6 Signs You are Being Exploited at Work

you are being exploited at Work

Signs You Are Being Exploited at Work

Have you ever been a victim of workplace exploitation? Has it ever occurred to you that while you were passionate about your work, you might have been taken advantage of quite often? According to Research by the Duke Fuqua School of Business, it has been found that passionate employees are more likely to be taken advantage of in the form of extra work, not getting paid for the work, or doing tasks that are not part of their job description.

Should that stop you from pursuing the career path that makes you feel alive? Of course not, but you should be wise enough to look for signs that you are being exploited at work. Let this article become a comprehensive guide for identifying the red flags.

Doing Work Outside your Job Description 

There are often workplace tasks or initiatives that never fall under anyone’s job description. As a result, these tasks have to be allocated equally among the team members. However, if you find these extra assignments often ending up on your plate, your boss has likely mistaken your passion for full-time availability, which is one of the signs you are being exploited at work. You’ll end up working for something that is not your responsibility, delaying your tasks. It is okay to help others every once in a while. However, while doing so, ensure it does not develop into a daily practice and gives you enough time to complete your tasks before the deadline. 

No Recognition or Compensation for Extra Work

Nothing is worse for a passionate individual than burning their midnight oil, working extra, and not even getting recognition. If you are not getting compensated or paid for the services you are giving, it is clear that you are being exploited at work. Look into the compensation you are entitled to for the extra shifts, and then ask for a raise or promotion for the extra work to get recognition from your organization. 

If your firm fails to provide you with proper recognition and compensation for your work, it is a straight-up violation of your rights and labor laws. You can ask for compensation or other benefits in exchange if the company cannot provide monetary compensation. 

Your Pay is Constantly Delayed 

One of the classic signs you are being exploited at work is when your salary is constantly delayed. The prime reason most people work is to make a living. Getting the salary late with a one or two weeks delay once a year is nothing to worry about, but if this practice persists every month, this is a sign of unfair treatment!

You are not given Breaks, or Your Breaks are Not Respected

If you catch yourself answering your work emails or getting back to your boss on your day off on vacation, it is one of the signs you are being exploited at work. Whether a week-long vacation or a weekend, everyone deserves to enjoy their break without worrying about work responsibilities. According to Forbes research, you need to have time off, as it carries numerous health benefits and boosts employee morale and productivity when you return to work.

However, if you find your manager yelling at you for taking such a long break or not letting you go on a much-needed vacation without a valid reason, this is a major red flag about your manager. Even if you have gotten a break, and your team won’t stop bugging you every few hours with questions or issues, it is clear that your management does not respect your break or vacation time!

You are not getting credit for your work 

One of the signs you are being exploited at work is when you don’t get any credit for your work, and the credit, bonus, or praise often transfers to one of your co-workers. This can happen when your boss might have overlooked your work over someone else’s, or somebody must have taken your idea and presented it as theirs. Suppose your boss is misinformed about the quality of work you produce at your workplace or intentionally overlooks your performance. In that case, it indicates you are being exploited more than valued at your workplace.

Your Employer wants you Gone 

We all know the legalities of firing people- the severance packages and unending paperwork. Hence, it is easier for them when an employee leaves by themselves. The management plays a role in doing things that make it easier for them and difficult for you to function sanely in the workplace. This starts with minimizing your contribution to the company and not acknowledging your achievements and attributes in the workplace. Moreover, this continues by making it impossible for you to perform efficiently at certain times, such as keeping unachievable goals and tight deadlines for you to meet.


Here are some frequently asked questions regarding the signs you are being exploited at work.

How do you ensure you are being compensated according to your skill or industry standard?

Learn how much others are getting paid on job posting sites for your work. Also, search for the average qualifications and experience level to find how much others with similar qualifications get paid.

How to handle a demanding boss?

An excellent way to deal with them is to deliver your point as politely as possible. When having a group meeting, do not contradict them in public; instead, approach them privately when they look calm and relaxed.

How can you advocate for yourself at work?

One way to do this is to let everybody know the value you bring to the business. Be a team player, work on your reputation and make sure everybody knows what you have accomplished without making it sound boastful or exaggerated.  


The purpose of this article was not to demotivate you but to help detect signs you are being exploited at work so that you can work towards a solution as soon as possible. The feasible option would be to fix the situation or try shifting to a new workplace. However, take a quick self-assessment to ensure you are not the problem. If that is not the case, communicating with the boss and learning to make boundaries would surely help to bring the needed changes at your workplace.


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