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Manager commits wage theft, but employee maliciously complies, business goes under.

Manager commits wage theft, but employee maliciously complies, business goes under.


Companies will do anything to save a buck. Sometimes that means offloading costs onto consumers. underpaying their staff, or both. Employees and consumers may feel powerless, but sometimes being cautious of where you spend your money and unionizing with your co-workers can send a strong message.

On a popular Reddit thread in the Malicious Compliance Subreddit, an employee refuses to let the business he works for steal his wages, and they fire him for it, but then their business falls apart.

They write:

Many years ago, I worked at a place with many arcade games and pizza, similar to Chuck-E-Cheese. I was hired to do the maintenance, repair, and setup of these arcade machines. There was already someone there doing this, but they were never allowed to work more than forty hours a week, and the place was open seven days a week, nine hours a day (63 hours a week, not including prep for opening and cleanup after closing).

At the end of my first shift, I was told that I was also expected to help with cleanup since everyone that worked close had to help with cleanup. All my shifts were closing shifts. This meant I had less time before my morning classes than expected when taking the job, but a few extra bucks were valuable to a starving college student.

Fast forward about two months. The new manager (fresh out of high school) gets his big boy boots on and starts making rules. First rule: A schedule with everyone's hours for the next week will be posted by Friday morning.

Second rule: You must clock in before your posted shift start time, but not more than 5 minutes before your shift. Third rule: You must clock out at the end of your posted shift end time, no more than 5 minutes after.

At the end of my first shift, after these rules were created, I clocked out and left everyone else to do the cleanup. To be clear, it's not like I was getting time and half overtime or anything, all I expected was to be paid my normal rate, and they didn't want to pay even that, so I clocked out and left. At the beginning of my next shift, they were angry; they expected me to clock out and then work over an hour for free every single shift (these were only five-hour shifts, too!).

At the beginning of my next shift, the new manager was angry; they expected me to clock out and then work over an hour for free every single shift. I refused.

I refused. The next week they posted a new schedule with my shift ending an hour later. Since everyone saw the list, they all got mad. They were all just fine with wage theft until one person refused. The next week everyone had an extra hour on their shifts. At this point, his wage theft scheme had failed.

Fast forward a few weeks, and this new manager doesn't come in on Thursday. He doesn't come in until Monday. No schedule is posted. Monday afternoon, I go in to get my check and say, 'see you next week.' I'm told my shift started half an hour ago. I say I made plans since I wasn't on the schedule (no schedule means I couldn't be on it). The manager pointed to a schedule posted on the wall, printed just hours before (after some of the shifts had already started).

I thanked him for posting next week's schedule early and started to leave. Then I was threatened with termination, and I kept walking. I returned a week later and talked with the daytime guy doing the same job. He said it was a bad week; many machines were down, and he was walking around with like $100 in tokens because he was spending much of his time giving refunds, to the point he didn't have enough uninterrupted time to make any repairs.

He also kept a roll of masking tape to tape over the coin slots as the machines failed. This meant more use of the remaining machines, which started to show it quickly. I go to clock in and was told I had been fired. I smiled and walked out.

Spoke with the daytime guy a while later. They never filled my position (people with mechanical and electrical knowledge willing to work minimum wage are rare). Instead, he was getting fourteen hours a week in time-and-a-half overtime (with a base pay almost twice what I was getting). This extra expense came from the department budget, which also paid for replacement parts (even before this, it was never enough to buy enough parts).

This 'from the department budget' thing was from the same manager; he didn't want normal payroll to go up. For a while, everyone was carrying around $20 in tokens to give refunds. Still, all the comps were unacceptable to the manager, so now only the sales desk could issue refunds which meant ordering pizza took forever. Many people just left angry rather than waiting for a refund.

Most machines had tape over the token slots. This backup at the sales desk didn't last long, as few people were coming, and no one was booking parties anymore. Other than the staff, it was empty. It didn't even smell like pizza anymore. With no customers, the daytime guy finally had time to make repairs but didn't have the parts to do most repairs. As far as I know, that manager stayed there until the place went under ~eight months after I was fired for not working a shift that his rules said I could not.

1.) There was a previous manager that wasn't great but wasn't trying wage theft or any of that mess. Generally, things worked smoothly under her, and there was a long waiting list for booking parties. She was let go as soon as this guy graduated. I do not know why, but I assume nepotism. I could be wrong about that...maybe she was doing something that got her fired, but if that was the case, then there were at least ten people more qualified for the job. I never met the owner or even knew his/her name.

2.) It was possible to clock in and out more than five minutes outside your scheduled shift; you just wouldn't be paid for that time. Everyone that stayed late clocked out, and I'm pretty sure none got paid for that extra time. I know I clocked out late a few times and wasn't paid for the extra time.

3.) I worked the closing shift on the Sunday before the Monday that I walked out. The previous week's schedule was still posted then, and I had not been scheduled to work on Monday or Tuesday of that week. I even asked the woman running the show that night about the new schedule, and she didn't know but assumed we were following the previous schedule.

No one called me after the new schedule was posted. I was in the middle of a school-related project and only stopped by to get my check, deposit it, and return it to the project. If he hadn't tried to force me to work that day, I probably would have worked the schedule from the previous week, but him being a bully made me follow his rules to the letter.

4.) Even if I was wrong to take the week off, he should have been painfully aware of what happened when I was gone for a whole week. Firing me when I was about to start working on cleaning up the mess he started was next-level incompetence.

5.) The daytime guy was no moron but didn't understand many machines. When I started, I had been repairing electronics as a part-time job/hobby for years, and finding and replacing a single bad part on a $500+ arcade board was usually pretty easy for me.

Sometimes the repairs looked insane because I had to work with what I could find at Radio Shack, but they worked. The daytime guy was great with mechanical stuff, but the soldering iron was in a dust-covered box when I started because he had never touched it.

He didn't have the correct solder type; he had stuff for plumbing repairs. Before I got there, this wasn't a big issue because previous management always allocated extra money rather than having a machine remain dead. When I left, cheap board-level repairs turned into expensive board replacements, for there was no budget for them.

The new manager did not do this not sure why, but if I had to guess, it's because he didn't want to explain why these expensive board replacements stopped and started again perfectly in line with my time there. Someone else was watching the books, or he wouldn't have played games about paying the daytime guy all that overtime.

The internet loves when an evil manager gets their just desserts.

seriouslydude444 says:

This brings me joy.

thatburghfan says:

I am continually amazed at how people who own businesses can be so oblivious to having one person who is destroying the whole thing. At what point does an owner start to think, 'Hmmm, I hired a new manager, and ever since, I lost a key repair person, and sales are in the toilet. I wonder if these could be related?'

Do you wait until you have to shut it down before looking for a way to fix it? Do you ever physically talk to other staff to see what you could learn? Wouldn't some other employee say that they used to have another repair person, but he got fired so that the owner could investigate? Owners like this deserve to lose their investment.'

satanic-frijoles says:

So they kept this numbnuts 'manager' on and lost good employees and eventually the entire business? Make this make sense!

OP, that manager sounds like someone who should never manage again.

Sources: Reddit
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