Employee Discovers That Her Boss Was Stealing Around $8000 Of Her Salary Each Year

It's an extreme case, but it highlights all too common workplace dynamics we should all be wary of.

frustrated worker PeopleImages.com - Yuri A / Shutterstock

We've all been slighted by a boss at one time or another, but one worker discovered their boss had been doing far more than just undermining them. 

The employee discovered their boss was stealing money from their salary each year.

Wage theft is a widespread, growing problem — to the tune of $50 billion dollars a year, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

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But usually, wage theft comes in the form of unpaid or withheld breaks or overtime. Wage theft by actively stealing money from a worker's salary? That's a whole other ball of wax.

The victim of this particular scheme wrote to business and management expert Chris Donnelly, who shared the story on his TikTok. And while it is an extreme case, it also involves all too common and deeply troubling office dynamics that we should all be wary of, even if our money isn't being stolen.



"I discovered my boss was stealing around $8,000 of my salary a year," the worker wrote to Donnelly. "She was classifying my position and pay differently in budgeting reports, and that difference was going directly to her salary."


The worker's boss retaliated with harassment when the error was discovered and reported. 

"I confronted her," the worker went on to say, "and after much resistance, it was corrected, but it didn't come without retaliation." 

Not only was the employee denied back pay to rectify the money their boss had stolen, but their boss gave them repeated poor performance reviews and began harassing them on the job.



Because the worker lives in a state where recording conversations without consent is legal, they began documenting every interaction they had in order "to document how bad the harassment was." The boss then lawyered up, forcing the employee to do the same.


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The HR department was no help, even after the worker had proven that their boss was stealing money from their salary.

Those of you who've spent significant time in the corporate world will be unsurprised to hear that "HR did nothing to help me and was only there to protect the misconduct of management," as the worker put it. 

As workplace gurus and people on the internet say over and over, "HR is not your friend," despite their constant assurances that they're "here for you" and have an "open-door policy." Unfortunately, going to HR with problems with management will often result in retaliation. 



At the end of the day, