Worker exposes boss trying to fire her without HR approval

An employee went viral on TikTok after exposing her former boss’s attempt to fire her without upper management approval.

The employee, Samantha Lee (@samanthamtlee13), posted several screenshots of her email conversations with her boss, as well as memes illustrating her disbelief. As of January 26, her video has been viewed almost 5 million times.

In the first screenshot, Lee’s boss writes that “there may have been a misunderstanding”. She informs Lee that she is expected to come into work in the following two weeks, which Lee has taken off due to family reasons. Addressing the personal issue, the boss adds, “I couldn’t give you a leave of absence, but I’m very sorry for your grandfather and send my condolences to your family.”

The TikToker then shows their email reply to their manager. She tells her boss that she told her “a few weeks ago” when she would be taking off for her family emergency.

“I apologize for any inconvenience, but my priorities are being with my family,” she writes.

Lee also notes that part-time workers like her don’t have to “request” time off. They only have to let management know if they can’t work what she did.

After Lee responds, her boss replies, “It will most likely be okay due to bereavement leave.” She says management has another worker scheduled to fill in for Lee, and she plans to see Lee back at work after her two-week vacation.

Lee thought that was the end of the discussion – but she was wrong. Her boss sent another email, this time from her home email address rather than her work account.

In the email, Lee’s boss says she understands Lee’s frustration and desire to take care of family matters.

“One of my grandparents also died while I was working abroad and I couldn’t attend the funeral, so I can sympathize a bit,” writes the boss. “Although I couldn’t agree to your request, I wish I could. At this point we are severely understaffed and that was not possible.”

Lee’s boss goes on to say that she “believes” management and HR have decided to terminate Lee and promises “more details” will come in a letter from HR.

“Personally, I wish it didn’t have to end like this,” Lee’s boss writes. “I wish you the best in your future endeavors. If you need advice or need someone to listen, I’m happy to listen.”

Lee says she waited “days” for HR to contact her, but they never did. So she turned to them for clarification.

The screenshot of HR’s response states that Lee should contact her manager regarding her readmission date. To this, Lee replies and informs HR that her boss informed her that she was fired.

“I also CCed my managers in this email because there seems to be some confusion,” Lee says at the bottom of the email.

Human resources responds, saying the department “did not recommend or confirm any termination.” Again, the representative urges Lee to get in touch with her line manager to find out when she should return to work.

Several viewers couldn’t believe Lee’s boss, particularly her attempt to fire Lee from her personal email.

“Sending the ‘unsubscribe’ email from her personal email as if covering her tracks is so sketchy,” wrote one viewer.

“I knew something was wrong when she sent the personal email YOU HATE WHEN WE KNOW OUR RIGHTS! You are so well spoken you handled it beautifully,” commented a second.

A third wrote: “Sent it in person to make you think you were fired, didn’t show up and then you actually get fired [no call, no show]. She didn’t think you would verify smh.”

Some viewers couldn’t understand Lee’s boss’s desire to fire the worker after he said the company was “understaffed.”

“‘We’re understaffed!’ ‘you’re fired’ how does it even help you to fire someone if you’re understaffed?” commented one user.

“Plus they ALWAYS say ‘we’re understaffed!’ like…why do you think you have such poor employee retention bffr?” wrote another.

Others assured TikToker that she was right not to call her out-of-office message a “request.”

“I tell my boss that when I request time off it’s not an application, it’s my time and it’s me telling them to find cover,” one viewer commented.

Another wrote: “You don’t need permission to take time off. You tell them you’re on vacation and it’s their job to find cover. We don’t need their approval.”

Some users questioned how Lee pre-planned time off for a “family emergency,” but TikToker addressed those questions in a comment on her video.

“I said I told her when he was taken to the hospital and couldn’t walk right away,” the TikToker wrote. “Family emergency: Grandpa goes to the hospital. I didn’t go home straight away but booked my flights so they had time to find someone else.”

The Daily Dot contacted Samantha Lee via email and TikTok comment.


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Jaclyn Diaz

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