Whose Side Are You On? 15 Controversial Work Stories That Split The Internet

List Rules
Vote up the stories where you side with the original poster.

Working hard or hardly working? Either way, there's definitely going to be some drama. We found some of the most controversial work stories that made us pick a side and it was harder than expected. Do you agree with the original poster? Make sure to vote down below.

  • 1. Employee Calls Out New Colleague For Lying About Their Language Skills

    From Redditor u/throw_friescountry:

    Last week a new colleague "Cathy" (33f) started at my (25f) work place. She instantly stood out in the team, because she seems like someone who is very... loud and assertive? Two of my colleagues, me and Cathy were having coffee in the break room (we were the only ones in there and we were sitting far apart), when the subject of travel was brought up. My colleague said she wasn't booking trips anymore because it'll probably get cancelled because of covid anyway. Cathy, immediately cut in about how sad she is because she travels so often and she goes on these far "exotic" trips to Europe as her hobby. When I think exotic I think the Bahamas or something instead of Europe but. Cool.

    Cathy then jokes about how all this "no travel business" is making her fear that she'll lose some of her foreign language skills. I asked what languages she spoke. She claimed to be fluent in 3 European languages, among which were French and Dutch. Cathy said she was "at a native speaker level" and went on about how people in Europe were always surprised when they found out she wasn't from there.

    I was excited, because I never get to speak Dutch over here. I was raised in Belgium, which has three national languages: French and Dutch (which are my mother tongues and the most commonly spoken there) and German. It's quite common to be pretty fluent in at least two out of the three languages in Belgium, because you're required to learn them at school (along with English) from a young age. I told Cathy "oh leuk, dan hebben we iets gemeenschappelijk!" ("oh fun, we have something in common then!")

    She immediately pulled this sour face and asked me if that was supposed to be Dutch. I said yes. She laughed awkwardly and said she "couldn't understand because I have a terrible accent and must not be that good at speaking it." Now see, I don't have an accent. I speak Dutch more fluently than I speak English. I told Cathy that I grew up speaking Dutch and speak it to my family all the time.

    She got miffed and asked what languages I speak and where I'm from. I told her I'm from Belgium, so I also speak French and I added "which you just said you speak as well, cool! We can speak French instead!" I acknowledge that I was a bit of a d*ck here, because by that point I knew she probably lied about speaking French as well. She then shoved her chair back and angrily got up, said "whatever" and stomped off. It was awkward. My other colleagues just kinda shrugged and said she shouldn't have lied.

    However, she later approached me and told me I embarrassed her by acting "superior" about my European heritage. I told her there was no way for me to know she'd lied about speaking those languages. She rolled her eyes and told me I was immature. A colleague told me that Cathy had called me a "little b-word who enjoys bullying new colleagues" behind my back later. I don't think I was a bully at all, but I don't want this to turn into a huge thing. Do I just apologize to keep the peace? AITA?


    Edit1: I'm not sure about escalating this to HR, which a lot of people have told me I have to do. I feel like this might make me look immature to the rest of my colleagues (of which I am the youngest) and it might not need to go that far... It depends on if Cathy is willing to put this behind her and be professional. If all else fails I do have "witnesses" who would be honest about what happened, so I think I might be in the clear if she tries to twist the story.

    Edit2: Some people have taken offense to me giving the Bahamas as an example of an "exotic" place and are trying to make this into a race issue. I didn't know "exotic" was an offensive term in the US. Do I think of The Netherlands, Belgium, England, Norway, which were countries she was describing as being faraway exotic destinations, as my idea of an exotic trip? No. Not because there's a lot of white people there, but because when I think of exotic I think of a place with nice sunny weather, white sand beaches and a blue ocean. Maybe it's because I'm from Belgium, but I don't really feel like being in my home country where it's dark and rainy all the time is quite that experience.

    Edit3: Some people think she might not have understood me because she is fluent in Dutch, but learned it in the Netherlands, which has different accents. While it is true that The Netherlands and Flandres have different accents, I didn't speak a very specific dialect like West-Flemish or something. I spoke the general Dutch you'd see in the news in Flandres. I didn't speak quickly to try and make it incomprehensible to set her up. I genuinely believed she spoke Dutch because that's what she was saying, so I talked to her in normal, conversational Dutch. The same kind of Dutch I'd use in a work environment back in my home country, the same kind of Dutch I use with friends from The Netherlands. (But with a soft "g" lol.)

  • 2. Employee Responds To Customer's Rude Comment In The Language They Were Speaking In Front Of Them

    From Redditor u/ditchthatdutch:

    I'm a slave to the siren (a Starbucks barista). I'm pretty decent with most customers and I'm pretty good at having convos with customers and sensing when someone just wants the line moved forward.

