While the majority of workplace killings are either employees who kill their bosses, or commit a mass killing of their fellow workers, a few times bosses have given their employees the ultimate bad performance review - death. Many of the documented instances of employees killed by bosses are from other countries, so details on the cases and their outcomes are sketchy. But what we know is usually horrifying.
There's the Russian railroad supervisor who crushed a tardy employee with a sledgehammer, the Japanese fish wholesaler who beat an underling to death, the South African boss who shot a man for demanding withheld wages, and the electrician from the Virgin Islands who had to kill an employee charging at him with a machete. Of course, these killings happen in the US too - or are foiled by the sheer stupidity of those involved.Here are known cases where a boss has killed an employee, or attempted to.
The Dress Shop Owner Who Tried to Rob His Seamstress - and Shot Her DaughterPhoto: AdamsGuns / Wikimedia Commons
In 1978, Brooklyn dress factory owner Frank Dichiara learned that one of his seamstresses, Eleanor Zurlo, had $140,000 in the bank as her life savings - equivalent to $580,000 in current dollars. Dichiara managed to convince Zurlo to withdraw the money and keep it in cash, so she could invest it in "good deals" that came along. The whole time, he planned to rob her. He waited until her musician husband was gone, then broke into her apartment to steal the cash.Sadly, the couple's 13-year-old-daughter walked in unexpectedly, having gotten out of school early. Dichiara panicked and shot her four times, killing her. The girl didn't die right away, and instead told police as she was dying that her mother's boss shot her. Dichiara was immediately arrested, found guilty, and was sentenced to life in prison. He was released in 2007.Is this the worst?
A Russian Railways Supervisor Kills a Tardy Employee with a SledgehammerPhoto: Medjai / Wikimedia CommonsWhile the details are sparse, the crime is brutal: a supervisor for a remote Russian railroad station employee took a sledgehammer to the head of the man when he showed up 30 minutes late for his shift. The two appeared to have argued, and when the employee talked back one too many times, he took a hammer upside the head. The employee died, and the supervisor faced a long prison term.Is this the worst?
The Brooklyn Gas Station Kingpin Who Murdered at Least Two Employees
Since coming to America from India in 1984, Gurmeet Singh Dhinsa built a multi-million dollar empire of gas stations in Brooklyn, and he did it the old-fashioned way: cheating the government, intimidating and attacking competitors, and murdering people. In 1997, he was arrested on a slew of fraud, tax evasion, and murder charges - specifically that he had at least two former employees killed.Dhinsa had already served multiple prison stints on weapons charges and fraud, but the law came down on him hard for ordering a hit on an employee he thought was stealing from him, and another whom he suspected of cooperating with the government in the prosecution of Dhinsa's brother in a different murder case. Not only that, but Dhinsa was accused of killing THAT employee's brother, who had traveled from India to investigate his brother's death. He was found guilty, sentenced to life in prison, and had his assets seized to cover the millions of dollars in fines he was forced to pay.Is this the worst?
The Boss Who Accidentally Called the Employee He Was Plotting to KillPhoto: Craighead County Sheriff's DepartmentArkansas used car dealer Larry Barnett owed a former employee a lot of money. While working out a payment plan would have been the sensible thing to do, Barnett went another way, calling a local hit man to take out the employee. Somehow, while the two were conversing about how best to kill the man, Barnett accidentally called the guy - who heard his own murder being plotted out. The man was understandably freaked out, and called the police, who immediately arrested Barnett. And it's a good thing the man took action, because he returned home to find that someone had tampered with his gas stove.Is this the worst?