Whether you are a minimum wage employee or a high level executive, you'll know how it feels to be dealt an unfair hand by your boss. Every industry has its share of bureaucratic nonsense and if you've experienced this, the good news is you are not alone.
Here are some of the practices that are still common today, as shared by Reddit users.
1. Claiming its taboo to talk about salaries and pay.
This suppresses market knowledge of what someone is really worth. This is actually anti-free market.
Once I started openly talking with my colleagues about what we each made we all ended up MUCH better at negotiating our salaries. I wish I could tell you all what your market value truly is but I can guarantee you its probably more than you're making. It's why when you find a new job your current company just so happens to magically find more money for you to match your new offer. As a bonus tip don't take it. Move on to better things!
2. Wage Theft
Wage Theft trumps all other forms of theft in the USA, yet is hardly ever enforced. It steals 8.8 billion dollars from lower wage workers a year.
I would hope it goes with out saying theft from your workers is unethical. My manager at subway did this. For example, if my shift ended at 1pm and we were super busy until 130pm, I wasnt allowed to leave until the rush died down, but she would cut off that extra 30 minutes.
I always knew it happened but once I had to fax something to the office and accidentally printed off the wrong page, and it was the sheet that showed the manual changes to the time clock, knowing it happens is one thing but actually seeing the exact numbers annoyed me so much. The reason she did it was because the owner gave a bonus at the end of the year to whichever of his managers of all his stores had the best labour.
The worst was closing. We were always understaffed for closes, scheduled until 130am, but sometimes would have to stay as late as 3 or 4am to get everything done. If you leave right at 130 you get written up, but if you stay you dont get paid. Absolute BS.
3. Consistently making salaried exempt employees work 10+ hours overtime a week in order to avoid hiring more staff.
But at the same time using a 40 hour work week to calculate things like PTO. Oh, you're tired from working 55-60 hours this week? Well I have great news! You'll work another 55 next week plus you're on-call 24/7.
I've learned businesses are not smart ... Businesses are made up of people, and people are often terrible about thinking and planning in the long term.
4. Hiring more part time workers instead of giving hourly workers slightly more hours to avoid giving them benefits.
My former boss did that and we eventually found out her Christmas bonus was based on how much she saved on wages, benefits, etc. Ever wonder why a store like Wal-Mart will have 600 workers capped at 31 hours, instead of 200 full timers? Because benefits kick in at 32 hours a week.
5. Careful (deceptive) wording.
"Up to 100mbps internet speeds!" means you get 5-6mbps, and "up to" 100 for a moment here and there. "Made with 100% Chicken" simply means that real chicken was utilized as an ingredient at some point.
It's like saying a bottle of wine is "made with" 100% organic cork. "Sugar free!" means ""Less sugar per serving than the minimum we have to report"
"The top rated____" usually followed by the specific study that ranked it best. Did you know you can pay a company to perform a study for you that's guaranteed to determine you're the best? Add to that labelling things like "0% cholesterol!" or "Free from saturated fats!"on foods that would never normally contain or be expected to contain those things. Bonus points if it's something really unhealthy like boiled sweets."
Overpriced textbooks. Bonus points if the professor of the class is also the author. I went back to college to study a night course in Business a few years back. There was one textbook that apparently we absolutely HAD to have, it was marked as essential material. The latest edition was something like £200. I went on eBay and bought a used previous edition for something like £4 including shipping.
Compared it side by side to the latest edition which was in the college library and could literally see no difference at all, all the pages I checked were identical.
My lecturer shat a kidney when they saw it. "You can't possibly use that, it's an older version and all the material will be out of date!" Me: "That's OK, I'll take that chance."
Despite being marked as essential reading material I literally never looked at the damn thing once, I got all my sources and references from websites. Had I shelled out the full price of £200 for what was essentially a very expensive paperweight I'd have been very upset.
So, yeah. The whole textbook industry is a scam.
7. Rocketing the price of stuff and putting a "SALE."
Sadly, people are stupid enough to fall for this.
I forget which store it was, but they would hike prices and have constant sales. They then decided that wasn't worth the effort and money in advertising the "sales" and just marked everything down to the "sale" price and called it a day.
