While the majority of workplace killings are either employees who kill their bosses, or commit a mass killing of their fellow workers, a few times bosses have given their employees the ultimate bad performance review – death. Many of the documented instances of employees killed by bosses are from other countries, so details on the cases and their outcomes are sketchy. But what we know is usually horrifying.

There’s the Russian railroad supervisor who crushed a tardy employee with a sledgehammer, the Japanese fish wholesaler who beat an underling to death, the South African boss who shot a man for demanding withheld wages, and the electrician from the Virgin Islands who had to kill an employee charging at him with a machete. Of course, these killings happen in the US too – or are foiled by the sheer stupidity of those involved.

Here are known cases where a boss has killed an employee, or attempted to.


The Dress Shop Owner Who Tried to Rob His Seamstress – and Shot Her Daughter

Photo: AdamsGuns/Wikimedia Commons

In 1978, Brooklyn dress factory owner Frank Dichiara learned that one of his seamstresses, Eleanor Zurlo, had $140,000 in the bank as her life savings – equivalent to $580,000 in current dollars. Dichiara managed to convince Zurlo to withdraw the money and keep it in cash, so she could invest it in “good deals” that came along. The whole time, he planned to rob her. He waited until her musician husband was gone, then broke into her apartment to steal the cash.

Sadly, the couple’s 13-year-old-daughter walked in unexpectedly, having gotten out of school early. Dichiara panicked and shot her four times, killing her. The girl didn’t die right away, and instead told police as she was dying that her mother’s boss shot her. Dichiara was immediately arrested, found guilty, and was sentenced to life in prison. He was released in 2007.

The Boss Who Accidentally Called the Employee He Was Plotting to Kill

Photo: Craighead County Sheriff’s Department

Arkansas used car dealer Larry Barnett owed a former employee a lot of money. While working out a payment plan would have been the sensible thing to do, Barnett went another way, calling a local hit man to take out the employee. Somehow, while the two were conversing about how best to kill the man, Barnett accidentally called the guy – who heard his own murder being plotted out. The man was understandably freaked out, and called the police, who immediately arrested Barnett. And it’s a good thing the man took action, because he returned home to find that someone had tampered with his gas stove.

A Russian Railways Supervisor Kills a Tardy Employee with a Sledgehammer

Photo: Medjai/Wikimedia Commons

While the details are sparse, the crime is brutal: a supervisor for a remote Russian railroad station employee took a sledgehammer to the head of the man when he showed up 30 minutes late for his shift. The two appeared to have argued, and when the employee talked back one too many times, he took a hammer upside the head. The employee died, and the supervisor faced a long prison term.

The Brooklyn Gas Station Kingpin Who Murdered at Least Two Employees

Photo: m01229/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

Since coming to America from India in 1984, Gurmeet Singh Dhinsa built a multi-million dollar empire of gas stations in Brooklyn, and he did it the old-fashioned way: cheating the government, intimidating and attacking competitors, and murdering people. In 1997, he was arrested on a slew of fraud, tax evasion, and murder charges – specifically that he had at least two former employees killed.

Dhinsa had already served multiple prison stints on weapons charges and fraud, but the law came down on him hard for ordering a hit on an employee he thought was stealing from him, and another whom he suspected of cooperating with the government in the prosecution of Dhinsa’s brother in a different murder case. Not only that, but Dhinsa was accused of killing THAT employee’s brother, who had traveled from India to investigate his brother’s death. He was found guilty, sentenced to life in prison, and had his assets seized to cover the millions of dollars in fines he was forced to pay.

The Car Dealer Who Killed Two Employees That Kept Asking Him for Raises
Photo: Fulton County Sheriff’s Department

Rolandas Milinavicius had lived in Atlanta for some time when he started a business to import American cars back to his home country of Lithuania. He hired two other men from Lithuania, but continuously had trouble keeping the business afloat. When the two men confronted Milinavicius, he promptly shot and killed both of them, pumping nine bullets into one, and shooting the other in the head. He turned himself in to the police the next day, and was found guilty of murder.

