vote for the worst boss of 2015

We’ve read about plenty of bad bosses this year, and now it’s time to vote on the worst one of the whole year.

We’ll crown the worst boss of the year next week, based on your votes … so please vote below. (Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday night.)

{ 139 comments… read them below }

  1. Traveon*

    I thought this was going to be a pretty close vote for me but I just can’t get over the manager and HR rep who penalized the employee for not wanting to called out of her name. #WorseBossEver

    1. Not me*

      That one didn’t get my vote, but what really makes that story stand out to me is how everyone in that workplace flipped out at OP to drive them away.

      1. Ann*

        That’s why I voted for it. I know we were supposed to be voting on the boss, but the dog-friendly workplace was an absolute maelstrom of insanity. The baby-mama boss is a horrible person, but at least that situation resulted in two people getting canned (although not the boss, unfortunately) when someone higher up the chain came to their senses.

        But really, it’s a textbook “lesser of two evils” scenario.

        1. Jen S. 2.0*

          I actually didn’t vote for that crazy dog place precisely because it was the whole office, not just the boss (although the boss was bad on her merits).

          But that was really a technicality. Any one of these bosses deserves a miserable life.

        2. AssaultedByDogs*

          The boss there -promotes- that culture of mobbing. Yes, the other employees there were awful, but the boss encouraged their behavior rather than doing nothing to stop it. Just think, if the employees ever move on they’ve been taught by their dysfunctional boss that mobbing anyone who is different, even due to a health concern out of their control, is okay.

      2. Vicki*

        I don’t approve of how the co-workers reacted, but I understand it. A new employee tried to singlehandedly overturn an important aspect of the company culture.

        Try these:
        * I’m allergic to peanuts. Remove all peanut and possible peanut products from the vending machines, break rooms, and employees must not bring peanut butter in their lunches.
        * I’m allergic to scent. No one in the company can wear perfume, cologne, deodorant.
        * I’m vegan. No one can have meat products.
        * I keep kosher. The breakroom must be kept kosher from now on.
        * I have a religious issue with holidays. Everyone must stop having birthday celebrations.

        Yes, they’re getting sillier. But stop thinking about it from the “dogs at work” viewpoint and see it as “new employee wants to upend the culture”.

        1. Christina*

          Well, as was pointed out in the comments on the original and follow-up posts, the only ones that are comparable are the two allergy examples. She wasn’t asking people to not have dogs in the office simply because she didn’t like them or had a moral/religious objection to them. The dogs were negatively, measurably impacting her health.

        2. INTP*

          The new employee just wanted her health to be accommodated, though. The employer was the party that should have foreseen a potential allergy situation and clearly didn’t care enough about preserving the dog benefit to arrange the dogs or the workplace in a way that individuals with allergies could be accommodated, or even warn potential employees that dogs would be in the office. The OP said nothing to imply that she wanted to upend the culture IF she could be accommodated without doing that. All of this rage should be at the employer. This attitude is, frankly, why as horrific as the whole situation was, I was also not remotely surprised by her update letter.

        3. McAnonypants*

          Heck, it was scent issues that encouraged me to take another job instead of continuing to fight a losing battle just trying to get my work to tone down the 3 types of air fresheners in our small bathroom. But perfume, peanuts and ham sandwiches don’t pee on the floor or (generally) carry fleas.

          I love my two dogs like crazy, but a gaggle of dogs in your standard cube farm is an awful idea unless you’re going to explain the situation to every applicant- and in clear, accurate language, no ‘softening’.

          A less silly analogy, in my opinion: It’s like buying a house in a neighborhood that goes crazy all out with Halloween decorations, to the point where the street is shut down for trick or treating and you’re expected to participate if you want to feel welcomed. If a community has grown around that and it’s a positive thing for them, awesome- but it’s on that group to be clear about the situation and let people make an informed decision, since they’re the ones outside the expected ‘norms’ that an applicant (or house buyer!) would reasonably expect.

