Ratting Out Colleagues, Withholding Pay—These Were the Worst Bosses of 2021

Working is sadly an inevitable part of life, but whether you work in an office or retail, one thing unites all staff—a boss.

Everyone has heard horror stories of overbearing management, inept CEOs and rude supervisors. Not being able to vent about their despotic superiors at work has led people to turn to the internet instead.

We've rounded up the most harrowing tales of 2021, from stifling workplace culture to bizarre rules.

Sign Telling Workers 'No Time Off Requests Will Be Accepted' Over Christmas Sparks Outrage

Everyone wants to be off over the holidays, although in some industries it can be trickier than others.

But one workplace snuffed out any hope of vacation time in winter, after they put up a sign saying: "No time off requests will be accepted from November 20, 2021 until January 2, 2022."

A snap of the note was shared to Twitter by @Progressive_RN, where it amassed more than 279,000 likes.

"This is sure to help morale & staff retention," they wrote.

Man Quits His Job With Epic 'Have a Good Life' Text and People Are Impressed

Most of us dream of giving our bosses a piece of our mind, and that's exactly what one man did when he quit.

@Hestolemysmile shared a post to Reddit, which was among the most upvoted in all of 2021 with 270,000 votes.

A boss grilled a worker over why he was sitting down for the entirety of his shift at a fulfillment center, despite him getting first place for the day.

After being texted on his day off, and revealing he was sitting due to a broken foot, the worker quit and told his boss: "Have a good life."

Worker Praised for Quitting after Boss Tried to Make Him Work Thanksgiving and Christmas

Another owner, John, also decided to try and make their staff work not only Thanksgiving, but also Christmas Eve and December 25.

Unimpressed worker, Brandon, shared a text chain to Reddit under the username Frenzzzykid, where John told them to come into work after "Sarah" unexpectedly quit.

The boss wrote: "I'm not asking you to come in. I'm telling you that you have to."

That didn't go down well with John, who replied "I quit" along with a thumbs-up emoji.

Sign Offering Workers $20 to Rat Out Colleagues Eating on Shift Sparks Fury

Divide and conquer has long been a strategy of leaders from wars to governments, and it seems one workplace tried to implement the same tactic.

One worker revealed their management had installed signs encouraging staff to rat on their colleagues, believed to be at a grocery store in Texas, for $20.

Redditor 1poundbookingfee shared a snap of the sign to the site, which said: "Warning! All employees must not eat during work hours.

"Receive a $20 reward if you catch an employee eating during work hours. Employees with three warnings will be laid off with no exceptions."

Internet Slams Boss Who Gave Worker Greasy Box of 'Random' Items As Leaving Gift

Thankfully this woman never has to speak to her boss again, which is lucky after they they sent her a paltry leaving gift.

After four years at a company, Redditor Dyne-nine shared a snap of a box filled with mini pretzels, various snack bars, a plastic figurine, a miniature hand sanitizer and a small moisturizer.

Her post amassed more than 23,000 upvotes, as she wrote: "I left my old job after 4 years, they sent me this."

A note with the box said: "We appreciate all your hard work and wanted to send you some healthy, tasty treats! Enjoy!"

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Staff Asked By Boss to Stop Eating Hot Breakfast at Work, and People Agree

Everyone knows the rules of office etiquette, which is don't microwave fish, or eggs, in the communal kitchen.

But rather than asking her to switch to cold or ready-to-go food, a manager took a worker aside and simply told her she was no longer allowed to heat up food.

"All of a sudden my line manager took me aside and said 'it had been noticed' that I was heating up my breakfast and that I was no longer to do this as it was in work time, that the microwave and toaster were only for lunch breaks, unless I decided to split my break over both," the worker posted to Reddit.

They fumed: "This seems ridiculous to me as it takes max 5 minutes and I then bring it back to eat at my desk whilst working."

Employee Shares Perfect Comeback After Bosses Try to Withhold Pay for Finishing Early

Clocking in and out is how most people get paid, and every second counts. But one manager decided to threaten staff with no pay if workers clocked out early.

Redditor ClayShooter262 uploaded a letter posted in the workplace, which says: "Attention all employees. You are only allowed to clock in five minutes early. Closers: You know that our store closes at 11 p.m.

"If you clock out anytime before 11 p.m., I will not be approving payroll and will send it to home office and you can explain why you didn't follow store expectations."

They dutifully responded with their own letter, as they threw the book at management, saying: "To whom it may concern, withholding pay without a legal mandate and / or with the intent to punish employees is illegal under the United States Fair Labor Standards Act."

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Woman Leaves Job With Note Saying 'I Quit,' Claiming She'd Be Treated Better at McDonald's

This worker also wrote their own letter to their boss, claiming they'd be "treated better at McDonald's."

A hotel guest shared a snap to Reddit after finding the letter, from Milly, on the front desk.

Milly raged: "I have worked my tail off working doubles, coming in on my days off to do social, cleaning rooms, folding laundry, preparing breakfast, all while watching the Front Desk as well... Just for you to offer no explanation as to why a new manager was hired and I wasn't even considered?

"In conclusion, I QUIT."

Boss Demanding Worker to Hide Her Cat While on Zoom Sparks Debate

As many of us began working from home due to the pandemic, pets and children became a common sight on our Zoom calls.

But one boss was so incensed at the sight of a cat, she banned staff from having their cats visible during the call.

A post shared to Reddit's popular Anti-Work forum, by AutoimmuneDisaster, explained the most senior person in a video call "freaked out" after spotting the feline.

"After the meeting, her boss calls her and instructs her to put the cat away before meetings so the big boss doesn't have to see the cat," the worker's partner revealed.

Worker Praised Over Petty Revenge on Boss Who Made Him Ask to Use Bathroom

One man, claiming to be a former Air Force worker, regaled the internet with his story of revenge on a boss who micro-managed him.

Posting to Reddit under WaveLindsay, he revealed he got berated for leaving his desk to use the bathroom, without informing his superiors.

"You need to be at your desk at all times, and when you're not, you need to let me know," the boss said.

He followed the order to the letter, saying: "Every bathroom break. Every drink from the water fountain. I even notified her I was leaving my desk to come talk to her after she told me to come talk to her. Every. Single. Time. I left my desk, she was notified." Eventually she told him to only tell her when he was going for lunch.

Fury As Manager Tells Pregnant Employee to Wait for Cover If She Goes Into Labor at Work

If using the bathroom was bad enough, one worker revealed her boss told her she had to wait for cover—when she went into labor.

Posting to Reddit's Anti-Work thread, the pregnant woman said her supervisor told her the options were: "Wait for another manager to come relieve me (which could take up to an 1hr and a half)" or "get permission to close early, get all of the customers out of the store, close the store, and then complete the 30 minutes closing procedures before leaving."

The retail worker's post amassed more than 31,000 upvotes, as she raged: "How the hell is [this] legal to try and put an employee in this position?"

File photo of angry man.
File photo of angry man. People have been sharing stories of their bad bosses all year, and we've rounded up the worst. XiXinXing/Getty Images