Employee gripes | HR reveal the most absurd complaints from staff

HR reveal the most absurd complaints from staff

By its very nature, HR is the guardian of those in the office.

If mental health issues are affecting an employee, HR should always be the first port of call in the workplace; it’s drummed into workers – and rightly so – that all mediation, illness and major frustrations should be HR’s business. For the most part, this is exactly what the function is for, and so much emphasis is put on imploring employees to utilise the HR resources they have.

However, any HR professional will admit that on occasion, employees confuse non-issues with relevant work issues. This means that HR ends up fielding absurd complaints and requests from unprofessional or simply arrogant employees with little concept of what actually constitutes an HR issue.

In such times of exacerbation, it can be healthy to vent to others about some of the, frankly, ridiculous complaints that make it past the natural filter that rational employees use to gauge if their gripes need to be communicated – albeit anonymously via Reddit. Here are some of the most absurd requests HR professionals ever had to field.

Toilet tribulations

User Thetensofwords stated the following about an employee who thought that another worker was targeting him in toilet breaks: “My work has one men's toilet. Had one co-worker complain that another guy kept using the bathroom before him and doing big ol' poos (sic).

"But the way he said it was like this guy knew when he was about to go, ninja'd in just before him, dropped a massive stinker and then forced the other guy to marinade in the smell when he went for a leak afterwards. We ended up adding a can of air freshener to the bathroom, and the next complaint that came in was the poo guy never used it (sic).”

The hard sell

HR professional Steelie34 had to deal with a particularly uncomfortable situation at his workplace: “One of our bosses went to Deepak Chopra thing and came back with a poster she put on the wall saying "in one life we all wear many hats" with a picture of five differently coloured hats stacked on top of each other (sic). Then she spent the next six months trying to talk people into buying stuff from her...like toothpaste, jeans, all sorts of stuff...we'd be in her office on a meeting and suddenly it would segue into a sales pitch. What was particularly annoying about this was that she and her husband are well off, if not rich. He's a senior doctor, she's a head accountant, they own multiple homes but are STILL trying to squeeze a bit more money out of the people who work under them. She was actually a nice person, but hell we got tired of being asked to buy stuff from her....”

Making a connection

Whilst sexual harassment is a serious issue this situation was definitely a surreal one for user Skittlesnwhiksey to have to deal with. The Reddit user wrote: “Was once asked to investigate a sexual harassment situation where three different women were coming on to a male co-worker throughout their shift. I took down the details, got the names, easy peasy investigation so I thought. A week later, nobody by these descriptions or names had ever worked for the company. I decided to talk to the gentleman again. After a lengthy conversation where things didn’t quite stack up, I asked him how these women communicated with him. I s*** you not, with a straight face, he looks me in the eye and replies “telepathically” like I’m some kind of idiot.”

Going the whole hog 

This story by GonneBeTrulyHonest is a good example of how little indiscretions can soon lead to bigger issues. They wrote: “Used to have an A/R clerk who would snack at her desk all day long. We are a pretty casual, laid back company so it's not a big deal as long as she was getting her work done. But, then it escalated to having food constantly being delivered; tacos in the morning, pizza at lunch, Chinese in the afternoon. It was bizarre and made it difficult for her to work when she's eating full meals all day.

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"I was on the fence about saying something until she brought in an Instant Pot. She plugged it in and cooked a freaking pork roast at her desk, poured in BBQ sauce she brought and ate on it all day. I was dumbfounded, it was so strange. I pulled her aside the next day and told her how unprofessional it was. She was shocked and told me I was being unfair because I never specifically said anyone was allowed to bring in an Instant Pot (sic). She truly seemed genuinely surprised that she wasn't allowed to do that. She scaled it down after that, but I sometimes wonder how much further she would have gone if I never said anything.”

Crawling to conclusions 

HR leader Nennern actually had a comment made about them by a worker jumping (or crawling) to conclusions: “I work with a few people that aren't that fluent in English. One of my co-workers was trying to explain to me what kind of tacos he ate and could not remember the word for stingrays. So he took my notebook and drew a picture of a stingray and wrote the word turtle. So it looked like this: crudely drawn stingray + the word turtle. A lady I work with went through my notebook saw the picture of the stingray plus the word turtle.

"She called HR because she thought I was writing notes about her in my notebook. She said that horribly drawn stingray plus the word turtle meant that I want to punch her in the face because she is slow like a turtle. Definitely a reach. I didn't get in trouble, I was just told by my boss that I'm not allowed to talk about turtles anymore in case it upsets her. I rarely talk about turtles, so this isn't really a problem for me.”

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