Fury as Boss Expects Co-Worker to Reply to Out-of-Hours Email: 'HR Action'

The internet has slammed a boss for sending an email at 9 p.m. on a Friday and expecting the employee to respond over the weekend.

In a post on Reddit's popular r/antiwork forum, where users from around the world are encouraged to share their experiences at work and air grievances about the workplace, user u/do_nut_worry wrote: "Boss sends email on Friday 9 pm asking for info by Saturday. Calls me on Sunday and blast over the phone for not responding to the email even after I told him that I was traveling on some personal work."

The employee continued to explain that one thing led to another, and they eventually snapped. "Now he wants me to apologize to him and has threatened to take HR action," wrote the Redditor: "What should I do? It doesn't feel right to apologize for not looking at email on weekends and being shouted at for this."

Man working late at night
A picture of a man looking at his computer late at night, left, and a stock image of a new email on a computer screen, right. The internet has slammed a boss for expecting an employee to respond to an email sent late at night on a Friday. dusanpetkovic/Sitthiphong/Getty Images

In the U.S., the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires overtime pay to be at least one and one-half times an employee's regular rate of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek. While there are some exemptions and overtime laws vary in different states, employees should only have to work the hours that their contract states without extra compensation.

The worker's dilemma is not uncommon. In fact, a recent study has found that the boundaries between work and home life have never been more blurred. A study conducted in line with the shift to home-working in 2020 caused by the COVID-19 pandemic revealed that employees are working longer, spending more time in meetings, and trying to keep up with communication. Almost 70 percent of remote workers reported clocking in extra working time over the weekends.

In more than 900 comments, Reddit users rushed to share their reactions and advice to the employee. One commenter said: "Unless your social contract states you're on call 24/7, he violated your space."

Another Redditor wrote: "Email HR explaining that your boss called you outside of work hours while you were not on call and demanded, aggressively, that you work unauthorized overtime on a Sunday. And that it appears to relate to an email sent to you at 9 pm on Friday. Which demanded you work on Saturday, presumably unpaid."

According to statistics from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), American workers work an average of 1,767 hours per year compared to an OECD country average of 1,687. Hours worked in the U.S. amount to 435 more a year than German workers, 400 more than those in the United Kingdom, and 365 hours more than French workers.

"Definitely do not apologize," said another reply: "You're not in the wrong."

"Unless you have an on-call provision in your contract, he can go jump," wrote another Redditor before suggesting: "I'd actually raise a case myself to HR complaining about the expectation of work being done without agreement on weekend working."

Newsweek has reached out to u/do_nut_worry for comment. We were unable to verify the details of this case.

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