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That Sounds Super Illegal

, , , , , | Working | May 15, 2022

I worked at a pet store chain. We were often expected to work off the clock, including helping customers on unpaid breaks and clocking out before helping close.

I always told them that I wasn’t going to work without being paid. In return, they called me greedy and “not a team player.”

Apparently, this multibillion-dollar company can’t afford an extra few bucks to pay a minimum-wage employee if they stay late to close or work on their “break”.

Some Bosses Don’t Understand Boundaries

, , , , , , | Working | May 3, 2022

The company that I was working for at the time had very low pay for the work we were doing. I got a new car in the first year of my employment and there was no paid vacation. As a result, I didn’t take a vacation for seven years so I could maintain my car payments.

However, in 2019, a friend of mine paid to fly my wife and me from Hawaii to Missouri for a wedding, so I put my foot down with management and told them that I would be gone. I submitted notice of the trip in May of 2018, which was seventeen months ahead of the September 2019 fly-out date.  

By the time September rolled around, I had been working not only for seven years without taking a vacation but also, recently, seven-day weeks due to the company’s inability to hold a staff together. 

Making just under eighty hours a week, I was exhausted but I had maintained constant notice to the company that I would be gone, which they approved and accepted because they knew how hard I had been working. 

The day we were to fly out, I got two texts and a phone call from my direct boss, the person just above me on the ladder. I answered the call.

Boss: “Hey, [My Name], I need timesheets for your crew. Could you submit them today or tomorrow?”

Me: *Politely* “I cannot; I am currently awaiting departure at the Honolulu International Airport, which you have been informed about several times over the last year.”

Boss: “Well, could you take a moment to put the sheets together on your laptop and send them?

Me: “I can’t. I don’t have my laptop with me.”

Boss: *Angrily* “Why not?! It is your responsibility to get timesheets to me when needed!”

This was despite the fact that I was already up to date and the next set of sheets wasn’t due for another three days, a task I had left to my assistant.

Me: “I have no intention of doing any work this trip. This is my first vacation in seven years. You have had notice of my exact flight itinerary. You need to call [Coworker], who I left in charge of my people.”

This seemed to anger him even more, but I hung up the phone.

He proceeded to text me throughout the first four days of our trip, asking me for paperwork, and asking if he could borrow members of my crew to assist a short-staffed one. He asked about emails and equipment requests, and I ignored every single one of them. 

Just before the wedding started, I blacklisted my boss’s cellphone number and office extension on my phone to stop the calls and prevent any interruptions during the ceremony.

Fast forward two weeks. I had been back for a week now. My boss called me on the company phone and he was pissed. 

I had never taken the blocks off of his phone numbers.

Boss: “Why have you been ignoring my calls and text messages?!”

These are specifically in my off time because he has still been contacting me on the work phone during my work hours daily.

Me: “I blocked you.”

Of course, this didn’t sit well with him.

Boss: “Remove the restriction so that I can contact you when I need to!”

Me: “No. My phone is my personal phone, I pay the bill, and I decide what the usage for it is. There is nothing in my contract that states that I need to be contactable twenty-four-seven and nothing stating that a personal number is required. You having my number has been a privilege, not a requirement. You have abused that privilege and subsequently lost it.”

He started to yell, but I had been prepared for this since my return since I deliberately left his number blocked. I picked up a copy of my work contract from my desk where it had been sitting since my first day back. I thumbed through it.

Me: “Do you want to read it yourself? I can scan it and send it through. From now on, you can contact me while I am at work and I have the company phone on me.” 

He was livid, mostly because I had cut him off, and apparently, he went to file a complaint with Human Resources. 

I got a phone call from the HR department only forty-five minutes later, but it wasn’t what I expected. 

HR was calling to ask if I wanted to file a complaint against him! Allegedly, he had filed a complaint for insubordination and explained the situation to them. They had told him in no uncertain terms that I had every right to block him on my personal phone and then turned around and dinged him for contacting me while I was on vacation in the first place. 