            1. McAnonypants*

              Point! My example didn’t go nearly far enough.

              (In my real-life example, the bathroom thing triggered my migraines and seizures- I had to find another building in walking distance with a public bathroom. So much sympathy for the OP on that one.)

        4. Mookie*

          Is it necessary to exaggerate what actually happened in that case?

          But stop thinking about it from the “dogs at work” viewpoint and see it as “new employee wants to upend the culture”.

          No. There is no good reason to do that, except to mock a stranger who asked Alison and the commentariat for help.

          1. Mookie*

            Also, New Employee didn’t want to do anything of the kind. New Employee would have loved if somebody had shared with her, during the screening and vetting process, that the prevailing culture had a ubiquitous doghair clause, so she could have graciously sought employment elsewhere. There’s no excuse for what that office did, both in the recruitment stage and after she’d accepted their offer and they decided to collectively shun her like a pack of colic-y, lemming babies.

        5. Callie*

          I work at an elementary school where people (faculty/staff and students) are discouraged from wearing scents, in an effort to be courteous to those who are allergic to scents. Also, we have a member of the front office staff who is allergic to pineapple, so we never bring anything with pineapple to staff potlucks and whatnot.

        6. 2horseygirls*

          The former college president was allergic to scents, so no one could have flowers on their desks or wear perfume or scented lotion.

          My husband was just terminated as executive chef/food service director of a senior living facility because the company “is going in a different direction”. Space meals? Army surplus k-rations? Who knows ….

          His replacement’s sole foodservice experience is owning a deli/sandwich shop. The replacement also keeps kosher, which means he cannot taste the food being sent out if the kitchen to an already compromised population, and he is off the grid entirely from Friday 1pm until after sundown Saturday. Bonus: Hubby got to train his replacement, who is is the owner’s cousin! :)

          My point is, the main thing I’ve learned from AAM is that employers can do a lot of ridiculous sounding things, and it’s perfectly legal.

          I felt awful for all the employees in the poll, and maybe my criteria is off center, but I voted for the sentence-writing boss. I might have missed an update from Haley, but the dog allergy employee found a better job and environment to work in, and the baby mama employee was ultimately vindicated when the HR VP and local HR rep was terminated (although the name caller should have been terminated as well, imho). Regardless of anyone’s opinion, an individual’s name is not changeable. The group review boss is an idiot, and the phone sex one was close, but the sentence boss struck a personal nerve with me. After 16 months of being gaslighted by my mostly-absentee boss, I was terminated — well, five days after I was told I was going to be terminated, I was finally actually terminated. Just one more way that ExBoss was demeaning and belittling, flat out fabricated and lied, and exhibited many of Gavin deBecker’s pre-incident indicators behaviors outlined in The Gift of Fear.

          That, to me, is the worst kind of boss.

    2. Koko*

      Yes, even though they were all awful my vote had to go for the one that was actually causing her medical problems.

    3. Lisa*

      I enjoy dog-friendly workplaces, I think the problem in that letter was “terrible boss” and “terrible culture” not the dog-friendly workplace. I know a lot of people here disagree on that point, but IMO there is room for every kind of workplace… just as many people strongly prefer dog-friendly as strongly believe what you do.

      1. MashaKasha*

        Agree! It wasn’t even as dog-friendly as they thought it was. Didn’t they have a flea infestation and still kept bringing their dogs there anyway? I remember joining a chorus of dog people saying that no one could ever make them do that to their dog. It’s not a dog-friendly workplace, it’s some kind of a jerk-friendly workplace that also happens to have dogs wandering around. I’d have nothing against a really dog-friendly workplace – would probably enjoy working at one, even though I no longer have a dog and cannot get another anytime soon – but my guess is that, in a truly dog-friendly workplace, none of what OP described would have ever happened. For starters, they would’ve told her during the interview process that the office was full of dogs, and offered a WFH option if they still wanted her on board.

