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Teen called 'selfish' for refusing to work overtime so coworkers with kids can have more time off

Her boss knew he couldn't legally enforce her to work overtime or discriminate against her based on her family status.

Teen called 'selfish' for refusing to work overtime so coworkers with kids can have more time off
Working Late - stock photo/Getty Images

Editor's note: This article was originally published on April 7, 2022. It has since been updated.

As an employee, the very least you can expect from your workplace is a healthy and fair work environment. One Reddit user revealed she was being ostracized for demanding to be treated equally as some of her colleagues. Her boss has been asking her to work overtime and she initially didn't mind. After a while, she requested others to share the workload but was told that she had to continue working because others had children while she didn't. She turned to Reddit and asked if she was wrong for "telling my boss that parents don’t have the first claim on time off and that everybody has a life outside of work?” She has since deleted her account, but the post has received the attention of people.

Dedicated young businesswoman working late while using laptop at creative office - stock photo/Getty Images

“I (18 Female) started a new job a bit ago. For the most part, I really enjoy it; it’s just difficult as I need time off about once a month for doctor’s appointments that I absolutely can’t miss,” she wrote, according to Percolately. “Recently, my manager has started keeping my department two hours later than usual to help with extra work. At first, this was okay, I didn’t mind the extra money.”


She soon realized that it was always the manager asking her to stay back to do extra work. “It started happening every day, to the point where all I did was basically work, shower, and go to bed. I didn’t have time for anything else,” she wrote, before deciding to raise the issue with her manager. “Yesterday, I went to my manager and told him I’m happy to help with extra work sometimes, but I won’t be staying every day. (It’s overtime, which I cannot legally be forced to do.)”

Young employee working late on a computer in dark. - stock photo/Getty Images

The manager seemed a reasonable man. “He said this was okay and I thought that was that.” But he came back and said she need to stay back and stated why. “Today, he came to me and told me that he needed me to stay anyway, as there were people with families who needed to get home," she wrote. "I told him I also have a family I want to go home and see, and he told me he meant only people with children.”


She wasn't having it and put her foot down. “I told him I’m sorry, but I won’t be staying later every day, and parents don’t have some rightful claim to leave that I don’t, just because they have kids,” she said, well aware that her manager couldn't force her to work overtime, especially not by discriminating against her on the basis of not having children and thus be entitled to less personal time. “He told me that legally, there was nothing he could do to force me, but that it would be extremely selfish of me to force these people to miss out on time with their kids and potentially pay more for babysitters and such,” she wrote but she didn't back down. “I told him again that I’m sorry, but that’s not my problem, and I also have a life outside of work that I want to live, as does everyone else; mine just doesn’t involve kids.” She was soon facing the ire of her colleagues as well. “I’ve definitely been getting side-eyed by people who I know have kids. I have also overheard conversations on our line," she wrote but couldn't care less. "Ultimately I don’t care, I’ll still be staying to help about half the time, but I do need time for myself as well.”


The Reddit community overwhelmingly sided with her. "If the work can't be done in a regular day's time, maybe it's on your boss to hire more people instead of letting those already there work longer all the time," they wrote. Many called out the company for pitting employees against each other. "Yeah, instead of the boss doing their job of hiring more staff,  they are putting the staff against each other," one person commented

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