    Anyway, I was on register the other day, taking people's orders. Two older men were ordering from me. One of them said "a coffee, black", so I just asked to clarify the size he wanted and the roast (blonde, medium or dark) to which he first spoke to his friend and said, rudely

    "Nou zeg, niet de slimste meid die hier werkt, hè? Ze zouden en beetje kunnen leeren om hun hersenen te gebruiken"

    Which is Dutch and translates roughly to

    "Wow, (this is) not the smartest gal that works here, huh? They could learn to use their brains a little"

    Then he told me he wanted a medium dark roast. So I nodded and then replied to him in Dutch, asking him the regular questions I would to complete an order (anything else to eat or drink today?, What was your name for your other drinks? Do you have a Starbucks rewards card?). I was perfectly pleasant and smiley for the rest of the transaction but just conducted it in Dutch.

    He answered the questions in English but his eyes were bulging out of his head. His friend looked kind of worried but burst out laughing when they walked away.

    I realize it might not be the best look for someone in service, and when my coworker asked me what it was about and I explained, she seemed kinda confused as to why I would do that.

    I don't think it was an *sshole move because I was still nice to the guy but I definitely called him out and made it clear to him that I'd understood the stuff he was saying. But maybe I shouldn't have because of the position I was in at the time (like customer service?)



  • 3. Son Leaves Family Business After His Dad Gave Ownership To His Brother

    From Redditor u/throwaway____27:

    My older brother (30M) went to university and then worked in the city as an accountant, I (27M) started to work for my dad as a plumber at 15 and went to college to get my qualifications in plumbing and gas, about the time covid started my brother moved back from the city and started working for my dad (55M) in accounting, my dad has been unwell for the last 4 years due to asbestosis it has been really hard on the family and he is getting worse but is still loving life.

    I have been running the business for the last 2 years we have expanded and now have 50 vans in the fleet and one qualified and one trainee allocated to each van, covid was hard in the beginning but we have bounced back, my dad still works on tools with me on Fridays (half day then back to my place for some beers), Friday is the only day I’m on tools now as I’m doing everything to run the business.

    well last month he told the family he is stepping down from the business due to health and wants to spend more time with my mother, and is giving the business to my brother and for me to step down from acting CEO, this upset me iv been with the business for 12 years, at the beginning it was only me and my dad my brother never wanted to be in the business said it was not worth his time and now he’s the boss, and iv been dumped back to a heating engineer with a £20,000 pay cut, he doesn’t have any clue what we do or how to do it.

    I spoke to my dad and he told me that my brother deserve it for all he has done, that he has a family and I don’t and that he went to uni , a lot of the workers are upset about the decision and have told me they will go where I go.

    I told my dad that if that is how he feels then I will leave and start my own business I have not spoke to my dad or brother since and have told them to never contact me, for the last month Iv had thousands of calls and messages from family saying some very hurtful things and telling me I’m ungrateful for what I have so AITA???

  • 4. Job Candidate's Mom Comes Into A Job Interview To Introduce Herself

    From Redditor u/apartmentroublee:

    I am a hiring manager at a tech company and I was hiring for summer internships a little while ago.

    We had a guy, about 19 years old, applying for a summer internship between his freshman and sophomore years of college. It was a virtual interview over Zoom because of covid.

    A minute or two in, when I was introducing myself, his mom came in and introduced herself and started talking about her son's work ethic. I thought it was a little strange. I said something polite about wanting to hear from him.

    She just didn't get the hint and kept coming into camera frame during the interview and interrupting her son to answer questions for him. I asked a few technical questions which he seemed to answer well and then cut the interview fairly short.

    I thought that was all over and done with until I'd gotten an email from a woman, a month later, asking about her son's application, she seemed offended he hadn't gotten an acceptance or rejection.

    It bothered me, I felt bad for the kid honestly. Wayyy back when I was a teenager, my mom used to pull the same sh*t, but luckily she only did that when I was 15 and working for a day-camp, not when I was an adult applying for engineering jobs. But I felt like this poor kid was getting his chances ruined because his mom wasn't giving him the chance to apply on his own.

    I sent an email back saying I was not at liberty to send information about an application to anybody but the applicant. I also asked HR to send an email to the kid saying sorry but we were not making him an offer. (It is something we usually do, but his rejection email must have slipped through the cracks with all the Covid craziness.)

    Anyway, after we sent that, I got a phone call from his mom, she had a forwarded copy of the email, and she was demanding answers.

    I said that I could not comment on the guy's performance in the interview to her as she was not the applicant. If he wanted to reach out to me I was happy to give him some feedback.

    However, I could say that regardless of his performance, her presence in the interview took him out of consideration for the position. We were looking for an independent and self-driven person for the position, and for that reason, it is important to see an applicant speak for themselves, follow-up themselves, etc.

    I also said that, as a piece of advice, every hiring manager I've met in my career who sees someone other than the applicant answering questions during an interview, following up on the applicant's behalf, etc... Would also put their resume in the "do not hire" pile. Since, while the applicant may be skilled and motivated, they need the ability to demonstrate those traits themselves.

    She f*cking blew up at me over that, kinda cussing me out to the point where I hung up.

