back to article This job Win-blows! Microsoft made me pull '75-hour weeks' in a shopping mall kiosk

A former Microsoft retail manager is suing the software giant for making her work long hours without overtime and breaks. Her lawsuit, set to be heard by a US district court in northern California, alleged Redmond violated labor laws by unfairly classifying her, a retail worker, as a professional salaried employee to stiff her …

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    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: To be honest...

      Never mind Microsoft. What employer ever behaved substantially differently?

      I was brought up with the idea that doing as many hours as it takes (unpaid) was precisely what distinguishes a professional job from a unionised blue-collar one.

      Though a change in that culture would perhaps be no bad thing. If she can contribute to that then good on her!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: To be honest...

        "I was brought up with the idea that doing as many hours as it takes (unpaid) was precisely what distinguishes a professional job from a unionised blue-collar one"

        Absolutely. Sometimes you need to do whatever is necessary to get the job done. Sometimes. I think we're seeing an emerging trend where the term Professional is being abused to work around labour regulations.

        1. HmmmYes Silver badge

          Re: To be honest...

          No.

          A professional jobs gets the work estimate correct.

        2. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: To be honest...

          Sometimes. I think we're seeing an emerging trend where the term Professional is being abused to work around labour regulations.

          Sometimes? It's the norm.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Emerging trend? Really?

          " I think we're seeing an emerging trend where the term Professional is being abused to work around labour regulations."

          It was emerging about 40 years ago.

          They really shouldn't have abused the concept of staff getting no overtime pay when the same staff were responsible for payroll and could see what a skilled shop floor supervisor was taking home every week...

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: To be honest...

      Not all of us. Some of us opted out of the Redmond clusterfuck a long time ago.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: To be honest...

          "You wouldn't have had to do that if Windows wasn't so crap, would you?"

          There are at least a couple of answers to that.

          One is that I've been using computers, including and preferring Unix or the Unix-like, since before Windows existed so it's not so much a matter of opting out as not opting in any more than was unavoidable.

          Another was a gem of Microsoft's arrogance: they had adhesive inserted between the pages of a magazine with the tag line "Don't get stuck with Microsoft". For that arrogance I've always preferred to obey that ambiguous suggestion in the way they didn't intend.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: To be honest...

          What effort? Moving to Linux was as simple as installing it on a spare partition on my BSD/Coherent/Minix test box and rebooting. True, I had to recompile a few things. And I had to re-write a few scripts (both the Coherent and Minix versions of the various shells had oddities/errata/bugs if you came to them from BSD). But Linux was obviously a un*x right from the git-go. Took no effort at all. Certainly a lot less than moving from XP to Vista or Win7 to Win8 or Win8 to Win10 ...

          When I opted out of the Redmond clusterfuck, it was only as a support person. I had been using un*x as my primary OS longer than Microsoft had been selling an OS.

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: To be honest...

          "You wouldn't have had to make all that effort of moving to Linux if Windows wasn't so crap, would you?"

          It's probably less effort to move to from Win7 to Linux than from Win7 to Win10. It;s certainly quicker!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'Microsoft has us all working extra hours'

      As Microsoft retrenched on support I was the support glue for friends / family / colleagues. No more! I refuse to help anyone with Win-10 / Office-365 etc. If they want to switch to Mint / LibreOffice, I'll be back. But Microsoft crossed the line: Forcing us pay to be slurped at OS level AND forced to endure Updates, even onto development PC's w/o LTSB. That's criminal! Be the change you want to see in the world. Facebook / Google slurp was bad but this is awful. Vote with your wallet - Tell MS to 'f' off!

      1. Andrew Moore

        Re: 'Microsoft has us all working extra hours'

        I fell your pain- I'm also using the line "Oh you have Windows 10? I'm sorry but I don't know that operating system- you're better off ringing the Microsoft support line."

        1. Andrew Moore

          Re: 'Microsoft has us all working extra hours'

          I'm guessing the thumbs-down are from all those people who expect free technical support from their IT-savvy colleagues/family/friends.

      2. whatsyourShtoile
        Facepalm

        Re: "forced to endure Updates"

        Really? You mean you can't just run Altair basic for 43 years?

