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Worker Exploitation--Unpaid Labor

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    Worker Exploitation--Unpaid Labor

    At one place I worked several years ago, in addition to our regular duties employees were required to complete a special project that could not be possibly be done in an 8 hour day or 40 hour work week. The message was to work off the clock on this task (which BTW was an interdepartmental cross-training assignment). Unfortunately, due to personal financial circumstances at the time, I didn't object and went along.

    I might add that this employer was not some fly-by-night hole in the wall outfit but a well known finance company.

    Fellow FP Forum members, if your boss "asked" you to work off the clock, How did (or would) you respond?

    #2
    I am salaried so it's harder to get by with it. If it's hourly all you probably need to do is threaten to call the state labor board.

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      #3
      Originally posted by jasanderson View Post
      I am salaried so it's harder to get by with it. If it's hourly all you probably need to do is threaten to call the state labor board.
      Thanks, jasanderson. I should have mentioned that I and my co-workers were hourly employees. As for contacting the Labor Board, I was too chickens**t at the time to do so.

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        #4
        If my boss asked me to work off the clock (my current boss) I would not mind because if I am late he pays me, if I leave early he pays me

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          #5
          My husband has been asked to 'fail to claim hours' and collect later on..it was barely done with a LOT of hinting that we didn't believe the later on would come. It did work out, but we were not happy with the situation and had it lasted any longer he would have threatened to call or moved companies.

          Generally a company cannot legally fire you if you will not work unpaid...the only way for that to work is if the employee willingly goes along with the plan...and keeps their mouth shut after. It cannot work without both parties going along...unless you work for the mafia, or another country.

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            #6
            In my office we are paid hourly but there is no overtime without prior approval and it is very hard to get approval. Basically we have to be super-slammed with work AND short-staffed to get approval.

            Now since I've been working there (going on 6 years now) the majority of the women have taken it upon themselves to work overtime and just not get paid, so they can get caught up. We're almost always very busy. I won't do that. You're just shooting yourself in the foot that way. If I get way too much work, I start complaining to my supervisors, and they will take some work away from me and re-distribute it.

            I've told all those women that when they work overtime and don't claim it, they are hurting themselves and the whole office. Our workload has increased alot in the last couple of years and the only way to get additional permanent staff is to NOT work overtime and not get paid, its to complain EVERY TIME we are overloaded with work so that the supervisors know. And then the supervisors will use their discretion whether to re-assign some work, or give approval for paid overtime. When it starts happening all the time, that information will work its way up the chain (especially if they start approving more and more paid overtime, hit em in the pockebook) eventually we will get additional permanent staff. That is the only way things will change for the better for our office. They are finally starting to understand that.

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              #7
              I would politely say that I have other personal obligations that prevent me from staying beyond normal work hours. If they pressed me for details, i would say my mother is elderly and i like to keep an eye on her and help her out.

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                #8
                it is illegal for any company to NOT pay an hourly employee for actual hours worked,
                whether the employee agreed or NOT
                about 18 years ago I found myself in a situaton where I was not being paid all the hours I worked
                when I asked my boss he told me "if I deducted all the bathroom breaks, getting coffee, blowing
                your nose, etc you'd owe me"
                I was so pissed at his arrogance
                I callled the state labor board
                I could not risk losing my job so was not willing to file with them
                but they told me to keep a work journal of my hours
                as soon as I found another job I filed in small claims court against him
                and won! double what I claimed for wages

                the laws may have changed since then and do vary from state to state
                your state labor boad is your best resource
                you can file an annonymos complaint or you can get advice like I did

                121707 - Addendum
                check with your state labor board
                I don't know what the statute of limitations is for filing a complaint with the Labor Board to get monetary
                retribution through them for yourself; however, you can file an anonymous complaint that you have 1st
                hand knowledge of the company's wrong-doings to maybe help someone else
                when the Labor Board investigates a company - they go back 7 years
                small claims court I think you have 2 years
                Last edited by Kedi; 12-17-2007, 12:44 PM.

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                  #9
                  My job is generally pretty good about not making us work unpaid overtime. However, if you're selected to meet with a board (the only way to get ahead), then you studying for the board on your own time with the exception of an hour a day (which is just not enough time).

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                    #10
                    Seems like pretty standard procedure to me nowadays. In the past, I was a salaried employee, and I will never, ever take a salaried position again. Being salaried is an excuse for the employer to take complete advantage of your time 24/7.

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                      #11
                      Some of the foregoing posts show a common complaint: To the extent that employers can get away with it, they will abuse their power over non-union hourly employees.

                      As I mentioned when I started this thread, in my own situation even after all these years I regret that I didn't have the cojones to take the matter to the labor board.
                      Last edited by Exile; 12-17-2007, 05:20 PM.

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