People Share Their Worst 'HR Is Not Your Friend' Experiences
Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Working in HR is no picnic. The warning about the job is in the title... "Human Resources." You know right away that you'll be dealing with people, constantly. That can be a bit much, as most workplaces are wrought with drama. Of course the HR department is an essential branch of a business, and the people who run it are supposed to be a safe place for employees to go for questions. So it is unfortunate when one discovers the department whose purpose was designed to look after the little guy is actually a viper's den.

Redditor u/ceowin wanted to hear why the HB department is s place where we all need to watch our backs most by asking... What's the worst "HR is not your friend" story you've witnessed/experienced?

I know that some HR departments are overseeing a large number of people, but that doesn't mean you aren't supposed to be able to identify the person you need to seek out. You can't just pull a rando employee in and give them the what for. At the very least know with whom you are scolding or praising. How embarrassing.

And you are...

Excuse Me Reaction GIF by Bounce Giphy

Pulled into a meeting with two HR reps in the middle of my shift. Taken to this really nice boardroom, which was confusing because I was just a grunt and this is literally floors above where I should ever be.

They sat me down and said basically what do you have to say for yourself. Me, still confused, tells them I have no idea what they're talking about. Everyone is really quiet and serious and I'm scared. And they say you know what you did, this is cause for termination, blah blah. I'm literally thinking this is really excessive for being a few minutes late sometimes.

I insist I don't know what's going on. One of them maybe realized something was wrong and flips open a file and says you're xx right? Turns out they got me mixed up with someone else who has the same name. On the elevator ride down by myself I was still sweating. Don't know what that other person did but man, HR does not play.


Nametags Necessary

I had the Air Force Office of Special Investigations do that crap to me back in like 2002 or so. I got told OSI called and wanted me to go over to their office. I got interrogated for about 10 minutes, them accusing me of doing cocaine and hanging out with some other dude I barely knew. After me arguing with them for those ten minutes or so, they finally said "aren't you this Airman super common last name?"

And I was like, yeah but there's multiple Airman super common last name in my shop alone. Yeah turns out, they meant a different person completely. They saw my last name and never checked my ID or asked my first name. I had to get read into the investigation because they messed up.


Once you survey the terrain and understand the dynamics of the job, you can devise a plan. If you know HR is full of jackals, then you know you're on your own. So never let them leave you hanging. Keep proof. Beat them at their own game.The proof is all you'll ever need. And be ready to be sneaky about it.

Show the Logs

I went to HR to report that my team's manager was illegally shorting all of our paychecks. HR's response was to adopt a new, company-wide policy addressing the paycheck issue and back-paying most people for a certain amount, and also to frame me for work avoidance. HR and IT disabled part of my login account to a tool we used, and then fired me a few months later after failing to fix the problem and allowing me to actually do my job.

They tried to deny my unemployment claim afterward. Told the unemployment rep that they "had logs" showing that I did something to break the tool I don't even have access to break in the first place. They also didn't think to disable my email access in a timely manner, so I was able to back up all my emails with IT documenting exactly what went down. Unemployment approved my claim and hit them with a major penalty to their insurance.


I have receipts...

HR ordered me to downgrade my three excellent employee reviews to satisfactory because management didn't recognize their names. I got written up for telling my employees this.

HR denied that they told me anything, even though I had the emails from them documenting it.

Totally worth it. My employees were excellent and got the raises they deserved.


You gotta watch out for the little things. That is how they get you. See they know you're staying on top of the big things. That is exactly what throws us off our game. We miss the small details being blinded by the elephant in the room. Trust me when I tell you, they've been plotting your demise and it'll be for something you never thought possible. Be prepared.

Take my Badge...

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The HR/Payroll manager at a small hospital I worked at had a bad habit of not paying out the sign on bonus that was paid out incrementally in three payments through the course of a year and sign on bonuses for picking up extra shifts.

After repeated request to be belatedly compensated, I took it to corporate who addressed my issue immediately.

