventually moved all our business to another branch out of state. When I found the manager I had spoken to earlier, I asked him about his promise to me of always having a job. He told me that I do have a job with them, it just happens to be in St. Louis now. We were all offered relocation, but I had just closed on a house, so I couldn't go without tremendous financial problems. If only he had even hinted of a problem, I wouldn't have bought a house and I probably would've moved to St. Louis. it actually was a great place to work.
Posted By Pat, San Diego, CA : 3:24 PM  

I used to work for The Worst Airline. At the start of Gulf War I, business was down and, as everyone figured, layoffs were announced. Employees were to be told in person or, if it was their day off like it was for me, told by phone. Based on seniority, I thought there was a chance I'd be laid off but, when I didn't get a call, figured the list didn't make it down to me and went ot work the next day.

I got there and everyone in my area was asking me what I was doing there. Turns out I was laid off and they just forgot to call me.

What was really interesting is that I, a fired airline employee, was still able to get on the tarmac and around security (even though I had handed in my ID, I was still wearing my uniform as I went around to say goodbye to a few friends). Don't think that would be the case today.
Posted By Mike, Queens, NY : 3:25 PM  

I was working at Southern-Air the Christmas of 2004. I had been there for a year and a half, and two of my co-workers had been there for over five. they had hired new people and two days before Christmas, they made a phone call to let us know that we were being laid off. No notice we had to leave right then. Needless to say we have families, and they just didn't care, they said they had to cut back, but instead of laying the new people off they laid us off. Some Christmas right?! They said they wanted to do it before Christmas (2 days by the way) that way we wouldn't spend any money on presents. Like everyone else I had already bought presents.
Posted By Michelle, Fredericksburg, VA : 3:26 PM  

Christmas Day 1988 a senior vice president of the firm I worked for called me on an emergency number and demanded I leave a family celebration for an "emergency meeting" in the Chicago area ... I drove four hours to the designated hotel meeting where the vice president told me how impressed he had always been with my following directions and that he called me to the Chicago meeting to inform me that the company I was working for was firing me because they had elected to go with a contract sales firm to cover my territory. As an additional bonus he explained that I would not be getting ANY severance pay, nor would the firm pay for the mileage to the meeting to fire me. I then had a four hour road trip back to an awaiting family that was convinced that I must have recieved a major promotion or advancement to have been called away.
Not a good day.
Posted By Guy Washington, Indianapolis, In. : 3:35 PM  

I have worked for a large film making company that was a major employeer in the upstate New York area. When the company decide to send production opperations to Mexico and China to save on labor cost is when the seeming endless downsizing started occuring on a regular basis. This was of coarse a hugh local media event at the time and local news crews would hover just outside the companys property to get just laid-off workers comments. The company would call in entire crews from different areas and hand each employee an envelope, and then told the employee to go home, open the envolope to find out if you still where employeed, and then escorted off the companyees property. It did not take long for the employees to figure out that if you where handed a fat envelope you no longer had gainful employment. To keep the employees guessing, the management started stuffing bubble wrap in the envelopes so that they where all the same size.
Posted By steve, rochester n.y. : 4:00 PM  

I was a contractor at an automotive supplier currently a few years ago. We were told our contract was up that Friday on a Monday. On the following Monday (after we were let go) the entire IT department (direct hires) was called to a hotel ball room, where they were told to hand over their badges and schedule a time with security to collect their belongings. They could then interview for up to 3 different positions within the company. Refuse to interview and get nothing, interview 3 times and not get hired you got sevrance based on years of service. Of course that same week they called all of the contractors back... they couldn't let go full times until they "fired" the contractors. It was strange to come back and see people's half eaten breakfasts still in their cubes since they hadn't had a time to come collect their things yet. I got out of that job ASAP after seeing that.
Posted By Michelle, Troy MI : 4:12 PM  

I was working for Kmart as a Loss Prevention Manager in 2000 when they went through their layoffs. After working three straight overnight shifts to �help out� I was laid off on Christmas Eve. Now there is the giving spirit everyone looks for over the holidays. They did ask me not to contact any of my employees because they needed them to come in and work that night on Christmas Eve. Yea Right! Ha!
Posted By Brent, Dallas TX : 4:29 PM  

I recently worked as an engineer for a company that was famous for laying people off with no notice. The facility has been bankrupt 3 times, yet still has the same management. And none of the management seems terribly concerned with keeping the place open for long.

