6 Insane Ways Companies Screw Over Their Employees
Traditionally, when a company finds a bad apple in the employee bushel, that apple will return from a long lunch to find all of its shit in a cardboard box. But that's not always the solution (and severance packages are spendy), and companies love finding new cruel and unusual methods of correcting employee behavior. For example ...
Amazon's Dystopian Theft Boards
Of all the ways to get fired, from pooping in all the cash registers to using the office coffee pot as a makeshift distillery, theft is definitely the most common (and boring) one. Amazon warehouses are filled year-round with more goodies than a North Pole workshop on December 24th, so it's no wonder that a lot of Amazon elves help themselves to company stockings. But unlike Santa, Amazon has no qualms about publishing their naughty list for all to see.
All of Santa's drones have elf-seeking missiles.
To curb its massive theft problem, Amazon has taken a rather dystopian approach, using electronic billboards to keep warehouse staff updated on all the recent theft firings. This, by the way, is on top of the 90-second frisk all employees have to endure every time they enter or leave the warehouse. Like digital stockades, the daily flashes of caught office thieves is a not-so-subtle reminder to all remaining employees to keep those Kindles out of their backpacks.
Jeff Bezos is the kind of boss who will make you famous for every wrong reason imaginable.
Not that Amazon would be stupid enough to actually name and shame their now-ex-employees. They prefer to use the less-actionable types of invasion of privacy. Amazon makes sure never to show the faces of the perpetrators or reveal their names, though that could also be because the corporate monolith never bothered to learn them in the first place. The monitors air silhouettes with the word "Terminated" emblazoned across the shadowy figures, in some kind of weird Hunger Games ripoff with lower stakes and more off-market denim jeans. In some very special cases, "Terminated" is swapped out for "Arrested," just to keep people on their toes.
Florida's Climatologists Aren't Allowed To Use The Words "Climate Change"
Everyone who has ever worked in an office knows that it's best to avoid discussing controversial subjects with your colleagues, or else risk getting your inbox flooded by a bunch of poorly researched emails about child vaccination from Janice down in Accounting. Still, regardless of whether you believe climate change exists or not, you'd think it would be something to occasionally bring up when protecting the environment is in your job description. Unless you're in the Florida government, because in Florida, every day is Opposite Day.
The Environmental Protection Agency's entire purpose is to create laws to protect human health and the environment. Their branch in Florida, however, is currently not allowed to mention climate change in any of their communications. The department took a big right turn under their latest governor Rick Scott, a man who looks and acts like a robot wearing its former master's skin. When the Republican became governor in 2011, he installed a new Department of Environmental Protection director, and soon thereafter new orders started circulating instructing all employees to stop going on about this dubious theory of climate change. Phrases like "climate change" and "global warming" were strictly erased from their lexicon, as if saying them three times in a row would summon a crazed Al Gore wielding a solar-powered chainsaw.
"That Rick Scott is out there! It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with.
It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until we are all drowned."
Despite the fact that numerous employees say otherwise, officials claim no such policy ever existed. They also definitely didn't force an employee to leave (i.e. fired his ass) because he had referenced the topic in his official notes on a meeting in which they discussed that exact topic. Only in Florida would the agency tasked with fighting global warming pretend like they're not forcing their employees to pretend that global warming isn't real. It's the Russian nesting doll of climate change denial.
The reprimander was then reprimanded for using "climate change" in their reprimand,
and THEIR reprimander was reprimanded for doing the same, and THEIR --
Florida is the U.S. state suffering the most from global warming, so here's hoping it has a change of heart (and governor) before it gets swallowed up by the ocean and becomes Atlantis for meth heads.
American Automobile Factories Don't Allow Parking Of Foreign Cars
Ever since Saint Henry of Ford drove out the horses, the U.S. has been going from 0 to 60 every chance it gets. Given the nation's deep love of the open road, American automobile manufacturers take great pride in their cars, even though they really, really shouldn't. To these companies, it only makes sense that every one of their employees should drive their clearly superior product. And those who don't should be punished.
It's not quite the discrimination Henry Ford would've wanted, but it'll do.
It all started with one small factory in Michigan which thought that pushing employees to purchase their own products would improve revenue. If people saw nothing but Ford cars in the Ford parking lot, it would prove that the cars are superior to the competition -- never mind all those "Ford Cars Only" signs. The insidious idea quickly spread across the company like wildfire. Not long after, all of the manufacturer's best parking lots were reserved for their own kind, making it clear to all those foreign car drivers to go back where they came from.
"Next stop, segregated gas pumps."
If they did, the employee could have their car fined or even booted. Ford didn't remain alone for long. Soon after, Chrysler and GM adopted the same race-ist policy. The foreign car parking zones even received their own name: "competitive lots." It's exactly how American car manufacturers like their competition: nowhere near their shitty cars. So now, even when they leave the comfort of their beautifully engineered vehicles, these rogue employees are easy to spot from the sweat stains after their long hike.
Company cars: mandatory. Proper spelling: optional.