        1. Lisa*

          Yeah exactly… in every successful dog-friendly workplace (Amazon, Google…) there are RULES that are Strictly Enforced about the dogs. They have dog interviews and check vaccination records, that kind of thing.

        2. Jen S. 2.0*

          It’s not a dog-friendly workplace, it’s some kind of a jerk-friendly workplace that also happens to have dogs wandering around.

          This! So much this!

      2. INTP*

        I’m fine with the existence of dog friendly workplaces, but you should 1) Tell job candidates from the first phone call that it’s a dog-friendly workplace and 2) Have a system in place to accommodate employees with allergies without penalty to their career. (Someone could discover a dog allergy after starting a job, have a child who has a severe dog allergy so they can’t bring dog hair home on their clothing, etc.) And the employees should be accountable to only bring well-behaved, potty trained, continent dogs to work. Both the workplace and the employees bringing dogs failed in this case. So it was a system that would have failed even if the boss were a nice person, but the boss and coworkers being horrible made it go out of control.

        1. 2horseygirls*

          This x 1,000! One office I worked in allowed dogs to visit (both employees and clients), which was no problem until one employee’s dog lifted his leg and urinated in a random open drawer he happened to be stopped next to, ruining all the files in the drawer. At that point, dogs had to be universally banned because employee didn’t get was the big fuss was about?!?!

    4. Sunflower*

      I didn’t vote for that one because I thought the employees were actually worse than the boss.

      I do think this company deserves some special kind of dumb reward though. I really couldn’t understand how they never thought to mention to a candidate that not only were they dog friendly, but it was pretty much a deal breaker!

      1. Sunflower*

        Also I disagree that pets don’t belong at work. There is nothing wrong with pet friendly workplaces and many of them function totally fine with allergic people working there. This place was shit because they were unwilling to make accommodations and NEVER TOLD the employee they were pet friendly.

      2. AssaultedByDogs*

        The boss was absolutely part of it. Using their position of authority, they normalized this mobbing behavior, ignored/invalidated the OP’s concerns of the mobbing while validating unfair stories about the OP being supposedly ‘yelling’ at an employee, allowed OP to be dis-included from meetings regarding the OP’s work, and gossiped about the OP behind her back (see bathroom stall incident). The boss was at least as awful as any of the individual employees, only they were in a position where they were not supposed to encourage this disgusting violence against someone with a health condition. The boss contributed significantly to a work environment where bullying the employee and harming her health was okay. It was their job to do the opposite as a leader and authority figure. Instead, they took on the role of a lead abuser.

    5. Kyrielle*

      I had to go with the dog boss because that one was being an asshat about *endangering someone’s life* but I have to admit I really wanted to go with the manager who didn’t think their employee should complain about being called a “baby mama” and all that, because that’s horribly offensive. But not actually potentially deadly.

      They’re all horrid, tho.

  2. Jenna*

    So hard to pick just one, so I went with the one that might have terrified me, personally, the most. All those situations sounded so horrible.

    1. A Non*

      Same here. They’re all awful, but most of them I would laugh and quit. The one I voted for makes me want to run away and hide.

    2. Artemesia*

      Same here. They were all awful. The last one seemed worst to me but the others were awful as well.

  3. AMG*

    Once again wishing for the imaginary world where we can present said Horrible Boss with some kind of trophy.

    1. Crissy from HR*

      I imagine a paper mache trophy made of terrible performance reviews and filled with the tears of disgruntled workers everywhere.

      But seriously, I have no idea who to chose. They’re all so mind numbingly bad.

      1. Nanc*

        I’m for a certificate version of the old Ellen DeGeneres joke about the special checks she had for paying bills:

        A dead, bloated skunk on top of a garbage dump at high noon on the hottest summer day–and they’re scratch and sniff.

        Yes–I’m old! And all bosses listed deserve said certificate.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I do email each letter-writer whose boss ended up here, so at least they get to enjoy knowing their horrible boss got the nomination, which I imagine could be satisfying.

