This article was originally written by Alex for the Helium.com titles:
Most people who have jobs and work on a day to day basis need their jobs to earn a living, buy food, to pay their rent/mortgage, help support a family, and to live a satisfied life. Unfortunately, it is this basic need for survival that can open up an employee to exploitation.
When a person grows afraid of losing their job because they don’t think they will be able to survive without it, they become more apt to tolerate working in an environment they don’t like or even hate. They become more apt to being used and treated badly by their employers because they don’t want to risk quitting or being fired if they confront their employer about the problems they are having.
Some employers see this fear as an opportunity and thus use it to take advantage of their workers. When companies exploit their employees, they are doing so to save profits. They tend to do this in many ways such as not paying their employees what they deserve, overworking them to exhaustion, treating them unfairly, and not giving them credit for their work.
It is likely that at some point during your working life, you will experience some form of exploitation by your employer. This article is intended as a resource to help you determine if you are being exploited by your employer, as well as steps you can take to deal with this stressful and daunting experience.
There are many ways that a company can exploit an employee, and here is a list of the major ways in which an employer will do this:
1. Not being paid for the true value of your work
This is a major way that employers take advantage of their employees. They will pay you less than you think you deserve to make. Every dollar a company saves by not paying you what you deserve, the company keeps as a profit. It’s sad and unfair, and a horrible feeling to know that you aren’t being properly compensated. If you feel as if you aren’t earning the money you think you deserve at your job, I recommend visiting Salary.com. This web site will help you find out the true value of your work by comparing the work you do with other people who work similar jobs in your area. It’s a very good way to find out if people doing the same work as you are making more money.
2. Not being credited for your work
Often when an employee is being exploited by his/her employer, they will not receive credit for their work or another employee (such as a supervisor) will even take credit for the work of the employee. These types of credit can be anything from not receiving praise or a simple thanks for work being done, as well as not receiving bonuses and raises when they are deserved.
3. Being Overworked
Another typical way an employer will take advantage of an employee is by overworking them. Overworking an employee can include making them work very long shifts with few breaks, making them work many days without days off, or not providing an adequate work environment or equipment that allows the employee to get his/her work done easily. Often the employee is very tired, lethargic, suffering from muscle pain, stressed or even depressed.
4. Unfair Treatment
Being treated unfairly at work really has a lot to do with the last three indicators of exploitation. When an employee is treated unfairly by an employer, it can also include preferential treatment of certain employees over others, racism, sexism, and any other bias that makes the employee feel as though they are not being treated fairly in the workplace.
These are typical ways to tell if you are being exploited by your employer. If you feel that you are being exploited at work, don’t lose hope! There are ways to help resolve the situation! These tips will help you to figure out the best solution for you:
1. Understand how you are being exploited.
If you have the general feeling that you are being exploited but aren’t sure why, the first thing to do is understanding the heart of where this feeling is coming from, then you can tackle it head on. Ask yourself these questions to help determine how you are being exploited:
Are you being paid what you truly deserve for your work?
Are you treated unfairly at work?
Are you a victim of racism, sexism, or any other prejudice?
Do you often feel very tired, suffer from muscle pain or depressed after working?
Do you receive credit and praise for the work you do?
Depending on how you answered these questions, you are closer to understanding the nature of your exploitation.
Employeeissues.com is a valuable web site that can help you understand what your rights are as an employee, and what you can do if you are experiencing problems at work. The site gives in-depth information on laws that help protect employees and can also provide services like referring you to an attorney. This is a great second step to understanding what you can do about your work related problem without having to confront anyone directly yet.
3. Talk to your boss or supervisor
Talking to a boss about problems you are having at work can often be an unnerving experience, but it is very important to remain confident and steadfast in your approach. Talk to your boss with respect, and not with an attitude, as this makes you look unprofessional and more than likely your concerns will be ignored.
Typically your boss should be willing to discuss your concerns and help you find a plan to help resolving them. Maybe your boss hasn’t noticed that you’ve been treated unfairly, overworked, or not being paid what you deserve. It happens sometimes, and you should be willing to give your boss the benefit of the doubt.
4. Talk to Human Resources
If your company has a human resources department, it is always a good idea to discuss with them your concerns and they can probably help you understand what your rights are as an employee and act as a mediator between you and you boss. This can sometimes help if your boss is difficult to deal with.
5. Talk to an attorney
If you have an attorney available to you offhand, this is another invaluable resource that can help you understand your rights as an employee and can help you get legal advice. If you don’t happen to have an attorney available, there are many free attorney referral services you can use. LegalMatch.com is one of these companies that provides a free matching service so people and businesses can find attorneys in their state to help with legal problems they have.
I know this may seem like a radical way to stop your problems at work, but in some situations it is the only way. The reason why most companies exploit their employees is that they know you are afraid to quit and will allow the exploitation to happen. You are a valuable person. You should never allow anyone to exploit you, especially an employer. Don’t work for an employer out of fear and because you don’t think you can get another job. There are new jobs available all the time and staffing/employment agencies that are eager to help find you work. I know, because I have used them before.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you are being exploited, there are things you can do to stop it. Once you understand the nature of your exploitation, you can find the people/services that can give you the best help possible. Remember that you are a valuable person, a human being, and shouldn’t be exploited no matter what the situation. Good luck!