Worst Employees Of 2012
By Melissa Stanger and Vivian Giang
It's inevitable to have a bad day at work every once in a while, but how you choose to handle that stress can greatly affect the future of your career.
We rounded up the most horrifying tales of bad behavior in the workplace and found the most egregious, appalling employee acts that were reported in the past 12 months.
From retail to government to corporate executives, the employees on this list lied, cheated, urinated on doors, contaminated other people's food, hired prostitutes while on the job, and much worse.
1. The Secret Service agents who hired a bunch of Colombian prostitutes.
The night before President Obama's visit to Colombia last April, 10 U.S. Secret Service agents and at least eight members of the U.S. military allegedly hosted a sex party with 20 Colombian prostitutes.
After the scandal broke, several government officials, including two senior supervisors, resigned.
2. The Burger King worker who stepped into a tub of lettuce.
A Burger King employee posted a photo on 4Chan of feet stepping on a tub of lettuce with the caption "this is the lettuce you eat at Burger King."
4Chan users who saw the photo used the photo's data to track down the culprit to the Mayfield Heights, Ohio, franchise. Cleveland Scene magazine spoke to a shift manager at the location about the incident, who reportedly said, "Whoever this is is getting fired. And whoever the manager was at the time will be fired, too."
Three employees were fired over the incident, though no names were given.
3. The TSA agent who stole an iPad-and then blamed it on his wife.
After hearing reports of TSA agents stealing travelers' belongings at the airport, ABC News launched an investigation to see how extensive the problem is; they planted ten iPads at ten different airports to find out what would happen.
After two weeks, nine of the ten iPads were returned. The tenth was tracked back to the Orlando-area home of TSA agent Andy Ramirez, who first blamed his wife when he was confronted by ABC reporters and a camera crew before returning the iPad.
"I'm so embarrassed," he told ABC reporters. "My wife says she got the iPad and brought it home."
The TSA removed Ramirez from his position, and released a statement saying that they have "a zero-tolerance policy for theft and terminates any employee who is determined to have stolen from a passenger."
4. The Pizza Hut delivery driver who urinated on a customer's door.
When a Pizza Hut delivery driver in Iowa was stiffed on a tip, he decided to urinate on the customer's door, according to KCCI.
Unfortunately for him, he was caught on a security video. The delivery driver was fired after the incident, even though he later called the customer to apologize and help clean up the mess he left behind.
5. The bus driver who was filmed beating up a female passenger.
Artis Hughes, a 59-year-old Cleveland RTA bus driver, got into an argument with a 25-year-old female passenger on the bus he was driving, according to the New York Daily News.
The argument escalated, and Hughes punched the woman in the face before physically throwing her off the bus. The woman got back on the bus to punch Hughes. Passengers broke up the fight, but not before it was captured on video, which went viral on YouTube.
Hughes has since been suspended from his job.
6. The cemetery worker who stole a guitar from a casket.
Steven Conard, a 39-year-old grounds worker at a cemetery in Wisconsin, allegedly stole a cream-colored Fender Telecaster guitar from the casket of William Jourdan, an army veteran who wanted to be buried with his favorite guitar.
The $2,000 instrument was discovered missing by Jourdan's family just before Jourdan's burial chamber was sealed. A coworker of Conard's supposedly quoted Conard as saying, "That's a Telly, a really expensive guitar. I have to have that guitar. It's too expensive to be in a crypt." Conard reportedly said that stealing from the dead is not something he would normally do, but he's in a band and has a huge love of fine instruments.
Conard was taken into police custody, and in January he was convicted of stealing the guitar and sentenced to a year in jail, according to Fox News. He was also sentenced to four years probation, 240 hours of community service, and the judge ordered that he write an apology letter to the victim's family.
7. The high school teacher who was caught with 20 baggies of heroin-in a courthouse.
Damian Esteban, a teacher at Williamsburg High School of Architecture and Design, set off the metal detector in court when he was scheduled to serve jury duty.
When an officer inspected Esteban's pack of cigarettes, she found 20 baggies of heroin stuffed into the pack, according to the Daily News.