I was in Toronto in the summer of 2004 dealing with a customer that was milking our warranty for everything they could. The Friday afternoon of my 4th week there I call in to my office to check in, and they tell us to come home that night if we could, then asked to speak with the machinist I had brought with me. They laid him off over the phone while we were in another country! We packed up our stuff and came home the next day, after going to a steakhouse and 4 bars on the company expense account.

I was given a promotion (same company) about 6 months later and sent to training to be certified for my new responsibilities. 2 weeks after training ended, I was moved on paper from a salary management position to an hourly labor position, my benefits were cut back rather severely, but I was still expected to perform all the tasks of both my previous position and my new responsibilities they had sent me to be trained for. The best part was that my manager left work at noon so the HR manager could tell me after he was gone.

I started to look for another job, but there's not much in this area for my profession. I ended up laid off from that facility a few months ago after 3 years of unpaid overtime and countless trips to make sure our customers were kept happy, wich they were. I was informed 1 hour before the end of the day by the HR manager to clear out my desk and go home, and they'd pay me for the rest of the day. It took me 45 minutes to clear my desk, so I had a whole 15 minutes of severence pay. Oh, and surprise, my manager left at noon so he wouldn't have to confront me. The best part is that I was laid off due to "lack of work", but I had brought numerous prospects for new contracts to my manager's attention in the previous months worth at least a couple million dollars, and he never followed up on them because the projects would have been for new customers and he was afraid to talk to anyone that was not an established customer.
Posted By Todd, Reed City, Michigan : 4:50 PM  

My cousin used to work for an investment firm. When they slashed their workforce, they chose the efficient route: the employee found out when their manager and an armed guard arrived at their desk without any warning. Their manager then tossed them a cardboard box and told them to pack up and leave. Then they were escorted out. The only thing missing were the leg and arm chains!
Posted By Joel, Mission, KS : 4:57 PM  

I got the boot on a Suday after spending an 80 hour week wrapping up a critical project for my employer. I was in San Francisco, preparing to fly back to Boston. The company I worked for canceled my corporate travel card the prior Friday. When I tried to book a flight back home, I was told that the card was cancelled.

Naturally I called my boss on his mobile phone ans asked what was up. He didn't expect the call, he said that HR was supposed to call me on Friday with the news. I asked my now ex-boss to purchase a return flight with his Traval card in my name at the SF airport. He refused.

I ended up buying a ticket back home with my own money. My ex-employer refused to reimburse the ticket because I had been technically terminated on Friday.

I ened up going to small claims court to get the cost of my plane ticket. My ex-company showed up with a lawyer and were set to dispute a $360 plane ticket. The corporate attourney saw the situation for what it was and said that they would pay my plane ticket, stating that it was a "clerical Error". I still had to pay the court filing fees and court costs. In the end, I got $220 back.
Posted By Robert, Boston MA : 5:08 PM  

Before you go to work, read the morning paper.You might learn you are fired!
I was a Chef at a four-star,four- diamond hotel in San Antonio,Texas. One morning prior to leaving for work I was reading the local "Foodie News" in the paper.One of the stories was an announcement concerning another Chef who was taking my place. I went to work and confronted the General Manager
who confirmed what I read in the paper.
Now that's World Class Service !
Posted By Dr. D Orlando,Fl. : 1:55 AM  

Quite a few years ago I was an ICU nurse. I was ill and had been admitted to another local hospital and was a patient in their ICU for 2 days. When I was moved out of ICU (as a patient) I was put on the step down unit, still on a heart monitor and IV's etc. I received a call from the hospital I worked for and was fired for taking unapproved sick time. They didn't care that it was an emergency and that I was very ill. And they didn't seem to understand when I was upset at my exit interview. I won my unemployment.
Posted By Carol Brown, Cincinnati, Ohio : 3:01 AM  

It was a Sunday evening and I was eating dinner at my parent`s house. My girlfriend was there and we were going to announce the good news that we were getting married! We were at the dinner table and the phone rings. My Mom answers the phone and I hear her say 'yes he is right here'. I pick up the phone and it is my boss telling me not to bother showing up on Monday because business was slowing down. My now former boss tried calling me at my apartment and having not reached me there called my emergency contact number, which was my parent's number. I have always wondered, if I was not at my parent's house, would he have told my Mom that I was being laid off?
Posted By Sean, Lakewood, CO : 3:27 AM  

