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Boss Writes Up Employee For Taking An Online Quiz With His Friends During His Lunch Break

Photo: Aldomurillo / CanvaPro
Coworkers eating together on their lunch break.

We’ve all dealt with our fair share of “bad bosses” — from controlling authority figures to ignorant managers, they’re impossible to escape. While it might be tempting to bad mouth them on Slack or gossip about their absurdity on a lunch break, one employee’s seemingly innocent story might change your mind. 

Content creator Ben Askins shared one man’s story, revealing that he’d been “written up” at work for using the company laptop on his lunch break. Despite what you might be thinking, he didn’t actually use the laptop to “bad mouth” his boss — instead, he got in trouble for taking an “online quiz.” 

This boss gave an employee a ‘written warning’ for taking an online quiz with friends on his lunch break. 

“Hi Pete,” his boss wrote in a text message the following day. “Just to let you know, I’m going to have to give you a written warning.” 

   

   

Running through the past days and weeks, this employee couldn’t imagine what he was getting in trouble for. “What? Why?” he wrote, eagerly awaiting his boss’ response. 

“Apparently, you’ve been playing games at work,” his boss responded. His boss’ message only made him more confused, as he couldn’t recall any moment where he’d been slacking off or playing a game on the clock. 

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“No, I haven’t... Who said that I had been?” the employee questioned. Askins admitted the conversation was already taking a “weird,” and slightly passive-aggressive, tone. 

His boss only responded that “it didn’t matter” who told him, and that he would be written up regardless. “Clearly there’s a huge disconnect between what’s happened and what his boss said… who told him really does make a difference,” Askins argued. 

Trying to remember the day before, the employee recalled playing a ten-minute “online quiz” with friends while on his lunch break. But that surely couldn’t be the issue, right? After all, he was on his lunch break

Boss Writes Employee Up For Taking An Online Quiz With His Friends During His Lunch BreakPhoto: Drazen Zigic / Shutterstock

Askins admitted that this is when the boss should’ve “simply apologized,” as there was clearly a misunderstanding. However, he did the opposite, saying, “Even so, it is not what the company office or laptop is for. Don’t worry this is just a warning, but please don’t do it again.” 

“This is so pathetic,” Askins said of the boss’ behavior. “First of all, you can do whatever you want on your lunch break … The boss should want him to do something that recharges him to do his best work.” 

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Frustrated, the employee simply responded, “You can’t be serious?” Unsurprisingly, he couldn’t help but acknowledge his reality — telling Askins later on that this was “one of many times” his boss had been overly controlling in the office, and he's since quit over it. 

While situations like this seem absurd, the truth is that it’s the reality of many employees in the workplace.

In fact, almost 85% of people say “bad managers” are to blame for their toxic work environments. Many commenters sympathized with the man’s situation, while a handful of others condemned him for being “ignorant” enough to use a company laptop for “personal things.” Many employment experts warned others to steer away from using ‘work technology’ for personal reasons, even while on a break. 

“You probably already know this,” HR professional @stateofsuccess.co said on TikTok, “but I’m going to remind you anyway. Do not use your work laptop or email for any personal use.” 

   

   

If you’re gossiping on Teams or Slack, this one's for you. Anything you do on a company laptop is fair use to be investigated by your employer and can be used as grounds for dismissal. “If there was an event that came up where a colleague of yours got in trouble… and there was an investigation into conversations, you could get in trouble if you said anything,” she says. 

Of course, personal activities like online shopping and video streaming seem more obvious, in terms of things to steer clear of, but IT professionals admit there’s a lot more you should be cautious of. Especially for remote workers, who use their company laptops much more often than their peers, the line between personal and professional can sometimes be blurred

In a 2020 survey by Malwarebytes, responses revealed that over 53% of employees are sending or receiving personal messages, 52% are reading the news, 25% are accessing social media, and 22% have downloaded some kind of “non-company” software on their company laptops. Even when you’re on a break, despite the absurdity of it, you could be fired over using the company laptop for anything other than work.  ​

So, whether it be email conversations with your partner, Slack gossip, or streaming the newest Netflix special — just don’t do it. Or, at least, bring your own laptop if you’re going to. 

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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango focusing on pop culture analysis and human interest stories.