Loyalty is long gone. Whatever loyalty employers had to a company went out the window when the businesses stopped caring for the workers whose labor produced profits.
A story in the popular anti-work community highlights just how far some companies go to exploit their workers.
Discovering the Mistreatment
Though the Original Poster (OP) of the story wasn’t the affected party, she came to Reddit to share the tale she learned during a job interview.
She was interviewing the victim for a position at her company, and upon questioning her about her work history, she discovered how much her previous employer took advantage of her.
A Personal Trainer
As it turned out, the interviewee, a mother to two kids, worked as a personal trainer. She worked at OP’s primary competitor for five years, making $22 per hour.
Not As Much As It Seems
$22 per hour seems like a decent amount for a personal trainer, but the interviewee’s boss found a clever loophole that ensured she didn’t make more than a measly $154 per week despite working for 30 hours each week.
How Is That Possible?
As it turned out, the competing gym only pays its trainers for training hours with clients. The victim spent seven of her thirty working hours training with clients. Therefore, she was only paid for seven hours.
She wasn’t even given clients. As a trainer, it was incumbent upon her to chat with folks at the gym, build relationships, and market her services. She spent a lot of time in the gym working to get clients, but all this time was unpaid.
But She Can’t Set Her Hours
Despite the fact that she’s only paid for hours of training, her boss demanded she be present for thirty hours per week. When she wasn’t training or marketing to new clients, she was responsible for managing the gym’s operation.
The working mom had to clean the facility, re-rack weights, answer phones, welcome guests, and pick up other small tasks as they came up. All of this work was unpaid.
How is this Legal?
Most users of the subreddit questioned the legality of her situation.
“That sounds hideously illegal in, well, almost everywhere with any semblance of employment protection,” said one user.
OP stated that the boss classified her as a 1099 independent contractor rather than a W2 employee, meaning she’s an independent contractor.
Many companies use this loophole to exploit workers, and most workers don’t know that it is illegal. Sometimes, small business owners don’t even realize it’s illegal; they just pick the form that earns their business more profits.
In most cases, if an employer sets your schedule and has standards/guidelines for completing a job, it should be classified as W2 rather than 1099.
The 1099 form is only for contract workers, who generally set their hours and work plans and use their tools to complete the job. A company can’t tell a 1099 contractor how, where, or when to do the work the way they can with a W2 worker.
She Was Misclassified
Because the personal trainer was required to be on-site for 30 hours per week and required to perform tasks associated with gym operation, it’s likely her employer misclassified her.
This type of misclassification is common tax fraud for employers, and the trainer likely has a great case with the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service.
In this case, she should consult with an employment lawyer, as she’s probably entitled to back pay for the five years of employment. In addition, all of her coworkers laboring under the same system are also entitled to compensation.
Companies Bank on Employee Ignorance
The company likely knows what it’s doing, but because they’ve gotten away with it for so long, it isn’t likely to change unless someone initiatives legal action.
It’s imperative that employees know their rights and continue to fight for proper treatment. Corporations don’t care about workers; they’ll exploit you at every opportunity, as this story showcases.