The employee-boss relationship is automatically scary for any worker. These are the people, after all, who control destinies. But some managers are simply more frightening than others. And this is the season for frights and scares.
So see below for eight of the most memorable scary bosses America has ever known. Would you dress up as any of them for Halloween?
Scariest Bosses Of All-Time
The Scariest Bosses Of All Time
Photo: Blanck and Harris outside the Triangle Waist Company
A humane boss allows workers to also be human beings, which means employees are given the right to go outside for a breath of fresh air. But for Blanck and Harris, the owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist garment Company, there was no room for their workers to do even that. In all fairness, such a policy was more common during their careers in the early days of the 20th Century; bosses used the strategy to prevent employee theft, as PBS reported. But the locked-door policy famously came to a head in 1911 when their factory caught fire. A total of 146 workers died in the fire, causing the single worst loss of life in New York City before Sept. 11.
Photo: George Pullman, the inventor of railroad cars with folding berths
All workers are concerned about the extent to which their managers controls their lives. Now imagine if you worked for railroad baron George Pullman, who literally forced his workers to live together in the same town, located just south of Chicago, while he controlled their every move during the late 19th Century.
The workers lived in a pseudo-kingdom in the town, in which there was no free press or right to public assembly. Pullman also sent in inspectors to check the cleanliness of his workers' houses. How did he manage to maintain such control over his workers? Pullman deducted rent from his employees' paychecks at the Pullman Palace Car Co, as Time Magazine reported.
Photo: File photo of Henry Frick
You don't get a major New York City museum named after you by simply being a nice guy. In fact, no one would ever confuse Henry Frick for a pleasant person; he was even voted America's most hated person during his lifetime, which spanned from 1849 to 1919, largely because of his leadership style as chairman of the Carnegie Steel Company.
There are many tales of his ruthlessness, but perhaps none was as maddening for his workers as his conduct during the strike at the steel plant in Homestead, Pa., in 1892. At the time workers in many industries, including copper and coal, were protesting for greater rights, as PBS reported. When the activism arrived at a Carnegie plant Frick responded by building a fence three miles long and twelve feet high around the plant. The fence had peepholes to allow for rifles to fit. After Frick announced his refusal to negotiate over wages, tensions mounted. Finally, Frick sent in the private Pinkerton army to control the plant. Nine workers were killed in the melee.