      3. fobobob

        Re: 'Microsoft has us all working extra hours'

        Indeed, where I work, we're pretty much limited to 'reinstall it', 'deal with it' or 'disable wuauserv' on the win10 front...

    4. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: To be honest...

      Microsoft are probably no worse than many big employers.

      I fail to understand this difference between 'professional' and other workers for overtime. A job basically comprises a contract to work X hours for Y pay. Okay, in a managerial/professional/senior setting you may vary your hours from 9-5 to get a job done, but then you take time off later.

      In a previous life my manager tried that "unpaid overtime, professional, paid to do a job, yada yada ..." line on me. I gently explained the idea that a definition of professional is 'paid to do something' and that the opposite is 'amateur' - does something for fun without pay. I suggested if he wanted a professional job, then he needed to pay for it. The alternative was getting some incredibly amateur work - which would end up costing the company a lot more.

      I got the overtime, but I also took voluntary redundancy soon after (and went straight into a better-paid new job which didn't question overtime rates)

      1. K Silver badge

        Re: To be honest...

        "I fail to understand this difference between 'professional' and other workers for overtime."

        If you earn wages, then your typically paid for your time (per-hour). If your salaried, then your paid a fix amount to deliver the requirements of your role, additionally your contract will say "To work X hours per week, but may be required to additional hours when required etc"... but the keyword missing here is "reasonable"

        I always used to be the person that "jumped" and felt it was my responsibility, even taking my laptop on holiday and working half the time. But I wised up and refused to do it anymore. Initially the manager didn't take any action, then one day the shit hit the fan and I refused to bail them out (didn't have my phone or laptop with me), days later, I suddenly got permission to recruit 2 new people!

        These days, my take on the "May be required to work additional hours", only applies if

        a) The issue is causing the company financial loss or impacting operations

        b) This issue was unforeseen

        c) The issue was caused by my miscalculation or underestimating

        d) Any additional hours are reasonable and exceptional (once every few months)

        If the company are made aware of the problem and don't take steps address it, then I don't feel its my responsibility to constantly bail them out.

        1. SquidEmperor

          Re: To be honest...

          I'd like to give you a million up-votes

          Life is too short to be screwed by big business like this, who would happily work you 24/7 for minimal wage and then fire and replace when it suits them. wake up peoples

        2. HmmmYes Silver badge

          Re: To be honest...

          ' "To work X hours per week, but may be required to additional hours when required etc"'

          Get them to remove 'reasonable' from the contract and put an exact number in.

          Then bump up the salary by that number, pro rata x 2 .

          1. K Silver badge

            Re: To be honest...

            @HmmmYes

            Its a rare company that will bind themselves to those type of limits - A company needs to be able to manage unforeseen circumstance, whilst at the same time forecasting expenditure on staff.

            With my present role, I'm on call.. under these circumstances the thing to do is ask the right questions, such as

            a) Is this a shared responsibility and with a rota (How often will you be on call)

            b) How quickly are you expected to respond out of hours

            c) Does the salary include an amount to cover this? (i.e. market rate + value you place on your free time)

            d) What additional incentives are there?

            If a company says they its ad-hoc, or they're looking adding compensation.. then turn down the role and go elsewhere - as it will never materialise.

            (I used to be a manager at such a company, the recruiting manager(s) would spin this as "coming soon..", but it never did!)

        3. HmmmYes Silver badge

          Re: To be honest...

          Or ...

          Ask the company to sell whatever it sells as £x but the customer may ask for more.

        4. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: To be honest...

          Amen, @K, amen. That's how you deal with this problem.

      2. HmmmYes Silver badge

        Re: To be honest...

        Indeed.

        Requests for me to work more than my contracted hours generate less alarm than when I ask to help myself to the companies petty cash account.

      3. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: To be honest...

        ...difference between 'professional' and other workers for overtime...

        I think the rationale is that "professional" workers put in extra effort in the expectation (realistic or otherwise) of promotion. Your career prospects are also supposed to make you a stakeholder in the business, so you put in more effort than you're paid for. The free overtime is an investment in your future.

        A worker in a menial retail job has no prospect of promotion, and won't be paid more if the business thrives, so can't be expected to contribute free overtime.

        This, at any rate, is the line that management expect people to swallow.