    AITA for how I handled this? Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut way earlier

  • 5. Employee Embarasses Notorious Lunch Thief At Work

    From Redditor u/Steelsnapdragon:

    So pretty much the title, I don't think I am the A but I've been getting some flack for it so I really want to clear this up.

    So I started a new job recently I work in small studio, there are several others in the building, think open plan office with sections assigned to each studio. The person I had an altercation with doesn't work for my studio just FYI.

    I eat lunch at 1ish and most people eat at 12. I came down ealry to eat at 12, I made coffee and while at the counter noticed my tuppaware in the sink, empty.

    Imagine my surprise when I turned around and saw a man I didn't know sitting down at the table with my food on his plate. He had just stuck it in the microwave. Acting rashly since I was mad, I sat down next to him and said 'hey that looks good, mind if I try it?' Then before waiting for an answer I yanked the plate away from him and snatched his fork out his hand, he just blinked in shock as did the other people there as I started eating.

    He then, quite loudly, asked what I thought I was doing and I replied 'huh you know this was actually much better when I first cooked it, it probably lost some flavor in the fridge.' he caught on quickly that it was it was my food and went a lil red. I then asked him where he got the gall to steal someone else's lunch and then ask them what they were doing when they took it back.

    He stuttered out some nonsense about not knowing it was mine and I replied well you knew it wasn't yours right? He just mumbled something like an apology and I said that's no problem it was nice he'd warmed it up for me at least, in an admittedly b*tchy tone, and then he just got up and left and the people there just stared in silence. 2 of the silent watchers, maybe his mates idk, told me that I was rude to him and that there had been nicer ways to go about it. I told them to think how they'd feel if someone ate their food before saying they should focus on their lunch and I'll focus on mine.

    Well it's been a little awkward at lunch since and I have the impression a few people are talking sh*te about me at work now, maybe I could've been nicer sure. I still don't think I was wrong but tell me reddit AITA

    Tldr lunchthief tried to eat my food in front of me I took it back and embarrassed him in front of his colleagues.

    Edit: Okay this blew up, just wanted to drop an edit on here to say thank you so much for all the comments, support and awards it's great to know I wasn't completely overreacting. Maybe I shoudl chat tp some people and see if the food thief has struck before will update then if yall are interested.

    Otherwise additional info, I saw some comments saying I should go to hr but my studio doesn't have hr and the perp doesn't work for the same place, we do have a defacto office manager but I don't want to take it any further since I'm still new here and on probation/think my reaction might have been enough.

    Update: So not sure if anyone wanted an update but I finally found out from a a new friend at work that yes the lunch thief has struck before! Apparently everyone wrote their names on their lunch to combat this, and the thief then targeted unmarked lunch or lunch items, guess no one told me ha.

    People apparently starting being petty and standoff-ish to the thief since and he blames me for that lol. Also according to my new friend most were actually very pleased that the thief was finally identified/dealt with.

    I was assured that besides the thief in question and his cronies no one thought I was being a b*tch. However, not knowing much about me, assumed I was a very serious or clique-y person from my reaction, which I mean fair, I dress very professionally when most of the office dresses quite casual which probably added to that (think high heels, blouse and skirt VS shorts, graphic tee and slops). I've started to come down to lunch earlier to chat to some people and the office seems to be warming up to me.

    So not a drama filled update but I'm very happy things turned out so well and my reputation with my colleagues is off to a good start, thanks again for all of the comments and support think this will be final edit slash update too, thanks reddit :)

  • 6. Manager Gives Their Employee The Option Between Demotion And Termination

    From Redditor u/Absolut_Failure:

    I own a vape shop. We're a small business, only 12 employees.

    One of my employees, Peggy, was supposed to open yesterday. Peggy has recently been promoted to Manager, after 2 solid years of good work as a cashier. I really thought she could handle the responsibility.

    So, I wake up, 3 hours after the place should be open, and I have 22 notifications on the store Facebook page. Customers have been trying to come shop, but the store is closed. Employees are showing up to work, but they're locked out.

    I call Peggy, and get no response. I text her, same thing. So I go in and open the store. An hour before her shift was supposed to be over, she calls me back.

    I ask her if she's ok, and she says she needed to "take a mental health day and do some self-care". I'm still pretty p*ssed at this point, but I'm trying to be understanding, as I know how important mental health can be. So I ask her why she didn't call me as soon as she knew she needed the day off. Her response: "I didn't have enough spoons in my drawer for that.".

    Frankly, IDK what that means. But it seems to me like she's saying she cannot be trusted to handle the responsibility of opening the store in the AM.

    So I told her that she had two choices:

    Go back to her old position, with her old pay.

    I fire her completely.

    She's calling me all sorts of "-ist" now, and says I'm discriminating against her due to her poor mental health and her gender.

    None of this would have been a problem if she simply took 2 minutes to call out. I would have got up and opened the store on time. But this no-call/no-show sh*t is not the way to run a successful business.

    I think I might be the AH here, because I am taking away her promotion over something she really had no control over.

    But at the same time, she really could have called me.