The last couple of weeks have been rough for the Obama administration. While the president wasn’t directly involved with the IRS nonprofit organization approval scandal nor the tax agency’s decision to spend $4.1 million on a 2010 conference, which just made headlines this week, these agencies are still part of his administration so ultimately his name is tied to these transgressions. Now another scandal is being added to this list – the conversion of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warehouse into what could be described as a recreation room at a college fraternity house.
Apex Logistics was the contractor that managed an EPA warehouse located in Landover, Maryland. The warehouse was designed to store EPA office furniture but Apex Logistics employees turned the space into something much more. In addition to storing office furniture, the Landover facility also included a workout center created from surplus gym equipment, a lounge area complete with couches and a refrigerator and a variety of entertainment options including books and videos.
The contractors knew they were up to no good and purposely hid their man cave amenities by carefully placing partitions and stacks of boxes in the security camera’s line of sight. A quick examination of the facility’s security camera tapes would show that nothing was amiss, only a comprehensive on-site visit would have revealed what was really going on in Landover.
It gets worse, though. A variety of sensitive items were also found in the warehouse, including a box of expired passports. Yes, expired passports at an EPA facility. Unless the passports were irradiated or otherwise contaminated, it doesn’t make sense that these items would be housed at the warehouse of an agency that focuses on environmental issues.
The warehouse was also filled with a variety of health and safety hazards. According to The Washington Post, “Dirt, dust and vermin feces were pervasive,” refrigerators contained mold, and old computer bags were “molding and rotting,” according to the report. Shelves were unsecured, with poorly balanced items hanging over the edges, the report says, and personal spaces were powered by “multiple electrical cords that may cause overloads, resulting in potential fire hazards.” Propane was stored in the warehouse, and trucks were parked inside it.”
Crazy workplace stories aren’t just limited to the government and they aren’t always on such a grand scale. In her book ‘Suits: A Woman on Wall Street,’ Nina Godiwalla tells the story of a Wall Street senior officer biting the ear of a colleague, “during an argument at a team dinner, a senior officer leaned over as if to whisper something in his junior colleagues’ ear and then, according to a witness, took a bite out of it, “Mike Tyson style.”
Another outrageous story comes from Laurie Mercier, who told CBS News that one year a new girl with a tight budget planned the office holiday party at Rumrill-Hoyt. The result was a nearly naked Santa gyrating in front of her coworkers. “Without warning, the Santa, resplendent with handmade tattoos, stripped to a dirty jock strap, leapt onto a table and began bumping and grinding to the tunes coming out of a tiny tape recorder near his feet.
These stories prove that workplaces aren’t always governed by professionalism or even common sense. From something as large as a fully stocked man cave to something small like the naked Santa, these stories prove that you never know what to expect when you go to work.