        The theory is borne out by people like software engineers. They're professional and often highly-paid, but they can only be promoted by turning good engineers into crap managers. They usually get overtime and out-of-hours pay. Me, I'm a contractor, so I have no prospects of any kind.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: To be honest...

          A worker in a menial retail job has no prospect of promotion, and won't be paid more if the business thrives, so can't be expected to contribute free overtime.

          Ahh... but it says she was a retail booth manager. Doesn't matter if there was nobody to manage, you work with that title and expect to be exempt.

          On another note, in 2016, the Department of Labor (Obama administration) attempted to increase the salary limit for exempt employees upwards from $23,600 (so more people would be non-exempt), but this was stopped a a court. Which one? If you guessed U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, favorite to patent trolls everywhere, you're a weiner!

        2. DJSpuddyLizard

          Re: To be honest...

          The theory is borne out by people like software engineers. They're professional and often highly-paid, but they can only be promoted by turning good engineers into crap managers. They usually get overtime and out-of-hours pay. Me, I'm a contractor, so I have no prospects of any kind.

          Can you get me a job there? No software engineers in the USA making more than $23,600/yr are exempt, and nobody's going to pay them any overtime. How you you think silicon valley startups operate?

          On the other hand, when I was a contractor, I would be paid overtime, but usually used it as an excuse to work no more than 40 hours per week.

      4. Nick Kew Silver badge

        @ Pen-y-gors

        I gently explained the idea that a definition of professional is 'paid to do something' and that the opposite is 'amateur' - does something for fun without pay.

        Good for you.

        You evidently didn't graduate into a big recession. That's one life-circumstance that's out of our individual control. Studies have shown that the self-confidence (or otherwise) that comes from graduating into a good or a difficult jobs market stays with most of us throughout working life. The term "lost generation" is sometimes applied to cohorts who graduated at the wrong time, while your lot thrive.

        Kudos if you're the rare exception, but it seems most unlikely.

  2. Phil Kingston Silver badge

    If true, then MS do indeed need a slap.

    But I do sometimes wonder why people feel "forced" to work to strange demands and only raise it months later via a lawyer.

    1. rmason Silver badge

      @Phil Kingston

      Agreed. Puzzles me too.

      Unless it was their first job, they will be FULLY aware of the laws regarding which jobs pay overtime and which do not.

      Yet she accepted a salaried position as a manager. It does indeed sound like she was treated badly, but nothing was forcing her to accept it.

      Escalate the issue and ask for answers in writing, leave, find a new job. Take time off regardless of what you're told and invite them to discipline you (with all the appropriate records and discussions this brings) etc etc.

      The list of options available to someone other than "put up with it then suddenly sue" is quite a long one.

      Don't just carry on then sue for a massive amount of money.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "but nothing was forcing her to accept it."

        Except, you know, possibly the need to eat and have somewhere to live?

        Vonnegut's Player Piano is instructive here.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wants to have her cake & eat it?

      If she were in a non-exempt waged position she would presumably have been on an hourly rate. That generally adds up to less than a salaried worker gets for the same hours per month, which is why salaried workers are expected to do what the job takes, perhaps with an occasional bonus for "above & beyond". She seems to be asking for overtime on top of a salary, which we'd all love to have. Has she worked out what she would have been paid on a non-exempt hourly-wage + overtime basis? Much the same, I suspect, maybe even less.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: Wants to have her cake & eat it?

        @AC

        She seems to be asking for overtime on top of a salary, which we'd all love to have.

        What's wrong with that? Is this some strange USian notion that if you are paid a monthly salary, rather than hourly, that makes you a slave who can be forced to work 24/7 without any extra compensation? Next you'll be saying they can be sacked without reason or compensation.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wants to have her cake & eat it?

          What's wrong with that?

          Wel, it's only the whole crux of this case.

          Is this some strange USian notion that if you are paid a monthly salary, rather than hourly, that makes you a slave who can be forced to work 24/7 without any extra compensation?

