Exploitation is the act of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work. It can happen in the working world, especially to young workers. But just because it’s common, doesn’t make it okay. Here are some signs to look out for.
Not getting paid
Imagine putting in long hours to get things done, only to not get paid on your agreed pay date. That’s the worst, right? This is a sign of exploitation. No one wants to work for free, especially if that was never part of the agreement (usually contractual between you and your employer). If you’re not volunteering, you should be getting paid the agreed amount on the agreed pay date. If that doesn’t happen or payments are often delayed, you’re being taken advantage of.
Your time off isn’t respected
Annual, sick and even maternity leave are things you’re entitled to as an employee. On these days, you’re permitted to log out of everything that’s work related. Don’t feel bad for not taking work calls during this time- no one should be calling you about work in the first place, it’s your day/s off and that should be respected. Once you’re made to work on your days off, that’s overtime that you should be compensated for. And if you aren’t- that’s a red flag and chances are you’re being exploited.
Others getting credit for your work
It’s okay to work as a team and share the credit, but if you do all the work and someone else’s credited for it- that’s a bad sign. You putting in work and getting nothing out of it, not even something as small as a “good job” or pat on the back, is a telling sign you’re being used for your work, but you have nothing to show for it.
Your health or safety are compromised
Your working environment is meant to be good for you in every sense- mentally, emotionally and physically. Once your health is compromised or your life is endangered in the workplace, you should be worried and question why that is. Every company should have measures in place that prioritise the safety of all employees. When a company fails to do that, be alarmed. Being expected to fully function and work in an environment that isn’t safe has exploitation written all over it.
Extra work, no pay
Going over and above in your job definitely gets the thumbs up from us. But that should breed some kind of reward- preferably monetary. If you find your work expecting you to work overtime, but not compensating you for it, that’s a violation of your rights and you’re being exploited.
It’s important to read your contract and even get a second opinion on it, preferably from someone you trust in the legal or human resource sector. At times, the details are in the fine print which is why understanding your contract is so important. Always pay careful attention to how you’re being treated, and report the red flags when they come up. You can also reach out to us for private advice on AskCellCgirl.