      1. Kvaren*

        I always wonder whether these bosses ever stumble upon this blog. We know they don’t read it regularly, because they wouldn’t be such horrible bosses if they did.

        For example, maybe the dog office boss would Google “allergic to dogs in office,” on the assumption that they’ll find validity for their actions towards an employee and then find out, to their dismay, that they’re famous for being awful.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I’d almost want to leave a link to the article somewhere where a coworker could “accidentally” discover it. Like, buried deep in a file within a file within a file on a shared drive. But I would only put it there if I had given notice due to having another job lined up. If it looked as if I had just saved it there for my personal use and then, oops, coworkers discovered it after my departure . . .

          1. The Cosmic Avenger*

            Oh, subtlety is lost on horrible bosses and horrible coworkers. I’d print out 50 copies, then scatter them around the office after hours. :D

    3. Ihmmy*

      a coworker at my last job made me a certificate of recognition for the years of bs I put up with at that job. It was so terrifyingly toxic. I think I kept it too, though buried somewhere amidst the miscellaneous dreck that came home with me after my beautiful last day

    4. AW*

      Kind of like how Consumerist’s Worst Company in America gets sent the golden poo award? (Doesn’t look like they did WCIA this year.)

    1. Case of the Mondays*

      Funny, I actually thought that was the worst. The dog one doesn’t surprise me at all. It is awful but I completely would expect that from a “dog friendly” place. I also could see someone naively saying “oh, I can’t say your name right so I’m going to call you x” without realizing how awful that is. The intent there wasn’t bad, per se, it was just super ignorant. Writing something 500 times is ridiculous and not productive but not really injurious. The baby mama one was really bad too but I thought that person eventually got in trouble. Maybe I’m thinking of another update. The phone sex one just seemed so obvious that YOU CANT DO THAT. If you are working with someone who doesn’t even realize how bad that is, there is just no hope at all.

      1. Koko*

        I believe the one who wanted to change the employee’s name wasn’t because of a difficult to say name, but rather that his name was “King” and some other employee claimed it would violate her religious beliefs to call a person “King.”

        1. INTP*

          I wonder if this person also refuses to use the regular name of people named Sarah, or Regina, or Leroy, or Malik, or Raj, or Rhiannon, or any of the of the other myriad of names that are derived from words meaning Queen or King or Princess or some other variation of royalty. Or does her God only object to names that mean that in modern-day English? A monolingual god gets points for novelty, I guess.

      2. Shannon*

        I think it comes down to intent. It’s very likely that over-sharey boss would be horrified to learn how over-sharey he had been. Some of the others are just down right evil in their reactions. But, yes, you’re right. Some of these are all the more horrible because we got updates from the original LWs.

    2. Adam*

      Seriously. If I had to choose which of these knuckleheads I had to work for it would be him with no deliberation time needed. I would just use it as one more excuse as to why my life is secretly a TV sit-com. All the others are just plain rotten….

      1. Shannon*

        Yeah. Given the choice, I would work for phone sex boss with no problems. At least he’s unaware that there is an issue.

        1. Merry and Bright*

          And at least the employees can vent by having a good laugh. He is certainly Most Ridiculous Boss of the Year!

    3. Pineapple Incident*

      I know right? I sat here thinking this is totally appalling that the “best” or least horrible thing on this list is the phone sex with the door open. So crazy!

    4. esra*

      See, that’s the one I voted for because I couldn’t imagine dealing with it on a regular basis, whereas some of the others actually had an end…

  4. The Cosmic Avenger*

    I’m probably taking this much more seriously than I should, but I’ve narrowed it down to “baby mama” boss and “dog-zealous” boss. Both undermined and sabotaged their employees in very underhanded and nasty ways. Some of the others were just really misguided or plain wrong, but you might be able to talk to them or know what to expect. Because of that, it’s down to these two in my mind. And I’m leaning towards the dog-zealous office because the boss was more duplicitous and two-faced.