          Who suggested that? You're paid according to your contract. In general people who are paid by the hour have defined hours, and can get overtime beyond that. Those of us on monthly salaries are paid to do a job, our contracts rarely include overtime (but may allow for bonuses or extra time off). There's nothing USAian about that (I'm not from the US). This person seems to have a monthly salary but wants overtime as if she were an hourly worker. In my experience people with monthly salaries earn more, per hour, than hourly waged staff, and part of that is because we are sometimes called upon to do additional work.

          1. FIA

            Re: Wants to have her cake & eat it?

            Those of us on monthly salaries are paid to do a job, our contracts rarely include overtime (but may allow for bonuses or extra time off). There's nothing USAian about that (I'm not from the US). This person seems to have a monthly salary but wants overtime as if she were an hourly worker.

            The problem is this idea has become culturally acceptable, and people defend it.

            I'm a salaried developer, so no overtime, however project cost estimations include my time with a per hour cost, so it's obviously a metric that exists and is how the company budgets my time. Therefore unless I mess up I work the hours I'm contracted to; as they're the hours I'm paid for. My company doesn't 'care' about me, I'm a resource used to produce a thing. I'm not doing my company a favour by turning up to work, I do it because they pay me.

            The reality is, sometimes things take longer than estimated, which incurs extra costs, some of which are peoples time. Otherwise you're just making accountants look good.

            Why is there this assumption the extra effort we put into being skilled makes us value our time less? If we carry on perpetuating this idea that we should just work extra for free people will keep taking advantage of it. In 10 years time your company won't care, if you've moved on you may not even remember, but your partner or children will remember that time you weren't around because you were working late, or that school play you missed because... work.

            Your employer isn't a person, it's not you're friend, it's a business that remunerates you for your skill and time. We all seem to value the first, lets value the latter a bit more too.

            In my experience people with monthly salaries earn more, per hour, than hourly waged staff, and part of that is because we are sometimes called upon to do additional work.

            Which you should be paid for. You're paid more because you're higher skilled; not because you're willing to work for free. (Or you shouldn't be).

            Frankly, I'm sick of this idea in IT we should just be happy to be taken the piss out of because it's somehow 'professional'.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Wants to have her cake & eat it?

              Everyone in the company I work for in the UK, (US parent corp), are on salaries, not hourly rates.

              All the non management roles, developers, testers, support people etc. All have a set number of contractual hours (39 hours is the standard number), anything above your contract hours is automatically classed as overtime with agreed rates depending on time/day. If working overtime, it has to be agreed with both the employee and the account who are paying for it, or you do work-off-in-lieu. No one can force you to work beyond your contract hours.

              Management is different, in that they are payed for the job, so no overtime, but they do have things like bonuses and share options, which we don't get.

              From talking to friends in other companies, also IT roles, this is standard practice in the UK for technical roles.

              1. Rich 11 Silver badge

                Re: Wants to have her cake & eat it?

                No one can force you to work beyond your contract hours.

                A recent letter to the Prime Minister suggests there are 62 MPs who would be willing to see this change. They are such great fans of free trade that they wish to walk away from membership of the largest free trade bloc on the planet. The only way that trade (with the added cost of moving products over greater distances) is going to be replaced in the face of cheaper labour abroad is by cutting costs, and you can guess where the first cuts will fall.

                It's not like the party the 62 belong to doesn't have form, however much one particular minister (with a less than stellar reputation for consistency and integrity) currently declares that there will be no such race to the bottom.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Wants to have her cake & eat it?

                  "one particular minister (with a less than stellar reputation for consistency and integrity) currently declares that there will be no such race to the bottom."

                  When a politician says that [adverse thing] for [the rest of us] is not going to happen, what that really means is that they have not yet worked out a way to persuade us to vote for it.

            2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

              Re: Wants to have her cake & eat it?

              @FIA

              "The reality is, sometimes things take longer than estimated, which incurs extra costs, some of which are peoples time. Otherwise you're just making accountants look good.

              Yep, but estimates are just that, estimates, not fixed-price quotes. And if the management accept those estimates, then they work to them. If they turn out to be too low, why should you work for nothing to get things back on track? Didn't they include some contingency for just that? And what if the estimates are wrong because of duff info from management in the first place?

              And if they insist on you working free hours to correct under-estimates, will they also let you have extra time off with pay if you come in under estimate? Sauce for the goose...

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Wants to have her cake & eat it?

