A user on Reddit has sparked the age-old issue of “horrible bosses” after posting, “Got called ‘a poor team player’ and received a verbal warning for this when I came into my next shift. Would put in my two weeks if it wasn’t just a summer job” in a post that has received nearly 10,000 uplikes.
They then post a text interaction between themselves and their boss:
Boss: Hey [name deleted] called in sick. Can you work 2-9?
Reddit User: Unfortunately I can’t tonight, it’s my brothers birthday
Boss: I understand. We could let you at 8:30 so you have time to celebrate
Reddit User: We have dinner reservations at 6:15
Boss: Can you see if you can push it back? We really need another server tonight and you didn’t cover [name deleted] shift last week
Reddit User: Sorry we can’t change our reservations for this. Good luck!
The Right to Disconnect
The right to disconnect refers to an employees right to be able to disengage from their work and not reply to emails, calls, texts from workplace personnel during non-work hours.
The French government adopted the right to disconnect into its Labor Code in 2016 in response to a report on the impact of digital technology on employees, which supported the right to a professional disconnect, as well as a study that revealed that 37 percent of workers were using digital work tools outside of working hours and that 62 percent workers wanted more regulation.
The COVID-19 pandemic had led to huge changes in working from home, with many employees working from home at least one day a week. This is an advantage in many ways, however the Office of National Statistics found that people in the U.K. who work from home work extra unpaid hours per week, which experts believe is affecting mental health.
Other European countries have since followed France’s example. Late last year Portugal banned bosses from contacting employees when they’re off the clock, and in January, Belgium declared that civil servants no longer have to have contact with their employers outside of working hours. Spain and Ireland have also approved right-to-disconnect laws. In 2021 in Canada, the province of Ontario passed Bill 27, Working for Workers Act 2021, requiring some employers to define their expectations around disconnecting from work however, as of yet there are no explicit requirements in the law about what the policy needs to contain. The U.S. government has not as yet put any policies in place despite experts and former New York City councilman Rafael Espinal advocating the move, citing the law as crucial in the U.S. “to tackle a crucial catalyst of workforce burnout.”
‘Never Explain Yourself’
We’ve all had bosses who have no problem at all eating in to our non-working lives, whether its assigning us a task one minute before sign off, or emailing on the weekend, and it’s a tricky situation to navigate. “Never explain yourself—’I am not available on this short notice’ Nothing more” said one user, while another agreed, “That seems to be the best advice for this. Knowing my boss they still wouldn’t take the hint and would pry even more.”
Some people firmly ignore out of office messages, “Just don’t reply after that. I don’t even answers texts when I’m off work” said one, “Even better don’t answer at all,” said another, “They have no idea where you are or what you’re doing.”
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