    1. Jerzy*

      Those were my two finalists as well, but I went with the “baby mama” guy, if only because that kind of behavior is so blatantly out-of-line, only a true neanderthal could think that was ok. The dog people, while completely obnoxious, could probably find more people who would side with them… though I certainly wouldn’t be one of them.

      I found myself wishing I could vote for both.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Right after I posted that I voted for the dog-zealous office, and I found that those two were the top two vote-getters. I agree, they’re both quite deserving! :D

      2. The Expendable Redshirt*

        Thoughts do not show up in the fossil record, but I’m willing to bet a member of species H. neanderthalensis would be more polite than “baby mama guy.”

      3. Holly*

        Those were also my two finalists and while I technically think the “baby mama” one is worse, I voted for the dogs because I assumed it would get fewer votes, and also on a personal level I absolutely HATE the idea of a dog-friendly office and even though I’m not allergic I would never work in one (so to have one sprung on me without warning would be awful).

      4. Not So NewReader*

        It’s a tough call here. I thought it was disturbing that the dog boss would allow someone to become very sick and possibly die. He seemed to fail to grasp the severity of the problem. I am amazed the boss reached the age he is at and has never heard of anyone getting ill or worse because of allergy. Then, if he could not do worse, he does! He allows a culture of blame to exist and allows OP to be the target. The story has NO end, as OP’s setting just keeps getting worse. Her coworkers behave like children and the boss is totally disconnected from what is going on. This boss should not be a boss, because he has no concept of what goes into leading people. I so want to explain to him that if you are going to be in management you must bring your brain to the table each and every day, it’s not optional.

        He gets my vote because of repeatedly dropping the ball and his failure to prioritize human health and human life.

        FWIW, my dog does not go any where near a person who has discomfort/allergy/fear. It’s just a bad mix to put two such beings together, the outcome will not be good. I thought this was common sense. Guess not.

    2. MashaKasha*

      Same here. I ended up going with the dog-zealous boss because of how she went all Regina George on the OP, for the sheer nerve of OP having dared to have a medical condition.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Yes! That is why that one bothered me the most: the boss was actively gaslighting the OP while undermining them to their coworkers!

      2. Mallory Janis Ian*

        That’s the reason I finally chose the dog-zealous boss over baby mama guy, who was my other finalist. She actively recruited OP’s coworkers to participate in bullying her.

      3. Marian the Librarian*

        Agreed! That’s why I voted for Dog-(Un)friendly Boss, too. So glad OP caught her boss in the Mean Girls act with a witness so she had ammo when she went to HR.

    3. BethRA*

      I was looking at both of those for similar reasons, but went with the dog-zealot because of the added layer of how the dog issue impacted the OP’s health.

      But honestly, all of them deserve to win (a case of spontaneous, explosive GI illness).

  5. Juli G.*

    Dog boss. At least with the last one, someone finally came to their senses and sort of addressed it. Dog office was a never ending litany of psychos.

  6. Anlyn*

    Difficult, but I had to go with the one whose health could have been severely impacted. As bad as baby mama/horrible name-calling was, at least it wouldn’t have landed her in the hospital. So terrible dog boss it is.

    1. Not me*

      That was a hard one. I ended up going with name-calling-boss, mostly because dog-boss OP escaped and name-calling-boss OP is AFAIK still there.

    2. F.*

      It was the dog boss for me, too. Words may hurt terribly, but the dog situation could actually kill someone who is seriously allergic/asthmatic. Dog Boss was also responsible for the underlying attitude in the office that let the other pro-dog employees get away with mobbing the OP.

  7. Snork Maiden*

    Phone sex boss!

    Also, the other bosses are terrible, but they know they’re being terrible. I mean, I hope so. Phone sex boss is just in another alternate universe, where “dingaling” is normal adult vocabulary.

