Members of a popular internet forum were quick to call out one employer who accused an employee of stealing wages they were allegedly never owed.
In a viral Reddit post published on r/antiwork, Redditor u/DannoWhamo wrote that they began logging hours they were forced to work during their days off, and explained what happened when their employer found out. Titled, “Got told I’m committing wage theft for clocking in when boss calls me for hour long meetings,” the viral post has received more than 30,500 votes and nearly 1,200 comments.
Beginning with the explanation that they spend most days off in work-related meetings, and completing other work-related tasks, u/DannoWhamo said they devised a plan to ensure they were compensated for their extra effort.
“Basically I got tired of spending my days off glued to my phone and laptop so I started logging hours outside of my work day that I am bothered with work related issues,” the Redditor wrote.
After their boss found out, u/DannoWhamo was accused of stealing company time.
“My boss told me I’m stealing hours from him,” the Redditor wrote. “But is he not making me work on my days off and using my time?”
Wage theft, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), is “the practice of employers failing to pay workers the full wages to which they are legally entitled.”
Although wage theft affects millions of American workers (the EPI reports that wage theft accounts for billions of dollars in lost wages each year), accusations of employees stealing time from employers fall under another umbrella of supposed thievery: time theft.
Defined by TLNT, an online resource for employee management advice, as “time for which employees get paid that was not spent in pursuit of one’s assigned tasks,” time theft is a major concern for employers across the country.
With employees reportedly “stealing” an average of 4.5 hours per week and costing employers billions of dollars annually, the collective crackdown on time theft in workplaces has been swift and dramatic.
However, time theft usually comes as a result of unclear directions and having to split attention between conflicting tasks. And in cases like the one described in the viral Reddit post, additional work-related requests during non-work hours force employees to handle personal affairs on company time.
While conflicts between employers and employees about potentially stolen time and wages have raged on for centuries, online discourse surrounding both issues has come to a head as more American workers have quit their jobs in the last year, than any other time in the country’s history.
Toxic work cultures, as well as poor work-life balances, both serve as major factors for employees torn between staying and leaving, and in cases of employees not being compensated for the work they complete while off the clock, many have chosen the latter.
In the comment section of the viral post, Redditors were in agreement that u/DannoWhamo was justified to log the hours they spent working on days off, and that the original poster’s employer was mistaken in accusing them of wage theft.
“Boss doesn’t know what ‘wage theft’ means,” Redditor u/Salt-Selection-8425 wrote, receiving nearly 16,000 votes.
“HE is stealing time from YOU and doesn’t want to pay,” they continued. “What you’re doing is thwarting wage theft.”
Redditor u/rcuadro, whose comment has received more than 1,200 votes, responded to the post with a similar message.
“It is wage theft,” they commented. “The victim was incorrectly identified by your boss though.”
“Ask your boss why he is being fraudulent by asking you to work and trying not to pay you,” Redditor u/Blarty97 added.
In a separate comment, which has also received more than 1,200 votes, Redditor u/EasternShade said the original poster’s boss should have been more clear about their expectations during days off, and that he should be grateful for employees who are willing to work, even when they are not scheduled to.
“Don’t me clocking in? Don’t have me doing work,” they commented. “Want me to do work? Expect me to clock in.”
“You’re welcome for being available to work during unscheduled off hours,” they added.
Newsweek reached out to u/DannoWhamo for comment.