A couple weeks later I was terminated on what amounted to a technicality where I forget my badge one shift and my relief was late to take over sitting with a patient, causing me to receive more points against me than if I had called out for that shift.

When I was called in to receive my notification, the director of nursing was shocked but ultimately not much she could do.


Let's Excel

Overall I've been able to get along with HR departments with one exception. I was working a help desk job for a company during college and the head of HR called in for help. He was making an Excel spreadsheet and couldn't figure out how to make a formula do what he wanted. I offered to come take a look as we were in the same building and he told me I couldn't because the spreadsheet was full of confidential information. So I asked then if he could describe what exactly he was trying to do without giving away any specific info, and he told me that what he was trying to do was confidential.

So I clarified that he wanted me to tell him how to do something but I couldn't see it and he wouldn't even tell me what it was he was trying to do. At that point he agreed that I wouldn't be able to assist him since he couldn't divulge anything. As soon as we hung up he called my boss to complain that I was useless.


Of course some people are just straight up dumb, or rotten to the core. In a perfect world people in positions of power deserve to be where they are, or they're at least competent. Well, competent enough where you're not wondering... "how did you get here?" And rotten people can be movie villain level, true story.

A Quick 6

I worked at a smallish company that grew big enough to hire a hr person. Her office was down from mine so in the mornings I'd swing by and say hi. That turned into grabbing a cup of coffee she had just made, the into having a pastry and talking about life. I found that if I mentioned someone's name in passing, a few minutes later she would spill the beans about that person's life. What work issues they had, health issues, family issues etc. I learned really quick any issues I had not to take them to her. She made it like 6 months before she got fired.


Completely Inept

The HR supervisor of my former company. She didn't have formal training in HR but still got the job because of connections. She would tell anyone she was close with confidential details about certain employees like their health and family issues. She would also divulge information that only the management should know like business negotiations. And it was all voluntarily done. Anyone with formal training who worked under her never lasted a year. Last I heard, they finally hired an HR manager she would report to.



HR hired consultants to run morale building employee input sessions. Basically saying "We're not from the company. You can tell us all the things you don't like about working here and would like to see changed and we'll put it all into a report for management. Don't worry, everything is anonymous, we just need material for our report and you guys get to have your say in improving things around here."

Turns out HR and the consultants recorded all the sessions and played the highlights for management. People were disciplined for criticising the company or their immediate superiors and any shred of faith or trust in management that the employees may have had was instantly incinerated.

Managers now complain that they don't know what's going on in their teams because nobody tells them anything. I wonder why.



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HR person used her position to collect intel to get people she didn't like fired.


Bad Performance Issues

The company has a policy where 10% of the workers had to get bad performance reviews which meant no raise that year. What the company didn't take into account is that some teams are small and hyper specialized. You can imagine what happened next, a bunch of crucial employees quit and that policy was cancelled (but the damage was done).

Edit: wow people really enjoy corporate incompetence, let me tell you another. The company has a policy that limits an intern to 5 years. I started there somewhere during my bachelor's and now near the end of my masters, it took over 5 years so now they are letting me go. My boss doesn't want to let me go and his boss doesn't want to let me go, but you can't argue with corporate.


At the "Real" Job

At my last "real" job before striking out on my own I had an exit interview with the HR lady. Who was actually just someone who was friends with the company president who was filling in because the actual HR lady with a degree in HR and everything quit.

A lot of people at this place quit. It was a terrible place to work with out of touch management and delusions of grandeur limping along building websites for a business niche that was mostly old people who thought the Internet was magic.

During the exit interview she asked why I was leaving. I told her I liked my coworkers a lot, but hated the company. She got this exasperated look and got genuinely upset, and told me that she'd been getting that same line from everybody else who quit and had their exit interview recently.

It boggled my mind that they could hear the same thing over and over again from so many people putting in their time until they could go on to something better and not stop to think they should change something.