Esteban was charged with misdemeanor drug possession, served one night at a correctional center, and was sent to a one-day drug treatment program. The Daily News reported that he was also suspended from teaching duties and sent to a "rubber room"-where teachers wait to see if they will be terminated-while the Department of Education reviewed his case.
8. The JetBlue pilot who panicked mid-flight.
In March, a JetBlue flight headed to Las Vegas was in mid-air when the pilot, Capt. Clayton Frederick Osbon, reportedly began acting erratically, yelling incoherently about religion and 9/11.
Passengers and crew immediately swung into action: Osbon's co-pilot locked him out of the cockpit while passengers tackled him to the ground. The flight was rerouted to Amarillo, Texas, where Osbon was hospitalized.
Osbon was federally charged with interfering with flight crew instructions, but was found not guilty by reason of insanity in July. A forensic neuropsychologist testified that Osbon had a "brief psychotic disorder" brought on by lack of sleep, according to the AP. Osbon was released earlier this week on the condition that he not board or fly any commercial or private planes.
9. The postal worker who was caught stealing male enhancement drugs from the mail.
Stephan Brooks, a 47-year-old postal worker from Essex, England, was caught on surveillance camera opening mail and stealing the content inside, including penis enlargement pills and cash, according to the Daily Mail. This was already after his manager had caught him slicing open mail with a pen knife.
Investigators said that Brooks had allegedly taken other items from the mail as well, including sums of cash, Ray Ban sunglasses, a designer watch, cuff links, and a harmonica, according to The Telegraph.
Brooks resigned from his position with the Royal Mail.
10. The Taco Bell employee who tweeted a picture of himself urinating on a plate of nachos.
A worker at a Fort Wayne, Ind., Taco Bell allegedly tweeted a picture of himself urinating onto a plate of nachos. In his defense, he claimed the plate was going to be thrown out anyway. Taco Bell promptly identified the employee as Cameron Jankowski.
Even though Jankowski disabled his Twitter account, the photo had already been retweeted by other Twitter handles.
He was terminated by Taco Bell.
11. The high school hockey coach who quit his job after being accused of paying for sex.
In October, high school hockey coach Donald Hill stepped down from his position at Kennebunk High School when his name was released, along with 20 other men, on a list of men accused of paying a local Zumba fitness instructor for sex, according to The Associated Press.
After holding his position as head hockey coach for 14 years, Hill cited "personal reasons" as the cause of his resignation.
12. The restaurant manager who asked a gay couple to leave after they shared a kiss.
In February, Kenyata White and Aeimee Diaz were celebrating their two-year anniversary at the District American Kitchen and Wine Bar inside the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Phoenix when a manager allegedly asked them to leave-after they shared a kiss.
"It hadn't even been a minute after we spoke and the manager came up to us and said we should get a room," White told AZfamily.com. "That our behavior was inappropriate and we should leave the establishment."
The manager explained that the table near the women "didn't like" what they were seeing. It is unclear whether the manager was fired, but the restaurant had to go into full PR-crisis mode when their own Facebook page was filled with unhappy users the next day.
13. The KitchenAid employee who made an offensive joke about Obama's dead grandmother-from the company's official Twitter account.
A KitchenAid employee used the company's Twitter account to share a message during the first presidential debate this year: "Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! 'She died 3 days b4 he became president'. #nbcpolitics"
The tweet, which referred to the fact that the President's grandmother died just days before he was elected in 2008, went out to about 24,000 followers during one of the presidential debates.
KitchenAid immediately issued an apology on Twitter.
Cynthia Soledad, senior director of branding at KitchenAid, emailed Mashable with the following: "During the debate tonight, a member of our Twitter team mistakenly posted an offensive tweet from the KitchenAid handle instead of a personal handle. The tasteless joke in no way represents our values at KitchenAid, and that person won't be tweeting for us anymore."
14. The writer for The New Yorker who fabricated Bob Dylan quotes.
Jonah Lehrer, a staff writer for The New Yorker and a well-known speaker and journalist, abruptly quit his job when an article in Tablet magazine revealed that he had fabricated quotes from Bob Dylan in his best-selling book "Imagine: How Creativity Works," according to the New York Times.
Lehrer eventually admitted that he had lied about the quotes after many rounds of questioning from Tablet.
Lehrer had also been accused of "self-plagiarism," republishing large pieces of his own work to repurpose for other works. Lehrer released a statement through his publisher apologizing for his actions, and resigned from his position at The New Yorker.
15. The high school teacher who allegedly gave a student weed and had sex with him.
Erin Sayar, an English teacher at James Madison High School, was charged with statutory rape after allegedly engaging in sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old student, according to the New York Daily News.
Sayar, who was 35 at the time, was supposed to be tutoring the high school junior, but prosecutors claim that instead she gave the boy marijuana and seduced him.
The affair came out publicly when the student's girlfriend hacked into his Facebook account and found steamy messages between the two. The student, Kevin Eng, at first denied the affair, but later confessed to it.
The Daily News reported that Eng's mother is suing the city and Sayar for $10 million in damages.
16. The corporate comptroller who went on a Twitter rant aimed at his coworkers.
Stephen Burns, a comptroller at AO North America, was fired for tweeting that his work environment was "toxic" and that his co-workers were "morons," "dysfunctional," "psychotic," and "schizophrenic, according to court documents.
When Burns applied for unemployment benefits, he was denied since he violated his employer's code of conduct which indicates that "employees are to treat each other with respect, and harassment of any kind to another employee, customer or vendor would not be tolerated."
17. The Metro North train engineer who read a newspaper while operating a rush hour train.
A Metro North train conductor was caught reading a newspaper while operating a rush hour Manhattan-bound train earlier this year. The incident was captured on video and sent to NBC News.
NBC News reported that a concerned passenger aboard the train said the engineer only looked up from the paper when the bells went off.
MTA didn't release the name of the engineer, but it released a statement saying "reading anything, texting or using cell phones while operating a train is obviously not acceptable. Metro-North will take action to ensure this does not happen again."
18. The assistant manager at Family Dollar who tainted Coca-Cola bottles with laxatives.
An assistant manager at a Kansas City Family Dollar reportedly confessed to lacing two Coca-Cola bottles with 25 laxative tablets each because he wanted to play a prank on a colleague, according to The Kansas City Star.
When the contaminated bottles ended up in the store refrigerators instead, a 54-year-old customer named Barbara Nelson purchased one of the laxative-laced soda bottles, drank part of it, and was hospitalized.
Nelson said she was later contacted by Family Dollar and offered a $200 gift card as an apology. She is suing over the incident.
The two employees involved were arrested, though they have not been charged with any crime yet.
19. The Chick-fil-A cashier who mocked Asian customers by writing racist nicknames on a receipt.
A cashier at a California Chick-fil-A was dismissed last December for inappropriate and racist behavior, according to the LA Times. The cashier gave two Asian customers receipts which said "Ching" and "Chong," in reference to their ethnicities.
A friend of the two customers posted a photo of the receipts on his blog, which brought a lot of negative attention to Chick-fil-A, which issued an apology for the incident, saying that it was a "case of immaturity, failed judgment and human error." The cashier was fired.
20. The bus driver who forgot a student with Down syndrome at the back of the bus.
Last year, a school bus driver in Orland Park, Illinois, finished his morning route, returned the bus to the terminal, and parked and locked the bus. Five hours later, when he returned to begin his afternoon route, he found a 19-year-old student with Down syndrome, who had been asleep in the back of his bus.
The company contacted the school and immediately brought the student back, but still dismissed the driver, whose name was not released.
The company's regional manager said in a statement that "this occurrence is unacceptable and cannot be repeated... Bus drivers are required by law to walk the bus after completing a route, and before leaving the bus, in order to protect students and prevent this kind of incident."
21. The Chili's waitress who threatened to spit in a customer's food and face.
In June, a waitress at a Chili's in California posted an angry status update on Facebook after a customer under-tipped her: "Next time you tip me $5 on a $138 bill, don't even bother coming in cause I'll spit in your food and then in your [expletive] face you cheap bastards!!!!!!!!!"
Chili's management found out about the Facebook post and subsequently terminated the waitress. The Daily Dot reported that the woman was let go for "violating social media guidelines."
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