Whole Foods Has All Seven Circles Of Employee Hell
Whole Foods is nothing if not dedicated to consistency. That's why every branch looks the same, smells the same, and speaks the same. Though billed as the promised land for the more discerning, progressive shopper, the chain has the same kind of grimy corporate structure as any other huge business. This means that things like diversity and equal opportunity, unlike their mangy-looking vegetables, don't occur organically at Whole Foods.
Unbeknownst to most, on the back of the United States Constitution is an embroidered picture of Ted Nugent and the phrase "Learn American," which must be why Whole Foods felt they needed to forbid two Spanish-speaking employees from using anything other than English while on the job. In New Mexico. The management later explained that this was so their monolingual co-workers didn't feel left out of the conversation -- because we're all giant preschoolers nowadays, apparently. When the employees wrote a letter to complain about this, they were summarily suspended, since injustice is the same in every language. Then, when the story came out and the boycotts started flying, the company naturally blamed the entire incident on the offending store, claiming that the managers went against policy. Ten days later, Whole Foods announced that, after careful consideration, they had revised their policy to, well, exactly what the managers had told the Hispanic employees in the first place, but worded with enough ambiguity that they couldn't get sued for it.
She should've really stuck it to those assholes by demanding quince dolares por hora.
Whole Foods' iron-tight grip over their employees' lives doesn't stop at what comes out of their mouths, though. The company has a few more ways in which it likes to punish anyone different. In an epically boner move, they decided that they needed to reward their healthiest employees for setting the right example. This seemingly well-intentioned plan went all Hitler when CEO John Mackey decided to offer bigger employee discounts based on their BMI, which means no cheaper health food if you're chronically overweight or disabled. Turns out there's one kind of genetic engineering Whole Foods is perfectly fine with, and it's eugenics.
"Stay thin by eating only the finest of organic, locally-sourced bullshit I feed you."
But just because the Whole Foods deck is stacked in favor of (and by) all-American fitness nuts doesn't mean that other kinds of people are prohibited from joining up, right? Wrong. For the sake of teamwork and cohesion, every new hire gets a trial run, at the end of which their co-workers get to vote on whether or not they get to stay. Nothing screams "equal opportunity" like turning your hiring process in a popularity contest run by the cast of Mean Girls.
Sony Sends Employees To Boring Purgatory
There isn't much left in an employee's life that hasn't come under company scrutiny. Sony understands this. They see the need for employee autonomy. They feel you, bro. When Sony isn't happy with an employee's performance, they don't crack down with insidious threats and borderline illegal tactics. In Japan, they simply put them in a separate room and let them do whatever the hell they damn well please. Until they beg Sony to make it stop.
"I'm so sick of getting paid to masturbate. Please micromanage me again!"
Sony's banished employees report to an empty room where the only entertainment options are newspapers and the internet, with the occasional college textbook thrown in. Workers can choose what they do throughout the day, surfing from website to website however they see fit, before filling out a log detailing their daily actions. Like an evil genie, Sony gives the banished employee what they want (being a lazy, lazy worker) and then turns it against them in the hopes that confronting bad employees with the vast emptiness of their existence will drive them to work harder.
One worker's nightmare scenario is another's dream job.
Not that Sony would mind some old-fashioned bully tactics; they're just not allowed to. Labor laws in Japan are much stricter than in other parts of the world. It's often almost impossible to punish or fire employees, especially long-term ones. So because they can't wave around a big stick, they've decided to go the other route and make bad employees choke on their carrots. This means forcing employees into an endless vortex of procrastination, with every day filled with nothing but browsing through endless humorous fact-based lists. The horror.
Bill Gates Punished Bad Employees With An Idiotic Dog Project
According to billionaires and stalkers, success lies in perseverance. Whatever you're doing, it's not enough. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and enough charities to get away with a few murders, knows this better than most, as he founded his entire empire on making his employees feel so inadequate that they had no choice but to improve.
Back in the day, to ensure his employees were always on the ball, Gates would take the time to memorize every single license plate on his parking lot, along with who each vehicle belonged to. That way, he could carefully monitor the comings and goings of everyone in the office. The only reason he stopped the creepy practice was that Microsoft became so large that even a classic nerd like Gates couldn't keep all those numbers straight.
"My employees may never, ever go home, but at least their spouses will have a computer to keep them company."
Remembering who goes on long lunches is only one part of the process, so now Gates needed to find a way to punish these lax employees. In the early '90s, when Microsoft was deep in the Windows 95 creation crunch, they needed a new trick to ensure their developers consistently performed at high standards.
Rather than firing underperformers, Microsoft reassigned them to a little-known CD-ROM project called Microsoft Dogs. The project was ambitiously pointless, with developers meticulously gathering facts on the proper methods of feeding and caring for over 500 different breeds of dogs. It was the company's dunce cap. It was considered so unimportant and boring that they could threaten developers with the work as an extra bit of motivation. But what of the workers who didn't get shamed into working harder by this doggy detention? We're not sure what Microsoft did to motivate them, but we get the feeling it involved a rolled-up newspaper.
"Eh, still better than working on Windows ME."
Carolyn sometimes tweets cat videos on Twitter.
For more instances of corporations being asshats, check out 5 Stories That Will Change Your Opinion Of Famous Companies and 5 Spectacularly Crazy Meltdowns By CEOs Of Major Companies.
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