Being a Junior

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Our entire IT department get tested based on our skills level.

Turns out, more than half of us were suited for higher categories (meaning we were getting under-paid - I was not a junior but a semi-senior, for example). Suddenly the test doesn't matter and HR basically forgets about it, but now you have a bunch of employees that know they're being played. Everyone left eventually.


I Dare You

After 4 years on the job, I was given a first and final warning for asking why the hell HR was behind a locked door and now dominated over half the first floor, filled with new furniture that was unused after 6 months, meanwhile, my chair was taken by another employee and I was told to use the chair without padding.

An executive from another department heard my complaint, stole one of the unused chairs from the HR expansion, and gave it to me, explaining that if I did it, I'd be fired, she did it daring them to fire her.


Damn Sprint

I worked in a call center for a cell provider when I was younger, let's call them Sprint Mobile. We had a bonus structure that was based on our call metrics; hold time, handle time, call resolution and all that. A lot of the metrics were obtainable but one was hard, call resolution. Some times people had to go to stores, wait for replacement devices, or needed software updates that required follow up calls.

But they got surveyed right after the call and asked if their problem was resolved. Well my last year there we got our metrics at the beginning of the year and by November about 60% of the floor hit them. Two weeks before bonus time they changed the metrics and only 20% of the floor got their bonus.



Not HR but heed my warning: don't type ANYTHING into your work computer that you wouldn't say directly to your company's HR person's face. I have seen people had cases built against them for poor work and ultimately fired for the crap they say over Skype.



I worked in a warehouse that regularly concealed the shipping of dangerous goods to save money. This went on for years. As time went on, I bubbled up though the ranks and was eventually made manager of the warehouse. I outright refused to ship anything anywhere until we started to claim our dangerous goods shipments properly. Their solution? The boss started to sign his name instead. This went on for a few weeks until HR found out. (They obviously knew how much trouble the president could have got in to).

So the next time a shipment had to go out, the got the newest guy in the warehouse to start signing his name instead, claiming they were training him how to do paperwork but the poor kid had no idea.... so when the driver showed to pick up his shipment I told him that there were a bunch of dangerous substances concealed in the shipment. So he refused it and left. I got told later that my actions were "damaging to the company image" and it had to stop.

I told HR exactly what was going on and how I would not be a part of it. Less than a week after that, I was removed from my position due to "company restructuring" and laid off. Some of the most crooked shit I've ever seen. My rough estimates ballpark the money they saved at about $250,000/year. Scumbags... the whole family.


The next 2 weeks...

Upon giving two weeks notice, I get this stupid rant about millennial snowflakes, how we can't take the stress of a real job, and how we think we're so important and unique, but in reality the only thing that would happen, is that they would find another engineer to fill in for me, and things would be like I never existed.

After the initial shock, I replied with a "you are absolutely correct. Me staying or not is meaningless. Consider my resignation immediate from this moment, please give me the paperwork to sign."


The Gaslighter

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HR was the bosses sister and the boss was a narcissist.

The sister/HR had very little actual life experience because they both came from a big pharma family and never really had a sense of what working a real job was like. Boss could do no wrong in his sister's eyes, so complaining about anything just got you gaslit. Glad I'm not there anymore.


Out of lIne

At my job we used to hire a few special needs individuals who would do some cleaning and light duty things. One day one of them did something wrong (it was very minor but I can't remember the specifics) and the manager said out loud, right next to this guy, "why do we keep hiring these retards?"

And referred to his job coach as his "handler". One of the girls that saw it happen was rightfully pissed off and reported it to HR. The next day she was put on unpaid leave for "creating a hostile work environment". Same manager is still here... she is not.


Luckily, I myself have had very few encounters with people from an HR department, and the few times I did they were quite lovely. In the end, no matter the job, no matter the company, the position, title or department we must realize, everyone is out for themselves. You sort of have to be. Everyone wants their share of the pie. It would just be nice if everyone didn't play the villain to do it.


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