The GE Supervisor Who Shot His Employee’s Husband – in a Daycare Parking Lot
Photo: CBS 46

General Electric supervisor Hemy Neuman was arrested for shooting and killing Rusty Sneiderman, the husband of his employee Andrea Sneiderman. According to Neuman’s estranged wife, he was having an affair with Andrea, a charge she denied in court. Andrea claimed that Neuman harassed her with explicit emails and constant date requests,  and at some point, something snapped in Neuman, leading him to shoot Rusty Sneiderman in the parking lot of the daycare where was dropping off his kids.

Neuman attempted to use an insanity defense, claiming he was having delusions of angels and demons, but he was found guilty of murder in 2010. Three years later, Andrea was arrested on charges of murder, racketeering, perjury, and fraud; apparently having conspired with Neuman and lied about it in court. The murder charge was thrown out, and she was found guilty of the others. A few years later, Neuman’s guilty verdict was overturned by the Georgia Supreme Court due to a violation of attorney/client privilege. His retrial is set for late 2016.

South African Boss Shoots Employee Seven Times Over Unpaid Wages

Photo: Arboresce/Wikimedia Commons

A supervisor at a private security firm in Durban, South Africa, was accused of shooting an employee seven times when the man complained about being denied pay for months, and of not being given the proper tools to do his job. In the aftermath, the owner of the company reimbursed the man’s family, and eventually lost so many contracts that he had to close the firm.

The Small Business Owner Who Killed Three Employees, Then Himself
Photo: KTVI

A Somali-American home healthcare business turned into a massacre when the business’s co-owner, Ahmed Dirir, shot and killed three people, including the other owner and two employees, then himself. The motive for the killing was never clear, though security video taken at the business showed Dirir engaged in a running argument with the co-owner.

The Fishmonger Who Beat a Part-Time Employee to Death
Photo: Jessie Hodge/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Japanese fish wholesaler Miyuki Muto was apparently having some tension with part-time worker Haruhiko Masumoto. She didn’t like his attitude, and the two had some conflicts about money, as well. When verbal haranguing didn’t produce the desired remorse, Muto escalated the incident with a performance improvement plan – which, in this case, was a vicious beating. According to police, Muto began kicking Masumoto, and when he fell down, rained blows on his head and chest.

A few hours later, she found Masumoto unconscious in a car, and called an ambulance. While she did attempt CPR, it was too late, and the young man died at the hospital from severe internal injuries. Muto threw herself on the mercy of the court, and was given five years of probation, as well as coming to a monetary settlement with the family.

The Uzbek Bus Driver Strike That Ended with a Shotgun Blast
Photo: James Case/Wikimedia Commons

Uzbek employees of a private mini-bus company in central Russia went on strike demanding their pay be restored after a salary cut. They gathered together in the company garage waiting for the boss to arrive, then pounced on him, wanting money and their passports returned. The boss responded by pulling a pump-action shotgun and firing into the rabble, wounding a man who later died in the hospital. The boss was arrested, and is probably in a very uncomfortable Russian jail. Or it’s possible he got off scot-free.

The Boss Who Shot and Killed the Employee Chasing Him with a Machete
Photo: Tropenmuseum/WikiMedia Commons

Ivan Mills, a Virgin Islands electrician, shot and killed one of his own employees in self-defense after the man started chasing Mills with a machete. According to police, Mills and the employee, Brendan Maloney, got into an argument at a job site after Mills refused to pay Maloney for substandard work. Things escalated quickly, as Maloney pulled a machete out of his truck and started chasing his boss. Mills was able to get back to his own car, pull out a legally-registered firearm, and shoot Maloney in the chest, killing him.

The shooting was investigated as a homicide, and it’s not clear if Mills faced charges.


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