Employee Praised After Refusing Work Until Getting Paid: 'Important Lesson'

What would you do if your employer stopped paying you? Well one Redditor, who was in just that situation, decided enough was enough and decided to simply stop doing any work until the situation was corrected.

The Redditor, u/jcooper9099, described the situation in a post titled I didn't get paid. so I shut down and made demands, which has since gone viral, attracting over 28,000 upvotes and more than 2,200 comments.

The post was submitted to r/antiwork, Reddit's forum for "those who want to end work, are curious about ending work, want to get the most out of a work-free life." The OP (original poster) began by explaining that they work as a software developer and are typically paid once a month.

"I woke up on payday and found I had not been paid, for [one month] of work," u/jcooper9099 wrote. "I asked why and was told that it's a 'glitch.' Needless to say that as a software developer 'it's a glitch' is not a sufficient explanation."

A manager argues with an employee.
A poster on Reddit said that he refused to continue working in his job as a software developer because he had not been paid for a month's work. fizkes/fizkes/Getty

The user continued by saying that even though he had a team relying on him and a planned meeting with a client, they simply "left them all hanging and refused to answer their calls."

"I told my boss we can discuss my new salary when they deposit my entire paycheck," u/jcooper wrote. "My boss is scrambling to make excuses to me and the clients and is unhappy and the team is without senior leadership. So there is a lot of people wondering where I am right now and the projects are dead in the water."

In response to the post, fellow Redditors offered sympathy and affirmed OP's decision to protest their lack of pay.

For example, u/raincloud9 relayed a story about a restaurant that told all its employees that a "bank issue" meant everyone's pay would be delayed by a few days.

"My friend was the only one who showed up when the shift started, and said that unless they were all paid immediately they wouldn't be working," the user wrote. "Suddenly the owner found some money and called all the employees and said cash would be waiting for them when they got in. Funny how that works."

Another Redditor, u/edwadokun, suggested that OP check if any of their colleagues also haven't been paid, adding, "If it was an error with you, there's no reason they can't cut you a check/transfer. If you were being fired or quitting, they'd pay you THAT day what they owe you no problem."

"It's a good question," u/jcooper responded. "I'll ask them when they pay me. My boss did mention that it happened to others as well. I didn't dive into that as my only message to them was to pay me because I won't be retiring on excuses."

U/ArrEehEmm then chipped in, writing, "They could definitely cut you a check asap. Due to my own mistake, my direct deposit didn't go through because I didn't catch the error in time. I reached out to payroll who reached out to the VP and had an electronic check in 30min. With mobile deposit, I was good the next day. Too much tech out here for them to be slacking like this esp with you being paid monthly."

One Redditor added that they, too, had experienced a "payroll glitch" but noted that their employers ended up "driving around delivering checks."

"Everybody got theirs by the afternoon and were asked to contact the HR director if the missed direct deposit impacted us in anyway."

Other users concurred that this is exactly the way to handle a payroll glitch, with u/hellscaper writing, "See that's a proper way to handle it. Not some 'it'll be there at midnight' bulls***."

Likewise, u/cryinoverwangxian responded, "It's an important lesson. Any company worth its salt would immediately cut a check for you. They decided to make excuses instead, which implies you'd see more of the same in the future if you don't put your foot down now."

The r/antiwork subreddit is full of stories that appear to confirm what the available data indicates, that many Americans are no longer putting up with unsatisfactory workplace conditions. According to the findings of a Grant Thornton survey of more than 5,000 full-time employees of U.S. companies, an estimated 69 million American workers left their jobs in 2021, with 70 percent doing so voluntarily.

The survey found that the top reason for leaving a job was "base pay," which was followed by "work-life balance." In fact, 40 percent of those who left one job for another said that their new job offered them a salary that was at least 10 percent higher than their former pay. Additionally, when asked what is the greatest stressor in their life, the top response was "personal debt" (43 percent).

The OP later commented that his employers have "agreed to fully fix the issue by midnight," but added, "Still, that's too late." Once, again, fellow Redditors agreed, with u/cryinoverwangxian commenting, "You don't work til you get paid as agreed upon. I have no pity for any company that fouls up payroll like that. It's actually illegal in a lot of places."

U/Phr8's comment was exemplary of the overall response to OP's dilemma: "If they didn't immediately ask for your bank details to wire you money, they don't value you for what you're worth. Keep fighting the good fight bud, we'd all be lost without you software devs making everything work."

Newsweek reached out to u/jcooper9099.