Their sales actually tanked until they went back to the old system.
People refused to buy the same merch at the same price unless they were explicitly told they were getting "a deal" on it. Even when the "regular price" was absurdly overpriced to start with.
8. Intended Hire.
Posting a job announcement and conducting interviews for a job you already know who you're going to hire. Most HR departments have requirements that jobs are posted internally first and then posted externally for some number of days before the intended person can be offered the job.
9. Using a previous salary against you.
"Oh, you make $40,000? Well, we'll offer you $50,000. That's a 25% increase in pay!"
Your salary shouldn't be relative, it should be what the market value of the position is. If a job pays $75,000, don't pay me only $50,000 because I only currently make $40,000.
Never tell employers your previous salary. If they insist on asking, lie.
I do not believe this is even ethically wrong. If they intended to pay you competitively, they wouldn't need to ask. The only purpose in asking is to low-ball you.
Never tell a prospective employer your salary or even a salary range, for any reason. Never give them a number that you aren't comfortable making, because that number WILL be your new salary if it is below their expected range.
10. Unpaid Internships
"Its a GREAT oportunity to learn"
Learn what? The meaning of slavery?
You work like someone that is hired, but for a shorter period
They dont bother to "Teach" you anything cause "You will pick up as you go"
Even better when you dont even work in the area you wanted to get the internship.
"Hey... you studying the law right? I have a great opportunity for you to work as my secretary."
11. Minimal Raises
It’s shady to give dedicated, long-term employees a measly 2-3% annual raise (if any at all), while hiring less experienced people for the same (or higher) salary, than the experienced employee.
It essentially punishes loyal employees. And they wonder why the recent generations tend to company hop more...
No loyalty from the company? Don't expect any from the employees.
12. Signing people up for add-ons to an existing bill and hoping they don't notice the extra charges.
I used to work in retail and this was something my boss and managers always insisted that we do. I was a cashier and I was explicitly instructed to have a sticker or a keychain or some other low cost item on hand so I could 'add on' that item to the customer's items without the customer noticing. The intent was to artificially increase the average IPS (items per sale) which boosted our store's sales stats relative to the other branches in the area. A lot of customers didn't notice, and if they did, we were instructed to be all "Oops, sorry, I thought that item was yours, let me remove it from your bill." I hated it.
That was just the tip of the iceberg with them. They also made us sign up customers for a BS rewards program without their knowledge or consent by getting their phone numbers or email addresses. If anyone ordered online from our store, we automatically grabbed their information and added them to our rewards program database to (again) artificially increase our stats. It was slimy as hell and after a while I refused to do it. Best job I ever quit."
13. Using your employment as leverage to keep your mouth shut.
For example. A temp agency I worked through tried to deduct the cost of ppe (Personal Protective Equipment: Hard hat, safety glasses, gloves, steel tipped boots, etc.) from my paycheck.
I told them that legally, employers need to provide ppe to their employees. Not sell it to them. They threatened to fire me. I reported them to OSHA. They got fined and had to reimburse everyone their $15 deduction for ppe.
I listed Steel toe boots as an example of PPE, but employers aren't necessarily required to provide steel tipped shoes. Most employers will reimburse the cost of them, though, for regular employees. Not so much for temps. The sort of things that need to be supplied would be protective headware, eyewear, gloves, etc. Not too sure about ear protection, but my employeer supplies earplugs.
Also, to the few thinking "he did this over $15? What a cheapskate!" I didn't do it for the money. I did it because they were taking advantage of people who didn't know any better. A menial ammount to you? Probably. But when i applied to this agency, I was broke and $15 was more than my hourly wage. Not cool.
14. Convenience fees for paying online. Instead of mailing in a check/money order.
Are you kidding me? You should be giving me a DISCOUNT for saving you labor costs of processing my payment.
People excuse them because they have to pay credit card fees, web site hosting, etc. But that is part of THEIR business. Put it in with the other services they must pay for to operate their business.
Target has to pay a power bill and water bill for me to shop in their store. If I spend $1 or $1,000 they don't add a fee for me using their store, wiping my butt with their toilet paper in their restrooms, or using my debit card or credit card. If you want part of your business model to be accepting online payments then you set up your business so that you can still profit from this practice. When Walmart installed those new "scan and find the price" things you see every 10 aisles or so they didn't tack on a new charge to my purchase for "We let you have cool price check scanners in the store now". No, just a new technology they worked into their business model. I don't pay extra for the guy pushing the carts into the building. Even if I use a cart or don't use one.
As an example, my state child support agency makes me go buy 2 money orders and mail them by hand every month because to pay online on their web site they want FIFTEEN $15 dollars!!! Oh, and they already tack on $5/mo to my child support for 'administrative fees' that goes in their pocket.
15. Fake promotions.
Theres a role you can apply for that doesnt have any extra pay or benefits, in which you do the same work as the role above that (which is higher paid) in the hopes that eventually you'll be the next in line to actually be given that next position. Except you wont.
Whenever you accept a job with the "well for 6 months you'll be doing the lesser job but after that it's gonna shift into the better job with extra pay" spiel. Keep applying for jobs during that six months and lineup other options. When you get the inevitable "well things aren't progressing as we hoped but if you stay in the lesser job another six months then there'll be a REAL possibility", just say "yes. Things aren't progressing as we hoped, here's my letter of resignation. Bye."
16. A company having a business model that relies on charging fees for breaking its own rules without justification for them.
For example, they have a late payment fee but refuse to add any kind of auto-payment. In 2017.
Takes 5 days to clear a normal payment. Pay 4 days before your bill is due? That's a late payment fee.
Want your payment to clear earlier to avoid that fee?
Pay an express payment fee! Its the same fee amount?
Lordy! What a coincidence!
17. Deducting Hours
Public school teacher here. My school has started to deduct vacation/sick hours if teachers forget to swipe in. We’re basically there all the time anyways and don’t get paid overtime so clocking in is pretty easy to forget.
What ends up happening is teachers get their accumulated vacay/sick hours deducted WHILE actively teaching, all because of a forgotten swipe. The admin and district people didn’t seem to see how absolutely unethical this practice is and I never got back 4 days of vacay hours from missed swipes.
18. Hire a batch of temps as "temp to hire" with the supposed idea being that you'll be offered a permanent position at the end of the temp period with satisfactory performance.
Set performance standards that are borderline physically impossible to meet.
After the end of the temp period, be like "Sorry guys, can't hire you on because you didn't meet our performance standards."
Hire a new batch of temps.
A plastics company I temped for did this at their injection molding plant; the whole complex was run with basically a skeleton crew of company workers/admin with a constantly rotating batch of temps making up the bulk of the workforce.
19. Companies that stifle competition/innovation by buying smaller companies just to stop what the smaller company is doing.
It is the opposite of progress and often times the first thing they do is fire everyone who is on the smaller team and shut the doors.
20. Literally anything a corporation does that they can be fined for is taken into account as a business expense.
If it's cheaper to pay an illegal dumping fine than it is to change the way they process waste nothing will be done to stop the illegal dumping. My company didn't want to encrypt its computers and just paid a fine every year they didn't do it, until the fine got astronomically huge. Then they rushed through encryption and killed like 200 computers, costing themselves about $1000 per machine.
I've learned businesses are not smart. They just set things up so that the circumstances are inconsequential when they make bad choices. Businesses are made up of people, and people are often terrible about thinking and planning in the long term. Many businesses die because they look to maximize short term profits rather than ensuring long term stability."
21. Working when you are sick.
I have heard stories of bosses forcing people to come in despite being extremely ill, with threats of their job if they aren't there. Meanwhile they could be entertaining a temperature of over 100.
22. Taking advantage of schedules.
I just wish that it would be mandatory schedule length of at least two weeks if the hours are not the same every day. Mine changes weekly, and it's hard to plan anything. I worked at a gas station that did this. We had a computer system for people to request off that would literally remove them from the schedule for that time period (so there was no way for the manager to schedule them if they had asked off).
The manager wouldn’t give us a password for the computer system, saying it malfunctions all the time so he prefers to do everything on paper. So every Friday when the schedule came out, we had to double check that he hadn’t scheduled us during times we couldn’t work.
He was constantly scheduling me to work during times I had class, despite telling me in my interview that he could work around my schedule. When I complained he tried to say that I should be a “responsible adult” and work, since school is only meant to prepare a person to work anyway. I not so politely informed him that I had no intention of being a gas station attendant at 60 like he was, and I would not, under any circumstances, skip class to work.
23. Letting an employee go/easing them out instead of addressing a situation they brought up.
The first person to blame with ANY employee situation is the manager. Did they interview right? Did they communicate right? Did they train right? Did the manage expectations right? Did the provide corrective action? Did they work with the employee to succeed?
Only if all that fails did the employee fail. But by that point, so many write ups and other communication should have happened that the employee isn't surprised by the termination.
24. People don't care about your luggage or parcel.
They get dropped, thrown around everyday behind the close door, especially heavy items. I remember looking out the plane window at the luggage handlers (I do not recommend this) in Birmingham (US). They were dropping boxes, kicking things halfheartedly to push them in, acting like junior high kids given chores they don't want to do. Their orange vests hung shoddily from their shoulders as they shuffled around on the tarmac.
Many hours later we arrived in Japan. The luggage handlers had white gloves (seriously), signaled each other in their transport carts, signaled and stopped even when no one seemed near, really took their jobs seriously.
I don't suggest nothing ever gets lost in Japan and I know Japan isn't perfect. But the difference was striking.
25. Contract Hire.
Ok so this is becoming really common in my neck of the woods. Basically a company need someone to fill a role. Instead of giving them a job and all the perks like paid holidays etc they instead hire you as a contractor. This means you still have to play by their rules as to when they want you in but you get non of the perks besides your wage. No sick days, no holidays nothing.
To be clear, I'm not referring to high paying jobs where a lot of the time being a contractor is the way to go. This system has been implemented over here for retail/service jobs. You end up making less since you get paid the same as permanent workers but you are entitled to no bonuses, paid holiday or sick days. When you're working a minimal wage job this is nasty.
26. Paying invoices late.
Especially BIG companies that pay a few months late. It kills small business, and seems to be quite normal here in the UK. My father did some work on a solicitors' building, and they didn't pay.
My mother noticed after a month they hadn't paid, and went up to have a word.
The receptionist said "That's fine, i'll get it sorted and we'll post the cheque to you".
My mother said "I live across the road, i can see my house from here; i'll just take the cheque".
The receptionist said "I'll need to get the owner to write the check".
My mother said "I can wait".
The receptionist went back to work.
My mother waited.
The receptionist did nothing further to get the cheque and was talking to clients in the waiting area.
My mother confronted her and said it's cool, she can just go through to the back room and talk to the owner.
The receptionist called the owner in.
[Whole bunch of arguments and bloody haggling for time in front of the clients]
My father got paid.
27. Unethical Gender Hires
How common it was for a woman to be hired (in the tech industry mainly) basically to flirt with potential male business clients.
"When my boss decides that he wants to fund or buy out a project, my job is essentially to throw the clients off their game so that when it comes to negotiating a deal, my boss will have the upper hand. Most of the guys that come in to pitch their ideas are tech guys and are really nerdy so they're fairly easy to manipulate. The girl that I'm replacing has been training me for two weeks now. This week is my first week going solo. I think that a lot of companies do this but I still feel kind of guilty about it - like I'm taking advantage of them or something."
Building a thing to "specs" but not entirely up to full functionality. Knowing the issues that can/will arise, doing nothing about it, and then make the government cut a whole different (and very profitable) contract to fix said problems.
29. False advertising
My food never looks like it does on the menu. My internet is never as fast as advertised. The contractor never finishes when he says he will.
30. Selling customer data
No words can express how unethical this is, especially when it's done covertly.
31. Student loans in the US
Little to no approval process...they just give it. High interest rates. Refuse to settle, can't be discharged in bankruptcy.
They follow people well into their 40's, limiting their buying power for houses, cars, other stuff.
17-18 year olds have no idea what they are signing because we conveniently provide them no education on the process up until they have to decide whether to sign or not.
32.Not including wage info in the job posting
At least post the range or minimum for the position. The salary is "dependent on experience". Then they inflate the job requirements so they justify paying you less, since you don't have all the experience they want.