America has a notoriously toxic work culture. Employees have little to no protection against bosses who try to take advantage of them.
Americans don’t have any rules that guarantee paid vacation time – they can’t even stay home from work when they’re sick!
That’s why finding a job that offers paid time off is so crucial, but even they abuse it.
One worker came to the internet seeking advice after leaving a shift early. The manager asked for volunteers to go home, as it was a slow day and they had too many people working.
The story’s Original Poster (OP) volunteered with the understanding that they wouldn’t get paid for the hours they missed.
Timesheet Doesn’t Add To 40
A few days later, during timesheet week, the manager approached OP, shocked that their timesheet didn’t add up to 40 hours.
OP reminded the manager that they went home early one day per the manager’s request.
Manager Demands 40 Hours
The manager refused to approve the timesheet with less than 40 hours. They demanded OP use their earned paid time off to fill the gaps.
After some back and forth, OP finally relented, feeling like they had no choice.
They came to the internet, wondering if what their boss did was legal and whether they had any recourse.
Unfortunately, the Department of Labor has few protections for workers. Although no one on the internet should be considered an employment lawyer, most users advised OP to check their employment contract to see whether there’s any written policy for using paid time off.
If the policy states they must use PTO to reach 40 hours before using any leave without pay, OP likely doesn’t have a chance.
Talk To an Expert
OP’s best bet is to speak with an expert. They can file a complaint with the Department of Labor (or their state’s equivalent) or seek a consultation with an employment lawyer.
The bad news is that since PTO isn’t mandated, there probably aren’t any protections for how a workplace makes employees use it.
A Symptom of America’s Messed-Up Work Culture
OP’s story shows as a shining example of America’s toxic work culture. Companies hold all the cards. They make and enforce their arbitrary rules, and workers must take it if they want to make enough money to survive.
We need a paradigm shift. We need to rethink our views of work and profits and prioritize life, happiness, and the little guy over ever-increasing corporate profits.
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