How to Fire Your Bad Boss

You Can Get Rid of Your Bad Boss If You Follow These Guidelines—Carefully

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Do you have a bad boss? No, not one of those bad ordinary bosses who fail to give direction and fail to provide proper employee recognition. Those are low-stress bad bosses. You’ve got the type of bad boss who bullies, insults, lies, changes your directions, blames others, and verbally assaults your self-esteem—every single day.

You’ve confronted the boss with his behavior—nicely—but it didn’t put a dent in his game. You’ve talked to Human Resources, but they threw their hands up in frustration. The guy gets the job done and the higher-ups like him. But, they’ve never seen him in action, you argued. "Talk to more employees. I’m not the only one complaining."

He’s on his best behavior when senior managers or HR staff are around. So, it’s almost impossible to communicate what you and your coworkers experience every day. No pattern of employees leaving exists, you’re told, which would set off red flags in the HR office. But, the boss has only been in this position for a year. You know that half of the people who work in the office are looking for a new job.

You Need to Take Action or Leave Your Bad Boss Behind

You like your job, your company, and your coworkers. The only problem is your current boss. You’re beyond self-pity and annoyance. You’re scared, but you can’t take the bullying anymore. You’ve decided that you either need to take action or get a new job. Those are your only remaining choices.

Maybe it’s time for you to take action to get him gone. The best way, if you can figure out how to set it up, is for senior management to see him in action. They’ve always treated you with respect, and you don’t believe that they’d put up with his daily behavior if they could just see it happen to an employee.

The Best Way to Get the Boss Fired

So, the very best way is to set up a situation in which the boss will exhibit the worst of their behaviors publicly and in front of his boss. It’s not as if his boss has not heard rumors before about his behavior, but he may have been unaware of how bad the behavior is. In an organization, it is a powerful intervention to have the boss act out their worst behaviors in front of their own boss.

Nothing else works as well if it’s time to fire your boss, and other options are fraught with danger for the employee.

How to Take Action to Fire Your Boss

Understand that danger exists when you decide it is time to fire your boss. If he is well thought of, you may bring trouble and insecurity to your own employment. You may bear the brunt of your organization's displeasure if your efforts to fire your boss don't succeed.

In any case, your efforts draw a magnifying glass to your own performance. So consider other solutions before you decide that your only recourse is to fire your boss.

If you’re not quite brave enough or you haven’t yet thought of the perfect scenario for setting your boss up to exhibit their worst behavior, here are additional actions that you need to take.

What If You Decide the Time Is Not Right to Fire Your Bad Boss?

Check to See If You Can Talk to HR in Confidence.

Seek their confidential assistance to advise you about how to address the situation. Your company may have a formal complaint process. HR staff may know this bad boss and recommend ways to respond to him effectively. The heads-up may elicit some manager coaching by the HR staff. But, if your name is connected to the situation, a bad boss will retaliate. You can count on it.

If You Belong to a Union or Work for the Government, Go to Your Representative First.

Contractual rules and obligations may exist that you need to follow to achieve the best results. The union representative may even be willing to intervene via a meeting with your bad boss and HR staff.

Document Everything.

Document each incident of the boss’s bad behavior with the dates and the names of any potential witnesses. Bully bosses don’t always have multiple targets; you may be in the situation alone if the boss has taken a dislike to just you, for whatever reason. (If this is the case, you need to determine why you are the target of his worst behavior.)

In Addition to Documentation, Make a List of the Issues Employees Have With the Boss to Go Along With It.

You will want to write a condensed version that succinctly identifies each behavior that you observe. And, if you can, ask other employees to sign the documentation; recognize that they may not. People are afraid of losing their jobs; they may not experience the situation as intensely as you do, and they may want to avoid conflict.

Develop a Safe Path to Your Boss’s Manager.

If you have developed a working relationship with your boss’s boss, he or she is more likely to take your complaints seriously. With a bully boss, you must develop this relationship with care, or it will become another point of contention in your boss’s bullying. If the first time you speak to your boss’s manager is to file a complaint, you have less credibility than if you have built that relationship over time.

Actively, Seek Witnesses.

Following each outburst, note who saw the scene. Turn to these coworkers to build alliances. Ask your coworkers to document their experience with the bad boss, too. You will find safety in numbers and the more employees adding their voice to the complaints, the harder it is for senior managers to ignore or deny the problem.

An Employee Who Attempts to Fire a Bad Boss—No Matter How Bad the Boss—May Lose Their Job.

So, be prepared to lose your job, if your boss turns it around and you lose the battle. Even if you are 100% right, you may still may end up losing. Your company may back your boss. Your organization had reasons to assign your boss to his management role. Perhaps he has skills and produces the results that the company needs. If you are the boss's sole target, it is easier to remove you than to have to address the situation. By the time the organization realizes that the bad boss always has a target, you will be long gone.

Preparation Is the Key If You Attempt to Have a Bad Boss Fired.

You need your ducks in a row to get a bad boss fired. Documentation of incidences, statements from witnesses, and the names of coworkers who have also been bullied and are willing to speak up are critical. So, think about your chances of succeeding. Your best route may be to secretly job search, so you can quit on your schedule and your terms, rather than battling a hopeless situation.

Whether you can successfully fire your boss depends on who and what your organization values and why. It depends on the culture your organization has developed and how it values employees. Additional variables include what you and your boss bring to the table. Right or wrong, he or she is, after all, the boss for reasons, and is probably in a stronger position than you are.

Employers have fired the boss when employees made known to senior managers the extent of the problem, the treatment, and the damage. But, realistically, your company has to care about employees, and desire to create a particular environment for employees, to take action quickly to resolve the bad boss problem.

In most cases, even if the company believes you and takes action, the company will have a disciplinary policy and process that they must follow to remove the bad boss. You may never receive any information about what has or has not transpired because of employee confidentiality.

So, the process will take time and you will experience harassment and retaliation unless your senior managers and HR have put the manager on notice that they will tolerate neither.