19 Truly Terrible CEOs And Bosses That Are Making This The Worst Time In History To Be An Employee

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You may have noticed some ~fun~ headlines about Elon Musk in the news lately. First, leaked emails showed him telling people to return to the office or quit. "Anyone who wishes to do remote work must be in the office for a minimum (and I mean *minimum*) of 40 hours per week or depart Tesla," he wrote. "If you don't show up, we will assume you have resigned."

Elon at an event
Saul Martinez / Getty Images

Then, other emails revealed he wants to fire 10% of his company because he has a "super bad feeling" about the economy. What's next, firing people because Mercury is in retrograde?

elon pointing
Frederic J. Brown / AFP via Getty Images

Anyways, Elon — the richest person in history – is hardly the only rich employer/boss/CEO doing and saying some seriously messed up things. Here are 19 other headlines that made me wonder just how unfair, out of touch, and heartless bosses and CEOs are these days.

1.Let's start with some more bad behavior from Tesla. In 2017, they not only fired union activist Richard Ortiz*, but also hired a consultancy firm to spy on employees in a Facebook group for workers and take note of anyone discussing unfair labor practices or the sexual harassment lawsuit Tesla was facing.

"Tesla monitored its employees on facebook with help of PR firm during 2017 union push"

2. Like Tesla, Amazon is a hugely profitable company, and its CEO Jeff Bezos is right behind Musk in the list of richest people in the world. So...this story about one worker who had a wife with terminal brain cancer — which he said his bosses knew when he was hired — is pretty bleak.

Here's the quick version of the story: about a year and a half after working there, this anonymous, high-paid staffer said his boss came to him with concerns about his performance. Soon after, he went to HR about his difficulties working through his wife's illness and his own depression, and was allegedly told, "You have two options here: You go on family leave or you can perform.” With family leave, he'd get no income to support his wife's treatment. He tried to "push through" and was eventually fired for his performance. His wife went into hospice a month later, then died.

amazon logo
Smith Collection/Gado / Getty Images

3.I first spotted this post on Reddit, and thought...this can't possibly be true. Except it is!!! Debbie Stevenson was an assistant to a woman at a dealership. After making a comment about donating her kidney to her boss, her boss asked if she was serious. While the woman wasn't a match for her boss, she donated a kidney anyways, because this would move her boss higher on the donor list.

"Ny Mom Fired After Donating Kidney to Help Her Boss: Debbie Stevenson, has 47, mother of two, fired after she gave a kidney to help boss"
abcnews.go.com / News/york-mom-fired-donating-kidney-boss/story?id=16195691

After returning to work, her boss "started treating [her] horribly, viciously, inhumanly." Stevensen continued, "It was almost like she hired me just to get my kidney." Due to complications after surgery and mental stress, she hired attorneys. A week after they sent a letter to the company, Stevenson was fired.

drag rage contestant saying "girl, really?"
ABC / Via youtube.com

4.Here's another fun headline! As a bartender was finishing his shift, he was robbed by a man with a gun, who stole $4,000. Just hours later, his bosses told him he'd need to repay his employers the money.

"barman forced to repay money to bosses after it is stolen from cast register at gunpoint: lawsuit also alleges harassment by employers led to "major anxiety" and "panic attacks"

His employers also had him sign a document that he would repay the money just after being robbed at gunpoint. Oh, and did I mention he was demoted, and later fired after taking an approved vacation?

the bartender, edward parker,  being robbed, then later saying "I wasn't thinking right; I'd just had a gun shoved in my face. And I signed the document"
8 News NOW Las Vegas / Via I wasn't thinking right; I'd just had a gun shoved in my face. And I signed the document.

5. Okay, so this isn't the actual headline of this article on 9/11 survivor Stanley Praimnath, but this is the most damning piece of info from it:

Praimnath was working in the South Tower, and saw "chunks of fireballs" coming from the direction of the North Towers. He called over a coworker, not knowing what was happening; they decided to leave. When they got downstairs, the security guards asked where they were going. Security guards told them it was safe and to go back to the office. His bosses allegedly told him, "Come on Stan the man, we got a business to run," and he went back upstairs.

Praimnath speaking by a church

6.Of course, while employees suffer, we can't forget that CEOs and employers are taking all the money. Like JP Morgan CEO, Jamie Dimon, who made $31.5 million in 2020. Defending his pay, he said cutting it would "offend the board."

"JP Morgan boss amie Dimon: to cut my $31.5m pay would 'offend the board'"

Dimon also said his pay was part of a retention strategy that used "fair" pay in order to keep top talent at the firm.

Dimon at an event
Mark Wilson / Getty Images

7.Sometimes, bosses even want enormous salaries back when they realize they paid their employees "too much." This employee wrote in to the Moneyist about a tech company that paid them in crypto, then tried to get the employee to pay the crypto back and accept money instead after the value of crypto went up.

"My employer paid me in crypto. It rose 700% in value. Now he wants employees to return the crypto and accept dollars"

8. And even when bosses do pay their employees, they sometimes do it in a really awful way. Miles Walker of A OK Walker Autoworks paid his employee's final paycheck in motor oil-covered pennies. When tracked down by a reporter and questioned about his "prank," Walker reportedly said, “It doesn’t matter — he got paid, that’s all that matters. He’s a f - - kin’ weenie for even bringing it up."

Employee Andreas Flaten and his girlfriend had to clean each coin by hand. They couldn't even sue or anything, as "There is nothing in the regulations that dictates in what currency the employee must be paid," according to US Department of Labor spokesperson, Eric R. Lucero.

9.Prospective employees are also often treated poorly. Companies may say they care about diversity, but sometimes this just means the appearance of diversity. Like Wells Fargo, which allegedly staged fake job interviews with diverse applicants.

