The Telltale Signs Your Boss is Exploiting You

Exploiting Boss

Are you in a job where you feel you’re working too hard? Perhaps you often feel stressed, tired, and burnt out. On the other hand, it may have crossed your mind that your boss is exploiting you and that’s why you feel overwhelmed and struggle to switch off at the end of the day. You need to be aware of the signs your boss is exploiting you. Not only could the exploitative practices be damaging your mental health, but some of it could also be illegal in nature. Watch for the following telltale signs of unfair treatment.

Always Working Overtime Without Pay

There is no legal requirement for companies to pay employees for working overtime, so long as this prospect is mentioned in an employee’s contract. Unfortunately, though, many businesses do not clarify this point in contracts, yet still expect workers to put in extra hours for free.

Exploiting Boss Overtime

Of course, it would be reasonable for companies to expect employees to sometimes stay late to finish an important project or meet a vital deadline. However, it seems that in the UK there is a culture of unpaid overtime. It’s become quite commonplace. Unpaid overtime is pushed to such extreme lengths that it gets in the way of an employee having a personal

While unpaid overtime isn’t always technically illegal, it can still be exploitative. So if your boss is constantly asking you to work overtime, without pay or time off in lieu, then this should be a cause for concern.

Not Getting the Holiday You Deserve

We all need holidays to recharge and de-stress. A business must provide employees with a certain number of holidays by law because they are so crucial to protecting the well-being of workers. But while this may be the case, many employees will get through a year of work without taking their full allotment of holiday time.

Exploiting Boss Holiday

While employees can’t take time off whenever they want, since an employer is within their rights to turn down certain holiday requests, all employees are entitled to the total amount of holiday enshrined in law. If you are not getting the holiday you deserve, then this is a clear sign of exploitation.

An employer can decline annual leave requests if they have a business to do so. Many employers also have rules about the maximum amount of time you can take off in one go to prevent employees having long absences from work. But when bosses do not give employees holiday time that they are entitled to or that is reasonable given the circumstances, then this could be a form of exploitation.

You Keep Getting Paid Late

Exploiting Boss Pay

No one likes to deal with late payments. It’s just stressful. If you are constantly getting paid late, then this means you have to worry about being able to pay your rent on time, as well as being able to afford everything else in your life. Sometimes late payment can be justified. But if it becomes common practice from your boss, then it’s unacceptable. Constant late payments are an issue that you should raise with HR, as they should be able to resolve the issue.

Doing Many More Tasks Than Expected

In many job contracts, employers will mention that employees can be expected to fulfil any other duties not specified in the job description. This can sometimes mean helping with a colleague’s work or projects when they’re away on leave or doing other tasks based on changing circumstances. This is quite commonplace. Nevertheless, like with unpaid overtime, many employers do take this practice to extreme lengths.

Exploiting Boss Tasks

If your boss is overburdening you with all sorts of tasks (including ones that you’re not qualified to do), it could be one of the signs your boss is exploiting you. You may have so many different tasks that you can’t really give your main duties the attention they deserve. Furthermore, you may be tasked with so many assignments and responsibilities that you have to work late into the night, sacrificing time with friends and family – and on hobbies – as a result.

It’s Difficult to Switch Off

Does your boss expect you to reply to emails first thing in the morning and after work as well as on holiday? If yes, then you probably find it difficult to switch off from work mode. When your boss wants you to always ‘be on the ball’ and to hustle like crazy, this can mean you have to forgo any sense of work-life balance. They may put so much pressure on you at work that, even when you are ar home and trying to relax, you still feel stressed about your boss’s demands. If your boss isn’t respecting the fact that you have a life outside work (which is necessary for your overall satisfaction with work), then this is another telltale sign of exploitation.

Exploiting Boss Switch Off

If any of these points resonate with you, it’s important to immediately speak to HR about the issue. It is their job to resolve these sorts of conflicts and ensure that you are being treated in a fair manner, with your rights and well-being both taken care of. And remember – if you see the signs your boss is exploiting you, and it seems unfixable, then it may be time to start looking for a new job.

You shouldn’t have to put up with mistreatment. It will just end up worsening your well-being and career development in the long run. If you do decide to start a new career, make sure you really get a sense of what it will be like to work for your new boss. Ideally, you want to be able to view your boss as a mentor, rather than an enemy, as this kind of employer-employee relationship is an essential aspect of meaningful and rewarding work.

Sam Woolfe

Sam Woolfe is a freelance writer with more than 8 years' experience writing and blogging. His main areas of interest include mental health and psychology and using the insights from these fields to better inform his writing on productivity. You can find more of his work at