Anonymous | Overworked and Underpaid

When working for a state assembly, employees were expected to push out as much work as possible with little regard to how the amount of work was going to impact the people working for them. I started out as an unpaid intern and eventually moved on as a full time staffer. The problems only continued to increase when I came on full time. The assembly has salary pay so there’s no way for you to receive compensation when you work more than the 40 hours that are required of you. They would have me come in for my 40-hour work week Monday through Friday and then also expect me to come in on Saturday and Sunday to participate in events that very often took up my entire weekend.

Being a new staffer meant that I got handed a lot of the work that no one else wanted and that usually meant that I would have to work events that would take me into overtime with no compensation for the additional hours worked. This resulted in me working almost 60-hour work weeks for little pay. When I would ask for time off on the weekends, which were technically already supposed to be my free days, they would guilt trip me, make me feel like I wasn’t contributing and stated I was ruining an event or the office’s reputation by not being present.

Once I spoke to a coworker about this issue, they let me know that HR could help me settle this by stepping in and making sure that I was able to keep my job, while also ensuring that the organization wasn’t abusing their power over me. I wish I would’ve known that it was okay to reach out to HR to report these types of issues. The problems you report can be handled in a professional manner and if you want to bring up an issue and remain anonymous, HR can help you do that. It’s illegal to make employees work overtime with no compensation.

I wish I would’ve known that I wasn’t required to work those hours and that I actually could’ve said no and they wouldn’t have been legally able to make me.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.