              Which you should be paid for. You're paid more because you're higher skilled; not because you're willing to work for free. (Or you shouldn't be).

              I've never suggested otherwise, despite what people seem to be assuming from my comments. I am also a salaried developer, and my contract defines what I do for that salary. Occasionally I'll be asked to do some extra, for which I may get a "thank you", or maybe a bonus or stock options. If I were asked to work "for free" I would refuse, indeed one reason I left my last job was when my then manager (actually a very decent guy) admitted that I'd been put on a high-priority project because I'd been willing to work extra hours. He wasn't surprised that I quit.

              Frankly, I'm sick of this idea in IT we should just be happy to be taken the piss out of because it's somehow 'professional'.

              I'm not suggesting that. It's professional to see a project through once you've committed to it, just as it's professional for your boss to reward you for extra effort. Personally I don't want to have a fixed set of hours to work, with a boss who complains if I work more because he'll have to pay overtime. I'll do the work that needs to be done, for a fair salary. I'll discuss it with my boss if that isn't working out, and I'll quit if I think I'm being exploited. It's worked for 35 years, I don't see it changing now.

      2. SquidEmperor

        Re: Wants to have her cake & eat it?

        I for one would like some cake

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Contrary to popular mythological fantasy, jobs do not grow on trees.

      That's why.

      Because they ARE forced to stay.

  3. Scott 53

    Staff?

    Skeletal staff would actually be useful if all they had to lift was the occasional software package. I suppose they wouldn't want long lunch breaks either.

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge

    PMs vs overtime pay

    If there was ever a job that needed overtime pay, it's IT. Perhaps that way there might be an incentive to plan and budget projects properly instead of picking numbers from a lottery machine and sticking them on a spreadsheet.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: PMs vs overtime pay

      IT needs to be unionized as well. (but more as a professional association with really good lawyers)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: PMs vs overtime pay

        IT needs to be unionized as well. (but more as a professional association with really good lawyers)

        God no. I work in a French unionized IT house. Absolute fscking shambles, even though they haven't tried to call any strikes yet. Just don't go there, ever.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft’s business models require stealing and reselling personal data.

    ....."When we talk about why we're upgrading the Windows 10 install base, why is that upgrade free? MS CFO asked during a meeting with Wall Street analysts. These are all new monetization opportunities once a PC is sold. Microsoft's strategy is to go low on consumer Windows licenses, hoping that that will boost device sales, which will in turn add to the pool of potential customers for 'Advertising'".....

    ....."CEO Nadella has referred to the customer revenue potential as 'lifetime value' in the past -- and did so again last week during the same meeting with Wall Street -- hinting at Microsoft's strategy to make more on the back end of the PC acquisition process. The more customers, the more money those customers will bring in as they view 'Ads'".....

    https://www.computerworld.com/article/2917799/microsoft-windows/microsoft-fleshes-out-windows-as-a-service-revenue-strategy.html

    1. wallaby

      Re: Microsoft’s business models require stealing and reselling personal data.

      "....."When we talk about why we're upgrading the Windows 10 install base, why is that upgrade free? MS CFO asked during a meeting with Wall Street analysts. These are all new monetization opportunities once a PC is sold. Microsoft's strategy is to go low on consumer Windows licenses, hoping that that will boost device sales, which will in turn add to the pool of potential customers for 'Advertising'"....."

      and that whole post is relevant to the article because ........

      answers on a postcard

  6. TonyJ Silver badge

    My own (UK) experience

    I found early on in my career in IT projects as a lowly engineer that overtime was usually paid.

    Moving up through the ranks in latter years, you'd be expected to put in extra hours as required (to a point) unpaid but the salary and benefits you got by that time tended to reward you for it.

    However, once I'd stepped up to the really senior roles, it became untenable - I was finding myself working 14-16 hour days and often having to respond to calls at random times of the day and night for very little extra reward and it began to feel like my employer was starting to take the pee with their demands.

    I spoke to them about it and was offered more money to compensate but that was missing the whole point of my lack of work/life balance.

    So...I moved to another company with more money and fewer demands.

    I don't totally blame my employers at the time - I could have refused to take on some of the extra work, or turned my phone off etc as well as take the extra money being offered.

