Have a general question about employment law? Want to share a story? I welcome all comments and questions. I can't give legal advice here about specific situations but will be glad to discuss general issues and try to point you in the right direction. If you need legal advice, contact an employment lawyer in your state. Remember, anything you post here will be seen publicly, and I will comment publicly on it. It will not be confidential. Govern yourself accordingly. If you want to communicate with me confidentially as Donna Ballman, Florida lawyer rather than as Donna Ballman, blogger, my firm's website is here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Quiet Quitting: New Anti-Employee Term For Wanting To Have A Life

 There's a new term getting flung around by management types: quiet quitting. It's when employees actually want to do their job as described for the hours they were told the job would take (and for which they are being paid). Apparently, terrible bosses who have failed to hire enough staff and failed to accurately describe jobs want to vilify employees for wanting to have a life.

You heard about Elon Musk demanding that his employees commit to being "hardcore" (meaning willing to work 24/7) or leave.

And I've seen folks on social media bragging that they and their staff work until midnight. Like that's a good thing.

I remember working briefly for a large law firm. Associates would brag about sleeping there, blowing off family birthdays and funerals, and never taking vacations. And I would think to myself, what's the point? What's the point of making big bucks if you don't actually use the bucks to enjoy your life?

Gen Z gets it. They don't want to have jobs that are their whole life. They understand that having a job is for the purpose of providing the necessities you require to live and, if you're lucky, even the luxuries you want in order to enjoy your life. 

Take away the evenings and weekends, the holidays, the time with family, the vacations, and you have nothing. Because that employer that wants you to be loyal 24/7 has no loyalty to you. You likely can be fired at will, for any reason or no reason at all, unless you live in Montana or have a contract saying otherwise. It used to be that companies were loyal to their employees, but those days passed in the 70s. Now employees are treated like disposable cannon fodder.

Don't give up your actual life for corporate life. What's the point of making money if you can't enjoy it?

The U.S. needs to stop this crazy nonsense. Look at France. It has laws that protect employees from being treated like this. It's illegal to eat lunch at your desk, because it's good for your health to take a real lunch break and get out of the office. They also have a right-to-disconnect law, giving employees the right to stop answering emails and texts after hours. Overtime must be paid for work over 35 hours, and there is a weekly maximum number of hours set at 44 per week, and employees must have at least 11 consecutive hours of daily rest, and minimum rest of 35 consecutive hours at least once per week.

Employers need to hire enough employees to do the jobs needed during regular working hours instead of treating employees like indentured servants. If your employer wants you to work 24/7 and you aren't a supervisor, it's time to think about forming a union. If you are a supervisor and can't unionize, it's time to look for a workplace that understands its employees are entitled to have a life.

If you think we should be more like France and less like Elon, talk to your legislators about passing some pro-employee laws.

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I appreciate your comments and general questions but this isn't the place to ask confidential legal questions. If you need an employee-side employment lawyer, try http://exchange.nela.org/findalawyer to locate one in your state.