I was working at a Resort in Florida the early part of the 1990's. Before I started working there this place was losing money, but within a year I had helped them to turn things around financially and they even began to make a profit. I was then promoted to another area and began to work with them to make it profitable. One morning I came to work and was told I was no longer needed there and that I should look for another job - when I asked my supervisor why, he said simply "just look for another job". Lo and behold I found that this company was preparing itself to be bought out by another company and needed someone to help them "look better" financially. To make things worse, they put a stop payment on my final paycheck because they thought that I had taken some computer disks (which they later found). I asked them to help with the bank fees for the checks that I had written (based on this payroll check) and never heard from them.
Posted By Chris Z. (now in Minnesota) : 7:49 AM  

A major ag company had everyone go to their desks at a particular time. Those who got a call were asked to come to room to get laid off, those not called were told to go back to work 2 hours later. Very demeaning!
Posted By Anonymous : 7:51 AM  

I used to work for Global Crossing. I had planned going on vacation with my family for a week. I made arrangements with my supervisor that I would bring a laptop with me and dial into the network if any problems arose. I would also check email every day. Late one night I found that I could no longer login to the network. I received a phone call the next morning from my supervisor, who also had his supervisor on the line. I was told I would be let go and they conferenced in an HR person to explain the procedure. I wasn't allowed to return to my office to retrive any personal items. I'm sure that if I took them to court I could have but there wasn't anything there that was worth the headache...
Posted By John W., Rochester NY : 8:18 AM  

I found out I was fired when I didn't get a direct deposit for my paycheck in my checking account. When I called the accounting office in another state and asked where my money was, the secretary on the other end of the line told me,"We always mail out an employees' last check." That's how I found out I was fired. I had been in media for over 30 years and it was the last straw. I went into Public Relations instead, and I am making more money than ever, without working weekends,holidays or being glued to a pager 24-7. It was a blessing, my ex-job was, and is still controlled by, a pack of jackasses.
Posted By Kathy Culpepper, Norfolk, VA. : 1:10 PM  

I had worked for an Aerospace contractor for about 4 years. I got engaged, and looked forward to an awesome wedding and honeymoon. I had outstanding reviews and "upward mobility", and was training for a new job that was presented to me as plans were ramping up for the wedding. I was doing well with training and our wedding day came, followed by our honeymoon. I was told that when I got back, I'd have the new position that I'd trained for.

Instead, I got back from my honeymoon... and was told that they hired someone else to take the position, and I was out. End of story.
Posted By Tim, Washington DC : 1:21 PM  

My company was in the process of a merger. They strung it out over a few years with gradual layoffs then when the merger came, they called each dept. into a room and put up an organizational chart. If your name wasn't in a box, you were gone. Then they made you also reapply for your job and then you got put in a "pool" so the torture went on a few more months. If no one picked you by the end of the year, you were gone.
Posted By Diane B, Summit, NJ : 1:49 PM  

I use to work as a Programmer Analyst for an Insurance company. My normal working day was from 6-330 PM. We were running our end of month processing on Saturday. So I went home on Friday afternoon, at 330PM.
At 500PM, that day a decision was made to let me go. My supervisor called me the next day, Saturday over 50 times to say there was a problem. I offered to come in and help out, but he said he would take care of it. On Monday morning I came in and worked at my desk and talked to my supervisor about the problem we were having and gave him the solution to the problem. I went to lunch at 1130. When I came back, I was told the VP of IT wanted to talked to me. It was then I was asked why I was still here working and I told him what do you mean me. He then told me I was let go on Friday at 500PM. I told him no one told me and that I received over 50 calls from my supervisor on Saturday. I was then let go and escorted to my desk to clean it out, then out of the office.
Posted By Barry, Memphis, TN : 1:52 PM  

I came into work one morning and had not been feeling good since the day before. I called my doctor and he told me to get in immediately so I told my boss I was going to the hospital. When I got there, I was informed that I had a irregular heartbeat (stress related) and would need to stay overnight. I had my wife call my boss to let him know what was going on. A few hours later, the medication kicked in and the doctor allowed my to go home and rest. 30 minutes after I got home (unbeknownst to my boss) he called me on the phone and fired me...after I was just in the hospital for a stress related heart condition. Unbelievable!
Posted By Jim Taczy, Laguna Hills, CA : 2:08 PM  

I was called into the office with other co-workers. One had told HORRID lies about my performance, how I wouldn't respect her position and didn't do anything unless the boss was there. I was told to leave then.

