Top 10 craziest HR calls

Here are the ten craziest calls logged by human resource personnel working through the Pensisula Group. To protect identities, personal details have been omitted and examples are taken from across the world, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

1. Call the police?

"I've been sent photos from our Christmas party that appear to show one of my managers with his genitals on top of another employee's head. That employee is asleep. Do I need to call police, or can I just fire him?"

2. Hiding in the toilet

"Yesterday I found one of my male employees hiding in a cupboard in the female toilets, with a piece of string holding the door almost closed. He said he was having his lunch in there, but it was the middle of the afternoon, and we have a staff lunchroom. What should I do?"

3. Unexplained absence

"A few weeks ago, an employee said they needed to leave for the day, and I haven't seen or heard from them since. They're an excellent employee with exemplary attendance, so when they said they had to leave for personal reasons, I had no reason to be suspicious. Another employee has just shown me a newspaper article showing this employee was sentenced to 9 months in jail on the afternoon that they left work early. Do I need to keep their job open?"

4. Making death threats

"I've had an ongoing issue with one of my employees getting extremely angry at work. They've been sent home a few times due to behavioural issues and I'm going to have to let them go. The employee has made threats against me and other employees, and even brought a knife to work one time. How do I do this safely?"

5. Blame it on the kangaroo

"A few months ago, two of my company vehicles were involved in an accident. I've just discovered that the incident report filed after the accident was falsified. One of the people involved admitted that rather than being the result of a kangaroo strike – as stated in the report – the two vehicles hit each other. The employees had staged photos with fake kangaroo tracks and made up a story in the report to cover their mistakes. What should I do?"

6. Case of mistaken identity

"I run a realty company and one of my employees recently went out to a new client. After being buzzed into the building, a man in the lobby greeted her and she followed him to his apartment. He started acting very strangely; the employee got a bad feeling and left, with the man in pursuit. She safely got into the lift where another man said he was in fact the client who had been coming down to let her in. How do I ensure my staff are safe when working alone?"

7. Using the company vehicle

"A member of the public contacted me recently to say that one of our branded company vans had been spotted at a well-known dogging spot. People were visible inside the vehicle partaking in lewd acts. How do I address this?"

8. Deepest sympathies

"One of my employees submitted their resignation today, in a sympathy card that says 'Sorry for your loss' on the front. Do I need to accept this?"

9. What to about gang activity?

"I want to take a company car back from one of my employees as I'm concerned what they are doing with it outside working hours and have heard rumours they may be a gang target. I met with the employee, who said there's nothing to worry about as a time and place has already been arranged for them to fight each other. What are my options here?"

10. Not enamoured with polyamory

"Two of my employees are in a relationship with the same person, who also works here. There have been a few incidents in the workplace, and IT now says they've found explicit photos on a company phone. Can I fire them all?"

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Bottom line

As these calls clearly demonstrate an HR professional, "needs to be prepared for anything," says Shukulari. "Failing to invest in a proper HR function can leave a business exposed to all kinds of damage, both reputational and financial."


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Nicholas completed his master's in journalism and communications at Western University. Since then, he's worked as a reporter at the Financial Post,, Sustainable Biz Canada and more. Aside from reporting, he also has experience in web production, social media management, photography and video production. His work can also be found in the Toronto Star, Yahoo Finance Canada, Electric Autonomy Canada and Exclaim among others.


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