Are You Being Taken Advantage of in the Workplace?
It's common knowledge that you must work hard to excel in today's professional world. From seeking the right degree to nailing a competitive interview, it's true that hard work can pay off, often leading to well-deserved promotions, raises, and even attaining your dream job. However, this isn't the case for every employee.
When it comes to working your way up the professional ladder, there is no exact science to accomplish your goals. Many employees are understandably confused and frustrated to find themselves stuck in a rut—even after years or even decades of investing their maximum effort into their work.
What happens when employees’ hard work is taken for granted or goes unnoticed? Keep reading to learn how to tell whether a company is taking advantage of its employees’ labor and loyalty.
4 Signs Your Boss Is Taking Advantage of You
What happens when employee efforts are exploited to benefit the company at the detriment of its workers? Sadly, this isn’t uncommon in today’s America. From refusing to pay fair compensation for labor to neglecting employees' safety for the sake of profit, there are various ways that employers can take advantage of U.S. employees, especially in our tech-addled modern workforce.
While hard workers typically demonstrate a range of admirable qualities, the unfortunate reality is that employers tend to take advantage of such traits. There are many favorable qualities in hardworking employees that companies can take advantage of, such as:
- Dependability – Being a dependable worker is typically a win-win for everyone, often ensuring smooth functioning in day-to-day operations. A dependable employee can complete tasks on time and be relied on in times of hardship. Unfortunately, many employers manipulate these employees by overworking them, overburdening them with a too-full plate, or setting ludicrous expectations for employee performance.
- Leadership – Employees with good leadership skills can inspire, lead, organize, and motivate others around them. They can empower fellow employees to achieve a common goal. However, a manipulative boss can use these leadership skills to their advantage by pawning off their personal responsibilities, failing to provide sufficient resources and support, and expecting the employee to perform or produce at a level without receiving fair time and compensation to achieve their goals.
- Perseverance – A perseverant employee does not give up easily and remains committed to achieving their goals. They’re willing to put in the effort required to achieve success regardless of difficulties. Companies can take advantage of such workers by assigning unreasonable workloads or impossible tasks, as many employers know full well that employees will stop at nothing to achieve them—even if it means giving up personal time on working nights or weekends.
Through no fault of their own, many employees can find it difficult to tell whether or not they’re being taken advantage of by a boss or company. Fortunately, there are some telltale signs to determine if your boss’s behavior is appropriate in the workplace.
Consider these top 4 signs that your boss or company is taking advantage of you at work:
1. Your boss’s personality fluctuates based on their needs.
Can your employer’s gruff voice turn to honey as soon as they need something? Do you notice your boss’s behavior change before they request that favor you knew was coming? If so, your employer might be taking advantage of your hard work. Recognizing these behavioral patterns can be an indication that your boss’s behavior is inappropriate or manipulative.
2. You’ve taken on additional responsibilities without additional compensation.
The concept of equal pay for equal work may seem simple enough, but you’d be surprised how easy it can be for employees to fall into negative patterns without realizing it.
In many cases, employers take advantage of employees by gradually accruing their workload over time—often with niceties or implications that a raise or promotion will follow—only for the employee to hear nothing but crickets long after they shoulder whatever burden they were asked to carry.
It's crucial for employees to know their worth and hold employers accountable for providing fair compensation. If you find yourself taking on the duties of a senior position without being offered a raise, this is likely a sign that it’s time to have a conversation with your boss to discuss the value of your labor and set clear expectations.
3. Your boss never puts their money where their mouth is.
Many bosses appear to say all the right things. If you're working for an employer who talks the talk without walking the walk, this could be a sign that your talent and hard work are being taken advantage of in the workplace. False promises are a common indication of this, as demonstrated in these examples:
- A boss who repeatedly assigns extra work with apologies or baseless assurances that “this is the last time!” they’ll ask
- A boss who promises that an employee’s hard work will eventually pay off in the form of a raise or promotion, but never does
- A boss who promises support or change after a certain time, but something always comes up to delay their promise
4. You feel obligated to say yes when more is asked of you.
Generally, people-pleasing behaviors stem from a positive place. Many employees who demonstrate people-pleasing behaviors are eager to be of service, resolve conflicts, and build lasting relationships. However, the professional sphere can become a cutthroat world for these susceptible employees if they aren’t careful.
Do you hear a reflexive “yes” leave your mouth every time a higher-up asks you for something at work? If so, you may be susceptible to manipulation in the workplace. Below are some signs that your good intentions are being taken advantage of at work:
- People have stopped asking whether you have time to take on more work
- You’re the first person people come to for favors or help with overspill work
- You say yes to things you don’t want to do for the sake of avoiding conflict or rocking the boat
Reliable Representation for Mid-South Employees
At Donati Law, PLLC, we have extensive experience advocating on behalf of workers throughout the Mid-South. Whether you were unfairly discriminated against in an interview or your boss refuses to reimburse you for company-related expenses, our dedicated employment law attorneys have the in-depth knowledge and drive to pursue the justice you deserve.
The average American spends one-third of their life at work, making it all the more crucial for employees to exercise their right to work in a safe environment free of harassment and discrimination. From gender discrimination to wage and hour violations, turn to a trusted employment law firm backed with over 150 years of collective legal experience to defend your employee rights.
Our employment lawyers have advocated for employee rights since 1980. If you’ve been mistreated at work, call (901) 209-5500 to schedule a consultation.