It all came out in the end - the one who did the complaining was the one not working and it came out when I wasn't there to pick up the slack. I got a call the other week to see if I'd come back. Ha, I'm in a job that's a million times better!
Posted By Brissa, Omaha, NE : 2:08 PM  

I worked for a small non-profit agengy. I was told i was getting a promotion and that my new position would be at our main office a few miles a way. A week later, when i showed up at the new office the director told me i was fired.
Posted By Angela, Bloomfield Hills, Mi. : 2:08 PM  

After posting obvious guards at every company entrance, the designated newly jobless were herded into conference rooms to receive the news and then quickly escorted to the parking lots where their progress was monitored, and indeed hastened, by the paid muscle (desk/cubicle packing was to be handled by team leads and department managers, with the resultant boxes retrievable from HR the following week). The company, aware that some individuals may take the news rather hard, even lined up ambulances along the perimeter of the back lot. All of this was unnecessary for the observant, however, as each name on the lay-off list was erased from the global company e-mail roster three hours before the culling began.
Posted By Mike, Jacksonville, FL : 2:18 PM  

I worked for ITT in New Jersey between 1989-1992. My boss told me one day that a very important R&D project had to be finished that day. I finished it around 8PM. When I came in the next day he called me into his office and told me that I was being let go in a "corporate restructuring". This, after ITT had recently purchased the Knicks, Rangers and Madison Square Garden. I guess they couldn't afford my dinky salary since they had to pay Ewing. Had I known about the layoffs I would have taken the R&D project into the bathroom and flushed every single paper down the toilet.
Posted By Jim McDonough, Wyckoff NJ : 2:24 PM  

I was working for a fortune 500 company when a coworker who previously worked for another company unit on the East coast told me about being laid off by videotape. They handed all employees a videotape just minutes before they were to leave on a Friday and told them to view it over the weekend as it pertained to their benefits. On the tape was a simulated news report complete with actors as news anchors who said a few words then cut to a "special correspondent" who looked into the cameara and said "the job you have has been eliminated. This is not a reflection on you...."
I refused to believe this tale - until he brought the tape into the office and allowed me to view it. Unbelievable!
I told him that would never fly in our workplace market. Of course, only a couple years later they were outsourcing our jobs to India and requiring us to train our replacements first else we would receive no severance. Of course, first they changed the severance program - greatly reducing the paid time you would receive for each year of faithful service you had given them.
Posted By Corey, Minneapolis, MN : 12:16 PM  

After almost 7 successful years with the company, I was fired for mailing a fed ex package. I was brought down to HR at 5:30pm, after working the entire day, and told I was no longer employed. What goes around comes around, Pressman.
Posted By AL, PA : 3:18 PM  

The amount people here that answered home phone calls only to get fired simply amazes me. A ringing phone doesn't have to be investigated immediately. Separate and balance your work and home life. (Nor does a knock on the door require answering, either, for that matter). When I'm not on call, after business hours my company does not exist, as far as I'm concerned.

Another thing, paid 'muscle' or armed security guards have no special superhero powers - they act as an agent of the owner under the law. No more, no less. They can tell you to leave the premisis, or they call a real cop to charge you with trespassing, and that's about it.

And if a company refuses to return personal items within a reasonable time frame, press charges of theft.
Posted By Arch, Cleveland, OH : 4:06 PM  

A number of years ago I received an email right after coming back from a vacation over Thanksgiving. The email only mentioned my layoff indirectly by talking about how HR would be available during the week to answer my questions about how to handle my insurance through COBRA, which normally kicks in when a person is fired or layed-off. It took me some time to figure it out since I was the first one in the office. It appears to be similar to the other incident in the news story about the new org-chart on the photocopier that was missing a few names. It definitely was a downer that day...
Posted By Ray, Philadelphia, PA : 1:23 AM  

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.