    But...never in a million years did it occur to me that I should sue them though as ultimately it came down to ME making the choices.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      Re: My own (UK) experience

      Personal responsibility is such a British trait. It doesn't apply to our left-pondian cousins.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: My own (UK) experience

        "Personal responsibility is such a British trait"

        Not any more ... e.g. the £150k/year plumber who was happily reducing his tax bills by being "self-employed" currently suing his "employer" for holiday pay because he's suddelnly decided he should have been a "worker" all along as he wore a uniform wnad drove a van with the company logo on it.

        1. Snorlax Silver badge

          Re: My own (UK) experience

          @AC:"Not any more ... e.g. the £150k/year plumber who was happily reducing his tax bills by being "self-employed" currently suing his "employer" for holiday pay because he's suddelnly decided he should have been a "worker" all along as he wore a uniform wnad drove a van with the company logo on it.

          Nope. If your hours are dictated by your employer, or if you wear a company uniform, or drive a company van, or are unable to substitute another person in your place you are highly likely to be an employee rather than a contractor. You'd think people on this site would understand that reality, rather than bitching...

      2. dcline1701

        Re: My own (UK) experience

        The difference is:

        If you fall and break your leg on the way back from telling your boss to shove it up his arse in the UK, you go to hospital and NHS pays most of it.

        If you fall and break your leg on the way back from telling your boss to shove it up his ass in the US. You have no job and no insurance and are now ruinously in debt for at least the next 10 years.

        I welcome replies detailing how to incentivize US voters to get a health care system like the (rest of the) civilized world. Bonus points if you know how to get this country to just use the f*cking metric system.

    2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: My own (UK) experience

      In my experience.....a move towards more senior positions means no overtime, but higher basic salary. Also, more senior positions can have bonus schemes which lower ranks don't get, which opens up opportunities for ex gratia / honorarium payments for going above and beyond

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My own (UK) experience - it came down to ME making the choices.

      But as you stated, this was once you'd "stepped up to the really senior roles", and "was offered more money to compensate".

      When you are at the bottom of the ladder, making the choice to leave or stay isn't just about work-life balance. It can be about financial survival, so the decision is "I have to stay, because I can't afford to leave." And in the reported case, perhaps also "I don't even have the time or opportunity to get another job because this one is so bad."

    4. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: My own (UK) experience

      Sales booth is not a professional track to anything. In a mall it is therefore retail.

      And 75 hours weeks is the very definition of "unreasonable", as you just stated.

  7. David Roberts Silver badge

    The big question

    Is about the role. Was it managerial and compensated as such, or was it just rated as managerial to avoid paying overtime?

    Much as in the gig economy workers are forcibly qualified as "self employed" to avoid sickness and holiday pay.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: The big question

      "Is about the role. Was it managerial and compensated as such, or was it just rated as managerial to avoid paying overtime?"

      In the reported case, definitely the latter. This was MS taking the piss to avoid extra costs. She worked way more hours every week than a normal job would entail. Not just now and then, but every week. She wasn't allowed to take on staff so she could take lunch or rest breaks, which implies she worked alone. If she was working alone, then she had no staff to manage, so she wasn't a manager. There will almost certainly have been as area manager who looked after her and similar retail "booths". She was a sales clerk on what might at first have appeared to be a good salary until the reality hit home and she was being paid 20% more than a 40 hour waged clerk but doing about 100% more hours.

    2. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: The big question

      "...Is about the role. Was it managerial and compensated as such, or was it just rated as managerial to avoid paying overtime?..."

      You just reminded me of something else - I had a job for a large manufacturing company almost 20 years ago.

      The salary and benefits (what few there were) was all agreed in the interviews.

      When I got the contract to sign, the salary was 50 pence a year over the agreed amount.

      I gave them a call to query it just in case (I was still fairly young and naive and had worries about things like would it change my tax rate or anything silly) and was told by their HR robot that it was just how their grading system worked and it's the salary band I fell into.

      Fair enough I thought.

      Except it turns out that 50p was quite important because it put me over the threshold whereby they stopped paying overtime...and it was quite a common practice they had going on.

      Had they been up front, open and honest about it beforehand I'd have most likely accepted it for what it was as it was a job I really wanted but because they did it in such an underhanded fashion, I refused to do any overtime for the two years I worked there.

