News & Politics

These Are the Worst Bosses in Washington

Employees reveal bad boss horror stories.

Illustration by Mark Matcho.

A Gallup poll of more than 7,200 adults found that about half had left a job at some point “to get away from their manager.” We asked the nearly 10,000 area employees who filled out our Great Places to Work survey if they’d ever encountered a bad boss.

These tales stood out:

“I once had a boss call me on the first day of my ten-day vacation to tell me she’d screwed up something and couldn’t tell the board of directors, so had blamed me. She followed up by saying I might be let go when I got back.”

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“An old boss asked me to tell his wife the lipstick she found in his car was mine. I said no.”

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“I once worked for an attorney who, when he got angry, told employees to get down on their knees and pluck staples out of the carpet.”

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“A colleague was asked by her boss to come into his office to remove a splinter from his foot.”

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“I had a boss who hid fish and old food in people’s desks for a laugh.”

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“My sister worked for a company in Northern Virginia that required women to wear heels. She wore flats one day due to foot pain and was told flats weren’t acceptable footwear for a woman in the office.”

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“I gave my boss two weeks’ notice in the morning. When I returned from lunch, my whole cubicle was taken apart.”

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“An old client would fire anyone who used their phone in front of him. Whether to check the time, check a text message, anything. He became known as the phone Nazi.”

This article appears in our November 2015 issue of Washingtonian.

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