Worker Backed for Walking Off Unfinished Job After Boss Denied Overtime Pay

Commenters were quick to support an employee who left a job site unfinished after their boss said they would not be paid overtime.

The anonymous employee, known only as u/SnooPickles1731, posted about their situation on Reddit's popular r/maliciouscompliance where it received nearly 18,000 votes and 300 comments in 17 hours, many praising the employee for not letting their boss take advantage of them. This comes as the U.S. saw a mass exodus of employees in 2020 and 2021, most of whom say they left to pursue better benefits or better pay, and several countries are opting for a four-day workweek to enhance work-life balance.

In the post titled "Company refuses to pay me overtime, I left jobsite with job incomplete and client unhappy," the employee explained that the situation occurred a few years ago, as they were "just starting to wake up to companies abusing employees," the employee wrote.

The employee said they were a sales rep and worked for a technology company.

"Two way radios and alarms to be specific," the post read.

The employee said they trained themselves because there was not enough technical staff. They asked the lead technician to teach them a few things and began doing most of their client's installations.

They explained that the manager of the technical department was happy with them doing the work and signed off on their timesheets and overtime hours, which averaged between two to five hours a week.

"It went well for a few months until one day just before payday I get called in by the MD/owner," the post read. "He had my timesheets for the past few months infront of him. He asked me what they were, and I gave him an explanation. He scratched my OT out, saying sales reps don't get paid OT."

The employee tried explaining why they were claiming overtime and that he could ask the technology manager, but he was "having none of it."

A week later, the employee was working on an installation about two hours away from the office. Although they were nearly finished, the employee told the apprentice technician to pack up for the day since he does not get paid overtime.

"Client wasn't happy, but understands that I don't get paid to work late," the post read.

Nearly 15 minutes later, the owner called and asked why they did not finish the job and said that the client was unhappy. The employee said they would not work late since they do not get paid overtime and that they told the client they would finish the job the next day.

"Silence for about 5 seconds as I assume he realised I was following his express instructions, and there was nothing he could do," the post read. "He told me to go back and finish the job and we can talk about it later. I told him no, unless he pays me OT. He says he will, I tell him to put it in an email before I will turn back."

The owner said he would send the email and the employee turned on their laptop and waited for the email to come through before driving back to finish the job.

"I got paid my overtime, and never again was there a query over my timesheets or hours booked," the post read. "I was the only rep out of 5 that got paid overtime."

In the United States, a new rule issued by the Department of Labor that became effective in January 2020 made it so that employees making less than $684 a week are considered nonexempt employees, requiring overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

Exempt employees, or salaried employees who make more than $684 a week, are not eligible for overtime pay.

Hundreds of users supported the employee in the comments, many praising them for not being taken advantage of by their boss and standing their ground.

"The 'email it before I turn around and go back' part was brilliant," one user commented. "Never forget to get it in writing!"

"Great job standing up for yourself. Short sighted and unappreciative management is the worst," another user added.

"Wish you'd taken that to the labor board. They can't refuse to pay for work done," another comment read. "But glad you got it in writing."

One user mentioned that although some companies do care about their staff, many companies do not have their employees' best intentions in mind.

"I stand up for myself now, even if it means I have to find a new job," the user wrote. "I also make every attempt to inform my coworkers at any job I have of their rights and the reality of the employee/employer relationship."

It's not the first time an employee who stood their ground with an employer has made the news.

One employee said his employer looked "utterly gobsmacked" when they turned in a letter of resignation after being berated for taking too much time off for a chronic illness.

Another employee turned in a resignation letter but revealed her boss played "weird mind games" with her afterward.

Newsweek reached out to u/SnooPickles1731 but did not receive comment in time for publication.

Employer refused to pay overtime
An anonymous employee went viral after posting on Reddit that they stood up to their boss after being refused overtime pay for work they'd already completed. designer491/iStock

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