      I'd forgotten that little gem til just now.

  8. TRT Silver badge

    It looks like she's trying to file a law suit...

    would she like some help with that?

    1. defiler Silver badge

      Re: It looks like she's trying to file a law suit...

      Two people who don't love Clippy? Who'd have thought!

  9. Crisp Silver badge

    Wait... What?

    "By law, workers classified as managers and other professional salaried staff are exempt from mandatory overtime pay and breaks"

    Is there a reason why this is?

    Personally, I'd never work for a for-profit company for free. It's unethical.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait... What?

      Is there a reason why this is?

      Usually because people in those positions are expected to have responsibility for their actions, and they can't duck them by saying "sorry, I'd done my 45 hours that week, wasn't my job to do ...". It's the downside of getting the extra money, the responsibility doesn't stop when the 5 o'clock whistle blows.

    2. Alien8n Silver badge

      Re: Wait... What?

      Usually it's compensated for by more holidays, higher salary. However I have known a few places where they've taken the piss and the working hours become more like shift work with no compensation and a "salary" lower than some hourly rated jobs I've done. Strangely enough that business no longer exists.

      It's also a kicker when you get told "no one gets a bonus as you're just doing your jobs" and then you're both expected to do silly hours, sometimes 7 days a week and find out that actually the senior managers also get tens of thousands in bonuses. Where I am now is much better. Time off in lieu and above inflation pay rises. But then they've earned the extra hours I put in and when I do put in silly hours I get to determine when I clock off. Hard to tell which is my favourite company to work for, but it has to be a close thing between this one and my first IT role.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wait... What?

        Another point on the salary versus overtime debate....a more senior member of staff not eligible for overtime will get a higher basic salary and yhis will attract associated benefits like being pensionable, counting towards benefits on final salary pension scheme, counting towards any pro-rata salary-based bonus, etc.

        The more junior member of staff getting overtime for extra hours may not get full value out of those overtime pounds/dollars/euros/whatever

    3. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: Wait... What?

      It's not working "for free". It's that compensation for variable hours is included in the salary.

      All the people who think that time over and above standard hours which is not explicitly paid for must be those who are hourly paid or can't get drop the notion of accounting for each and every working moment.

      Many salaried workers are handsomely paid and are happy to work reasonable hours that might sometimes (or frequently, depending) go over standard 9-5. It's when this is abused that this becomes a problem, as it sounds like it may be in this case.

      1. Snorlax Silver badge

        Re: Wait... What?

        @David Nash:"It's not working "for free". It's that compensation for variable hours is included in the salary."

        Thing is, most employers see 'variable' as 'in excess of normal working hours'. Try working a 30-hour week for a few weeks and see if you're called in for a chat about a P45.

    4. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      Re: Wait... What?

      The problem isn't "for-profit" vs "not-for-profit". It's eithical profit vs unethical profit.

      Amazon doesn't produce a profit and is deeply unethical in their business model.

      Banks produce lots of profit unethically.

      Your general Mom and Pop stores are probably much more ethical plus they produce profits.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wait... What?

        Your general Mom and Pop stores are probably much more ethical

        Ya think? Many of them are exactly the businesses who pay minimum wage or less, expect crazy hours, and generally screw-over their staff, like the restaurants who include tips in wages. They unfortunately know that there will alway be someone else willing to take the shitty work. Larger businesses tend to be more ethical, if only because they have more to lose when they're caught.

  10. Def Silver badge

    $200,000 before factoring in attorney fees.

    So a couple of million when the bottom feeding fees are included?

  11. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Linux

    If she's not able to decide her hours or breaks and doesn't have the power to hire or fire then it really doesn't sound like a manager.

    If it doesn't walk like a duck or sound like a duck, it's probably not a duck.

    Do penguins quack?

  12. adam payne Silver badge

    A former Microsoft retail manager is suing the software giant for making her work long hours without overtime and breaks.

    Another person gains super hero status.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The biggest shock in this story is she missed out on a bonus because the store did so well! Selling what? Encarta CDs? Plus packs?

  14. ecofeco Silver badge

    Pay her you assholes

    Professionals do not man booths except at trade shows.

