Woman says boss abruptly fired her over the phone, she got escorted all the way out of the building to the street

@k8newyork/TikTok Sebastian Reategui/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘They literally had nothing negative to say about my work’:  Woman says boss abruptly fired her over the phone, she got escorted all the way out of the building to the street

'I’ve never been kicked out of a club or a bar before, but I imagine this is what it feels like.'


Maya Wray


Posted on May 1, 2023

A New York-based TikToker went public about her December 2022 firing and “prison escort” from an Empire State Building office in a viral two-part video posted on Apr. 28. 

In the videos, which have been collectively viewed more than 312,600 times, user Kate Lewis (@k8newyork) said she couldn’t remember whether her employer knew she had been planning to leave the unnamed company—only described as the world’s largest outdoor advertising firm—at the time she was fired.

However, Lewis, 24, said she had not decorated her desk for the winter holidays, unlike the rest of her co-workers, but had cleaned it out entirely before Thanksgiving instead.

On the morning of Dec. 6, a woman from human resources approached Lewis’ desk and asked to speak with her, according to her video. 

@k8newyork Mama knows best #empirestatebuilding #corporateamerica #storytime #grwm #nyc #gettingfired #gettingfiredstory #quittingcorporate ♬ Obituary – Alexandre Desplat

“In the back of my head, I’m thinking, ‘Yay, am I getting fired?’ But that’s just my sarcastic subconscious talking to myself because it’s actually incredibly hard to get fired,” Lewis said in the video. 

She followed the woman to the human resources office, where she said another woman was waiting with her boss on the phone to speak to her. 

“[My boss] is like, ‘Hey Kate, this will be your last day. Bye!’ And after she hangs up, I can tell the two HR people feel so awkward because they literally say, ‘This is so awkward. Normally, it doesn’t go like this,’” Lewis said. “They said they always expect people to cry. Like, what the fuck?” 

Lewis asked both women for a review of her work at the firm, which she said was “very complimentary.” The women revealed that it wasn’t the reason for her firing—it was that she simply didn’t fit the image of the team their boss was trying to create.

“Because I have outside interests, passions, hobbies and will probably have kids one day, I wasn’t exactly what they were looking for,” Lewis shared in her video. “Honestly, I was just proud that my work could speak for itself.”

@k8newyork People being more comfortable when people are uncomfortable… tell me somebody understands this!!!! ##corporateamerica#storytime #grwm #nyc #gettingfired #gettingfiredstory #quittingcorporate #empirestatebuilding ♬ Obituary – Alexandre Desplat

She sais she was then escorted back to her desk by one of the HR women to collect her personal things and hand in her company-issued laptop. As Lewis did so, she said the woman stood just a couple of inches behind her, waiting.

“I ask her in a very kind way, ‘Are you going to stand an inch away from me until I put my jacket on and leave?’ And she’s like, ‘Yeah, it’s protocol.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, then back up!’” Lewis said. 

The same woman escorted her to the elevator and down to the street, still walking close beside Lewis, who described the situation as “so awkward.” She attempted joking to lighten the mood, but the woman was silent. 

“You’d think it’d be easier to deal with somebody who’s acting calm and making light of the situation, but I think she’s more comfortable when people are uncomfortable because then she can console them,” Lewis explained in the video.

Many users expressed sympathy for Lewis in the comments section, with one of her former co-workers offering her support. 

“I didn’t realize you got fired!! I missed seeing you in the office,” user Martha (@marf_vader22) wrote. “I just left JCD. Totally here if you need to vent lol.” 

“Marketing agencies in general are the WORST from an HR perspective,” user Travis Christopher (@travisxtopher) shared. 

Users also debated over which advertising firm Lewis worked for, with several convinced that it was Clear Channel. Lewis responded to a comment claiming so, calling the company a “direct competitor” of her old one. 

The Daily Dot reached out to Lewis via TikTok comment and to JCDecaux via contact form.

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*First Published: May 1, 2023, 1:51 pm CDT