Being taken advantage of is never fun. We all have that one friend who never pays you back, or always asks to borrow movies and never returns them. Unfortunately, it is also common to be taken advantage of in the workplace. Many people realize that they are being taken advantage of, but continue to work in environments that they hate or feel unsafe in because they are afraid that if they say anything they will lose their job, or make things awkward between them and their employer.
Sometimes employers take advantage of their employees because they know they need the job and will be reluctant to fight back out of fear. Or, they know the personality of their employee is submissive and they know that they can take advantage of their employee without much push-back. Other times, employers do not realize how much stress they put on their employees and unknowingly take advantage of them. If your employer is taking advantage of you, you need to say something, even if you are afraid. It is important to get the respect you deserve, as well as be properly compensated for the hours and tasks that you perform. Below are 4 common ways that employers take advantage of their employees.
You are consistently working overtime without compensation
As an employee. you are sometimes expected to work longer hours than you originally contracted for. That can be due to your team finishing a large project, catching up after vacations, etc. However, this is also the most common way that employers take advantage of their employees. If you are consistently required to work extra hours, or long shifts without adequate breaks without proper compensation, your boss may be exploiting you. If you are unable to leave your work at the office and have to take it home, you should consider talking to your employer. Let them know in a kind way that you feel like you are being overworked and ask if they can delegate some of your responsibilities, or pay you overtime if you work more than you are contracted for.
You are expected to perform tasks outside of your job description
Sometimes, employees leave the company or are laid off and you are expected to pick up some of the slack while the company finds a replacement. However, if you are expected to perform your job and theirs over an extended period of time, you are probably being taken advantage of. Over-worked employees tend to perform poorly, as they become stressed, tired, and sometimes depressed. As time goes on, job descriptions and duties change, but there is a point where you are being asked to do too much. When you talk to your employer about being overworked, make sure that you state specific examples and explain to them how it is affecting your performance. Ask for a raise if you still have to perform more tasks than you are being compensated for. You deserve to be paid based on the work that you accomplish.
You are treated unfairly
If your boss ever treats you differently than other employees based on your marital status, sexual preference, race or sex, you need to take care of that quickly. Racism, sexism and other forms of preference or penalization are very serious. Even if you are not necessarily penalized, if your boss favors another employee by giving them raises, rewards, promotions, etc. that you never get, you are being taken advantage of. Talk to human resources and explain to them how your boss is treating you unfairly. If necessary, seek outside help. You should never be treated inferior to your coworkers based on gender, race or marital status.
Employers will sometimes take advantage of their employees by cheating on workers compensation. Sometimes they will fail to pay their employees the workers compensation that they deserve, misrepresent their job description (as in say they are a clerk when they are a crane operator), lay off employees after they file claims, classify employees as “independent contractors” to avoid paying premiums, or incorrectly calculate weekly wages. If your employer refuses to pay the worker’s compensation that you deserve or denies your legitimate claim, they may be committing fraud. To learn more about workers compensation fraud, check out this blog.