Human Resources professionals have a lot to handle on a given day, covering everything from talent management to training and development. But perhaps the most interesting task HR pros are asked to cover is that of reprimanding employees for offenses committed in the workplace.  


Workplace faux pas and miscues are nothing new. Since the dawn of the modern office, employees have been committing offenses that have gotten them in hot water with the HR department. But what about when employees aren’t in the office? 


Surely, there are fewer opportunities for one to mess up when they are working from home, right? Well, maybe not. We gathered some of the most outrageous WFH HR offenses we could find, with the worst (read: best) falling into a select few categories.   

The Unexpected Visitor 



One common theme among the WFH HR offense is the unexpected visitor entering the shot on a video call.  


Dave N. said he was on the wrong side of this while on a call with clients.  


“I was on a call with a bunch of clients and my stark naked son walked into my office and asked me to ‘fix his butt.’”  


While adorable, it’s never the best look to have anyone naked show up on a work call. And it’s not just those with young children who need to worry about a bare-bottomed visitor popping in unannounced.  


Niki L. said she also witnessed an in-the-buff visitor on a work call.  


“The worst thing I saw [on a video call] was someone’s dad in a towel after they came out of the shower and had no idea they were in the shot.” 


It’s not just naked people that can pop in unannounced, either.  


According to Bryan C., two sisters, both of whom worked for the same company, got into a bit of a sibling rivalry while one of them was supposed to be presenting to her bosses.  


“One of the sisters was presenting her weekly forecast to her manager, with other higher-ups present on the call. Just as she was deep into her presentation, her twin – also her roommate – entered the frame, livid about her clothes being worn without permission. 


What began as a verbal disagreement escalated quickly into a physical altercation, with both sisters brawling while the Zoom call was still live. The confrontation was, needless to say, alarming and unprofessional, especially in a business setting with managers present.” 


The Hot Mic 



Another common mishap for the work-from-home offender is being caught saying something they shouldn’t with their computer microphone unmuted.  


Ben P. was a firsthand witness to one such occasion: 


“One time on a Zoom call, one of the women on the call forgot to go on mute and was caught talking s*** about other people on the call.” 


A good rule of thumb is to never say anything about anyone you wouldn’t want them to hear. Unfortunately, people saying things they shouldn’t isn’t an isolated incident.  


Sydney M. said her previous boss was caught making some racist comments on a hot mic. 


“The CEO admitted that ‘SEO contractors from India are only $12 per hour, so that’s why we have them.’” 


Hopefully, he didn’t get off easy just because he was in charge. 


The Phantom Camera 



Even the most digitally literate are bound to experience a technological snafu every now and then. Unfortunately, for those on video calls, this can lead to some pretty uncomfortable situations.  


Parker B. said: 


“I used to work at a professional speaker talent agency that hosted online training. Our video producer would stay on the call to make sure that all runs smoothly. On one of these training sessions, he felt sick to his stomach, took his phone to the bathroom with him so he could operate the Zoom from there, and accidentally flashed about 20 people on the call when his camera was facing the wrong direction.” 


We recommend never bringing a video call into the bathroom with you, no matter how important the call might be. However, it’s not just the loo where people can accidentally reveal more than they intended.  


Benjamin P. said he was on a call with a vendor when the man accidentally turned on his camera.  


“He was doing a software demo for us… He accidentally turned his camera on and he was shirtless, smoking a cigar, and had a giant glass of whiskey on his desk.” 




It’s never a good idea to use your work computer to look at any sites you’re not supposed to while on the clock. It’s an even worse idea to share your screen with those sites still open.  


Lauren W. said: 


“A colleague and I were supposed to be presenting to a prospective client. When my colleague shared his screen to show some work examples, he had a background tab opened to, let’s just say an ‘adult’ website. I was mortified.” 


It’s best to reserve the use of your work computers for your job… the one you currently have.  


Isabelle E. said: 


“I once shared my screen on a team call with LinkedIn open to the job search page. I tried to play it off, but my boss was on the call.” 


Needless to say, everybody makes mistakes. Still, it’s best to exercise caution while on the clock, whether you’re at home or in the office.  


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