    1. Snork Maiden*

      Although in terms of harm, I’d have to say baby mama/c-word boss. I’d be surprised if his attitude towards others was limited to the OP in that case, and that poisons a workplace. But then, the dog workplace was a literally poisoned workplace for that OP. Oh dear, I’m going to have to vote from three different browsers, aren’t I.

    2. Koko*

      Personally I’d rather work for a cluelessly inappropriate boss than one who knows he’s being an ass and doesn’t care!

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        At least phone sex boss would give me something to go home and guffaw (in a horrified manner) to my husband about. There was one boss at a place I worked several years ago who would have long conversations with her boyfriend who, apparently, was trying to break up with her. We would hear such things as, “You’re walking away from the best thing you ever had!!” and “Why are you so afraid to give love a chance??!!” from her end of the conversation. She didn’t even lower her voice or act embarrassed if one of us walked into her office while she was saying that stuff; she’d just carry on as if she were having a totally normal conversation.

  8. Monday*

    What was striking to me about the dog office was how it wasn’t just the boss, but all the coworkers who ganged up on the OP to make their life miserable. The boss couldn’t have done it without them.

    1. Florida*

      The boss couldn’t have done it without them, but at the same time, the boss cultivated the culture that allowed the employees to gang up on OP.

      1. OhNo*

        Only if the holiday gift baskets are infested with fleas.

        (Not that I would wish the fleas on the poor dogs who were at that company, but man do their owners ever deserve the worst case of fleas nature has to offer.)

  9. Helka*

    Really torn between Dogs > People and Mr. Baby Mama; I wound up voting for Dogs > People in the end because that was an issue of physical health, but it was a super close call :\

  10. eplawyer*

    Being told to use another name because someone else was offended, having phone sex, public discussions of strengths/weaknesses seems so tame compared to compromising an employee’s health because pets are more important and someone actually using the C word at work about an employee in 2015.

    I actually can’t choose between those two.

    Can there be a tie?

  11. Adam*

    I was leaning between “Baby Mama” boss and the “Dog Friendly” place. Ultimately I went with the dog friendly place.

    “Baby Mama” was a jerk to be sure and the company really drug their feet on getting this solved but it seems like they did ultimately get things squared away.

    The dog friendly people though…that sounds like the entire organization was against the letter writer and she had no one on her side throughout the whole mess. That really has to feel nasty.

    Honorary mention to the writer who was asked not to use their own name. As a religious person myself I always head–>desk when I’m confronted with stories of people using religion on people in such inane ways.

    1. Green*

      I think what put Baby Mama Boss over the edge for me was that they actually wrote her up for complaining.

    2. The Expendable Redshirt*

      I almost voted for the Name Change Boss. From knowing an abundant number of Ultra Conservative Fringe religious people, I’d guess that boss doesn’t use their critical thinking skills often. Do they object to the name Brendon (Prince) or Donald (Ruler of the World)? If Boss did some investigating, they’d discover that they’re using king based names regularly. Glad the OP didn’t end up there!

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Or how about how the days of the week are named for Norse gods? “Let’s meet again next Thu…um…7 days from now!”

        1. Evan Þ*

          Back in the early 1800’s, Quakers decided to number the days of the week, for exactly that reason. They’d call Sunday “First Day,” Monday “Second Day,” and so on.

  12. Liana*

    This was a really tough poll! I ended up going with the baby mama boss over the dog-friendly boss, only because Dog Friendly boss couldn’t have pulled what they did if it wasn’t for equally awful coworkers, so I don’t know that the boss should get full credit if they weren’t acting alone.

    Still, though – poor OP either way.

    1. Who watches the Watcher's?*

      I was thinking along similar lines. Since the poll is for the worst boss I went with Baby Mama Boss. Just because I think a big part of the Dog Friendly Boss was the co-workers roll in it.

    2. TempestuousTeapot*

      Not just for that, but the dog friendly> human health at work went into HR.They originally sided with boss over the OP. I hate to think of how it might have gone if not for OP’s witness to that whole bathroom kvetching incident. This tells me it actually is an organizational issue, not just a bad boss. Who knows, with a more competent HR and upward management (ie: owner) paying closer attention to a serious health concern (so many angles for liability concerns it boggles the mind) that boss might have improved or (more likely) been weeded out beforehand. I’m hoping the whole failure to even disclose the ‘dog-friendly’ from the onset would have been different with proper organizational management from up top.

    1. Anonsie*

      Nope. When I open it in a private window in Firefox, I see nothing. When I open the page in a regular Firefox window, though, I can see it.

  13. A Bug!*

    Like lots of folks, my choice came down to the baby-mama one and the dog-office one. I went with the dog-office one, not because the behavior itself was worse, per se, but because of the deception involved. The baby-mama boss is nauseating for sure, but he was open about it, which means that the OP in that one had something to address, and more importantly, didn’t have to stumble upon a conspiracy to learn that there was something to address.

    With the dog office, the manager was talking out both sides of her mouth, so the OP thought the manager was on her side when the manager was actively working against her, and laughing about it behind her back. If the manager hadn’t happened to bust herself through her own indiscretion, OP might have been pushed out of the company on false pretenses without ever knowing the manager’s true role in it.

  14. VX34*

    These were all terrible stories, but for true, out-of-their-gourds insanity, I voted for the people who asked the gentleman named “King” to change his name.

    A person’s name is a 100% fundamental part of someone’s identity. It’s not like John A. Smith walked in and said “Hi, I’m John Smith, but I go by $%#! ##$&%” and the company was like “No, we won’t allow you to go by your inappropriate and obscene nickname at work”.

    Someone was told he had to change the name on his birth-certificate, because someone else had no idea how to handle their own personal religious hang-ups in a public setting. I probably would have walked right back out of that door the second that happened.

    1. JMegan*

      I voted for this one as well. Mostly because the idea came from a coworker, and not only did the boss not shut her down, but he agreed with her, and wanted the OP to act on her ridiculous suggestion. One loony employee, I can live with. But it sounds like the inmates are running the asylum in that place, and the OP is well out of there!

  15. anon attorney*

    I had unaccountably missed phone sex boss the first time. So this poll was a nice unexpected treat!

  16. hbc*

    What cemented me on Baby Mama boss is that there’s just no way to justify it. (Bear with me here.) Obliviousness isn’t excusable, but it’s a reason I understand, and covers a bunch of these bad bosses. I understand being stupid enough to fear someone citing religious persecution to the point that you start thinking “Well, it’s only a middle name….” I can even understand the awful circling of the wagons to protect the Kompany Kulture from the newbie who didn’t, you know, intuit that there would be dogs in the office. It’s wrong, but a distorted “good of the many” attitude can explain it.

    But when you have 1 good performer and 1 person who’s dropping C bombs, there’s about 20 weaselly moves you’ve got available–separating them, covering it up, forcing a lackluster apology, even telling the victim “that’s just how he is.” Why on earth would you think it’s a good move to address the complaint and then pile on with obvious retaliation *in the same meeting,* while you violate your own policies about disciplinary action? It’s stupid and unethical to the point that I can’t even wrap my brain around it.

    1. AW*

      This was the reason I ultimately chose that one as well. The dog manager’s behavior had worse consequences but I couldn’t think of even a *bad* reason for baby momma manager (and HR, and HR VP!) to do what they did. I still can’t figure out why the HR VP was surprised to hear that she was upset about what happened. “Can’t even wrap my brain around it” indeed.

      I still think dog manager should get some kind of dis-honorable mention for having the largest number of completely awful people in one story. Really wish we could have two winners this year!

  17. Gandalf the Nude*

    Every time I see the dog office letter or its follow up I get the song “The Dogs Vs. You” from Lucky Stiff stuck in my head. I had to vote against it just for that! Sorry!