At the time, my boss and I were normally on okay terms. I was happy enough that HR had backed me up and knocked him down a few pegs, so I declined to file a complaint. 

It took a while, but eventually, things fell back into place and we started working together as we always had… kind of, sort of okay-ish.

Who’s Worse: The Customer For Calling Or The Coworker For Encouraging It?

, , , , | Right Working | March 31, 2022

I had a customer that my coworker was friends with, and I used to see the customer outside work. She’d say hi and ask how I was doing or whatever.

One night, at like 7:00 pm, I got a call on my cell phone from an unknown number.

Me: “Hello?”

Customer: “Hi! This is [Customer]! I’d like to order some items…”

My coworker GAVE THIS CUSTOMER MY PERSONAL CELL PHONE NUMBER! She was trying to order stuff while I was AT HOME.

I blocked her number. The coworker who gave her my number had already quit so nothing could really be done work-wise.

The customer very much avoids me in public since I blocked her.

Even If You Don’t Take Your Work Home With You… It Finds You

, , , | Right | March 29, 2022

I worked at an indie movie theater. I was enjoying a nice, fancy dinner with my husband when someone at the table next to me recognized me.

After a brief, but friendly acknowledgment, the guy thought that it was an appropriate time to quiz me.

Man: “Hey, can you tell me what movies you’re showing, and what they’re about?”

If Only You Put This Much Effort Into Your Actual Work

, , , , , | Working | February 1, 2022

I’m called in to help support a meeting with an angry employee taking out his frustrations on Human Resources. I get there a little early to see what the issue is. It turns out that [Employee] has been demanding a meeting because he claims that he hasn’t been paid overtime. He has already been sent away twice because of his aggressive attitude, so they’ve asked me to sit in to ensure things don’t get out of hand.

[Employee] turns up, slams the door shut, and sits down.

HR Representative: “This is [My Name]; he works with me and knows more about the wages and the clocking-in system.”

Employee: “Oh! Ganging up on me?!”

Me: “Nothing like that. We want to ensure that you get your issue sorted, and I think I might be able to help.”

Employee: “Whatever, I just want my money!”

Me: “Okay, so how much do you think you are owed?”

Employee: “I don’t think! I know! I haven’t been paid for fifty hours this year!”

[Employee] is paid hourly. I’m not sure how he has accumulated fifty hours of extra pay, especially when overtime is being cracked down on massively.

Me: “Okay, wow. Sure, I can see why you are annoyed. Do you have the hours when you haven’t been paid?”

Employee: “Well, it’s all on my time card. You can check there!”

Me: *Sigh* “Help us out, [Employee]. You must have gotten the number of hours from somewhere.”

Employee: “For f***’s sake, I’m doing your job for you again!”

I bite my tongue and let him storm out. It’s several more days before the next meeting. He arrives again, this time with a stack of papers.

Employee: “I did it — did your job! See, every page.”

Me: “[Employee], it isn’t the role of HR to review your pay. It’s finance, okay? We are here to help.”

Employee: “Fat lot of help so far.”

Me: “Let’s just go through your papers.”

Every page has a week of his hours. He has highlighted every day he was early one, two, or five minutes. Adding these up throughout the year, I can see how he has amassed fifty hours.

Me: “Okay, [Employee], I’m not going through all of them. Can you tell me how you apply for overtime?”

Employee: “I fill out the form and put it in at the end of the week.”

Me: “Did you do it for any of these times?”

Employee: “Well, no, but—”

Me: *Interrupting* “And did anyone ask you to come in early?”

Employee: “Well, no, but I was working! I should get paid!”

I told him that we don’t pay just because someone decides to come in early when they haven’t been asked to do. He stormed off, threatening to quit, along with a long list of expletives.

When I told his boss this, he was shocked; [Employee] had more warnings than anyone for being late at his station. He must have been rushing to clock in and then going straight to the break room until someone told him to start work.

[Employee] didn’t get into any trouble then, but he was fired over some other issue not long after.