"Wells fargo staged 'fake' job interviews for black people, women in quest for diversity"

Former Wells Fargo wealth management executive, Joe Bruno, has claimed diverse candidates were interviewed for jobs where someone had already been promised the position. He complained to his bosses and was later fired, claiming this was retaliation. Wells Fargo said he was fired for retaliating against a fellow employee; however, 11 other former or current Wells Fargo employees have backed up his claims.

sign for wells fargo

A Wells Fargo spokesperson claimed they didn't tolerate such behavior, with the CEO of Wells Fargo’s wealth and investment management business, Barry Sommers, denying Bruno's claims.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

10.Sticking with banks — Marc Eugenio was struggling to get a check from his new job verified at US Bank on Christmas Eve. It wouldn't go through, and Eugenio couldn't buy gas to get home. He called the customer care line for the bank and spoke to employee Emily James, who cleared it with her supervisor to leave work to give $20 of her own money to the man. She and her supervisor were then both fired for violating a company policy about employees leaving work to meet with unknown customers.

"A bank employee gave $20 to a customer in need. She and her supervisor were fired. the employees were fired after one of them left work to give a customer $20 because he could not access his bank funds"

11.That's not the only example of an employer being cold-hearted. After rushing her son, who had a fever and low oxygen, to the hospital, P.S. Food Mart employee, Crystal Fisher, had her daughter call work to tell them she wouldn't be in the next day. “And the boss, I could hear her over the phone and she told my daughter ‘this ain’t the way we run things, you’re mother needs to be the one calling me,'" Fisher said.

"Albion mom almost loses her job for sticking by her son's side in the hospital"

Fisher's son was transferred to another hospital and intubated and put on life support. She let her boss know she wouldn't be in until he was off life support. Her boss allegedly replied, "Oh, so you’re letting me know you’re quitting," and later, "There is no reason you can't work and I will not tolerate drama."


12.In some cases, it's the employers themselves getting employees and their families sick. For example, Kelby Krabbenhoft, CEO and President of Sanford Health in South Dakota, refused to wear a mask at work after he had COVID, saying there was "growing evidence" he was immune and that he wasn't interested in "symbolic gestures." This was back in late 2020.

"Hospital CEO says he had Covid and doesn't need a mask. His staff are appalled" by Samira Said, CNN

13.Some execs don't seem to care about things that they don't think affect them. Like climate change, which disproportionately affects poor people and minorities. HSBC Asset Management global head of responsible investing Stuart Kirk reportedly expressed ambivalence about global warming at a Financial Times Moral Money event, saying investors shouldn't worry about it.

"HSBC AM global head of responsible investing: 'who cares if miami is six metres under water in 100 years?' 'There will be fires but we do need to adapt'

“Unsubstantiated, shrill, partisan, self-serving, apocalyptic warnings are ALWAYS wrong,” he wrote in a slide during his presentation, saying there have been many "nut job(s)" over the years warning him about "the end of the world".

Kirk speaking at the event

14.You'd think at least working for the (in this case, Canadian) government would be safe, right? Like, they'd help out with housing? Well, not for these military members of the Royal Canadian Air Force!

"military members urged to contact habitat for humanity amid housing crisis"

Amid a housing crisis, their superiors actually suggested that if they were having trouble finding affordable housing, to contact Habitat for Humanity. AKA, a nonprofit that utilizes volunteers to help build housing for people who can't afford it.

habitat for humanity people building a home

15.The US government isn't paying their people living wages, either. Like, did you know that White House interns used to not get paid???

"white house to pay interns for first time in history" by melissa quinn

The Biden administration is the first to pay the White House interns at a rate of $750 per week. "This significant milestone of paying White House interns will help remove barriers to equal opportunity for low-income students and first-generation professionals at the beginnings of their careers and help to ensure that those who receive internships at the White House — and who will be a significant part of the leadership pipeline across the entire federal government — reflect the diversity of America," The White House said in a statement.

  Win Mcnamee / Getty Images
Win Mcnamee / Getty Images

16.This boss bragged about firing a subordinate for his insistence on only working 9 to 5, dismissing Gen Z's supposed "rigidity" and "misguided entitlement." She wrote, "There’s no disputing it — sometimes emails need to be sent at night. Sometimes calls need to be taken early in the morning. Sometimes a Monday deadline necessitates a few hours of work on a Saturday."

"want to work 9-to-5? good luck building a career" by gabrielle peterson

17.Let's end on a few more general ones. Like this headline about executives trying to force people back to the office when they themselves aren't going back.

"FortuneBosses are demanding employees return to the office, but a new survey shows executives are staying at home themselves"

18.This article found that newly appointed CEOs in America and Denmark with MBAs boosted profits by suppressing workers’ wages — not by making their companies actually do better.

"How MBA-wielding bosses boost profits: not by increasing sales, investment, or productivity"

19.This article pointed out that CEO raises were 17% last year compared to 4.4% raises for private-sector workers. Inflation hit 7% last year, so basically, the workers had less buying power than they had before.

"CEO pay rose 17% in 2021 as profits soared; workers trailed"

20.But even with much smaller raises than CEOs, banks are worried about your raises "messing with the economy." They're not worried about their raises messing with the economy, though!

"The biggest banks on Wall Street are worried that your big pay raise could be bad for the economy"

21.And finally, this article just wanted people to work for free. Because of course, housing and groceries and everything else that keeps us alive is free, too!

"stop expecting to get paid for your time. how much is your time worth? An 'i don't work for free' mindset could actually be doing you more harm than good"

This is what I leave you with.


H/T: r/LateStageCapitalism, r/AwfulEverything, r/nottheonion, r/iamatotalpieceofshit