  18. The Expendable Redshirt*

    I voted for the Dog Office as having the worst manager. 1) They just didn’t get that the OP had a serious medical condition. 2) The update that followed proved the office is staffed by malicious macaques.

    And this is from someone who would love a pet friendly workplace. My love of animals does not permit me to negatively affect the health of coworkers.

  19. Nursey Nurse*

    I had to pick baby mama boss. There’s nothing like indifference in the face of aggressive gendered insults to get my goat.

  20. Dingaling*

    Wow I feel so honored to have my post nominated for worst boss of the year….also really depressed that I still work for the dingaling. I secretly hope that (after I quit) my boss asks IT to search my computer to see what I did all day and they discover AAM and this post.

  21. Mimmy*

    I voted for the dog allergy one, but I went and re-read the “baby mama” update and wish I’d voted for that one. Both are equally insane though!

  22. Connie-Lynne*

    It was so close, but I went with dog-allergy because the people at her office were so incredibly horrible to her. Name change would have won, but the LW never wrote in with an update and never commented to explain what exactly the religious issue *was*.

  23. The Bimmer Guy*

    Although not strictly a “worst boss” from the original letter, my top pick was actually the update to the “Duck Sex Club” letter, where, upon being informed by the OP of the sex club, the director downplayed it as “kids will be kids” and behaved in such a way that one would reasonably suspect he was *part* of the sex club.

  24. AssaultedByDogs*

    Dog-boss all the way for permitting, abetting, and participating in a culture where pretty much murdering someone is okay as long as other people get to spend more time with their pets. That boss is a disgusting, abusive, monster who creates other disgusting, abusive, monsters by example. Anyone other than the OP who goes through that company is likely to spread this culture straight-out mobbing on whoever doesn’t fit the mold. That’s going to go further than just dogs. It normalizes a culture of mobbing.

    Baby Mama was second place because it’s awful and I bet its more prevalent than we realize.

  25. Jules, a first time commenter*

    I was pleased to see Dog Boss and Baby Mama Boss went head-to-head in this poll, I was very torn which one to vote for. In the end I went with Baby Mama Boss for a reason similar to hbc. The Dog Boss behaved despicably to keep dogs in their office. The Baby Mama Boss behaved despicably to… preserve their ability to call people names? (Not saying anything Dog Boss did was excusable, obviously. My point is the underlying reason for their horribleness at least makes a modicum of sense.)

  26. starsaphire*

    Was there ever a follow-up to Remote Staff Slam-book Retreat? I’d love to know if the retreat actually happened or not.

    Yes, and I want to know what happened if there was. Don’t judge me. /makes popcorn

  27. reader*

    Voted for the last one because actual illegal retaliation, but the name-change one was a close second. A manager so completely spineless they’d rather ask someone to change their name rather than stand up to frivolous complaints can’t be doing any good in that org whatsoever.

  28. Kyla*

    I have to confess I’m surprised the Dog boss has so many votes……honestly, if I worked in that office and was used to being able to bring my dog to work and a new hire threatened that, I’d want them gone too. I think it’s unfair to change an entire office culture and lose a HUGE perk to accommodate one person.

    1. S*

      But in the update the OP clarified that it wasn’t even to keep her alive that the dogs were kicked out (and trying to force somebody to work in an environment that could be fatal to them is definitely more than enough reason to kick the dogs out and I say that as somebody who has my dog curled up next to me right now) but the CEO switched the office to an open plan, and the old carpet smelled of dog urine and the place had a flea problem. The dogs were going to go anyway, but everybody especially the boss used the OP as a scapegoat.

  29. Elizabeth West*

    Wow, I thought they all sucked. I ended up choosing the last one, the manager who demoted the OP for complaining about the name-calling coworker. The rest of them just seem like huge idiots.

    It was very close between that and the dog boss. But there is no law against being a dick like the dog boss, and the baby mama boss opened the whole company up to potential legal action. So I voted for Baby Mama Boss, but I would like them to share the nomination.

    It’s a tie!!

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