    MS is screwing her, just like all the Silly Valley tech companies do.

  15. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    It could be worse

    Retail has always been really crap compared to IT!

    1. Rubbish pay

    2. Rubbish hours

    3. Grovelling to the public.

    A friend used to be a manager for a small clothing shop, part of a chain. Was expected to stay behind to do stock-taking etc with no extra pay. Was not allowed to take any holiday for first 12 months - had to earfn it before taking it. (I suspect this may not be illegal). Quit and got a junior management job with John Lewis Partnership - much better terms as the Partners (staff to you and me) own the shop.

    1. Boothy

      Re: It could be worse

      quote: "Was not allowed to take any holiday for first 12 months".

      Was that in the UK? As we have statutory leave entitlement in the UK, 28 days for someone in full time employment, less if part time or Irregular hours, but you still get some.

      A company might (probably would) expect you to work for a period before taking your first leave, say a month or two, but they still have to give you your full legal entitlement before the 12 months is up. If not, off to court with them.

  16. MrXavia

    Properly classified or not, being made to work 75hrs a week she deserves to be paid correctly!

  17. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Swings & roundabouts

    I work unpaid overtime - sometimes many extra hours in a given week. But I take time off when things are less hectic, so the hours worked per month end up being pretty much what I am contracted to work. So maybe I'll work an extra hour or two per day to get something out by the end of the week - but then I'll maybe take Monday off and have a long weekend, or have a lie-in and come in after lunch. And there's never a problem if I need to pop out for a couple of hours for personal reasons, I just let the receptionist know when I expect to be back and set my desk phone to forward calls to my mobile.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll work unpaid overtime...

    Sometimes even as much as an extra two hours a week. As long as it's not too often.

    Yes. As a professional, in an "emergency" rest assured that I'll do whatever is needed. But certainly not as a habit.

    Some of my colleagues (very few) are still trying to work their way into a promotion (they work 60-80+ hours per week continuously), with some sort of ultimate goal of growing up to be a VP. They'd do much better to resign, work somewhere else for a while, and then get hired back at a higher position when they're in a better negotiating position, where the company feels that they need them back. PROMOTE FROM OUTSIDE seems to be our Company motto.

    [Double-check Anonymous setting. Click Submit.]

  19. Barry Rueger

    Record keeping

    Stories like this, and those in the comments, are why it's important to keep careful records of hours worked, tasks completed, and exceptional circumstances.

    It's also important to keep them off - site so they're available to you even if you're suddenly unemployed.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    75-hour week?

    That's worse than the Foxconn sweatshops in China (60+ hours per week).

    I hope the 'perks' and the 'brand prestige' were worth it.

    On the flip side, she might not be telling the full story. Retail is hell during peak season, that's the nature of the beast.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IN the US we have a scam called comp time. You work an hour over time you get to leave an hour early next week, Oh try and use the comp time and you have your hours cut and or fired.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      IN the US we have a scam called comp time. You work an hour over time you get to leave an hour early next week,

      I had an employer who did that, but his definition was an hour comp time for every hour over 50 that you work in a week.

  22. kain preacher Silver badge

    o all the people that says she is just bitching and should suck it up this is what she is suing for.

    Not paying over time.

    Not giving her meal breaks(lunch)

    Not paying her in a timely manor after she left ( in California if you are fired or laid off you have to be paid on the spot. If you quit with in 72 hours.)

    Not giving her proper wage accounting

    Unfair business practices.

    Now they labeled her a professional salaried employee . Lets see what the rules are on that.

    at the federal level

    To qualify for the learned professional employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:

    The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455* per week;

    The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of work requiring advanced knowledge, defined as work which is predominantly intellectual in character and which includes work requiring the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment;

    The advanced knowledge must be in a field of science or learning; and

    The advanced knowledge must be customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.

    Now in California regardless of your you can not be denied a meal break.

    An employee who has worked five hours is entitled to a meal break, but may voluntarily waive it if his or her shift will not exceed six hours in total.

    https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/Glossary.asp?Button1=P#professional%20exemption

    Nope does not meet the definition of a professional lets try mangent

    https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/Glossary.asp?Button1=E#executive%20exemption

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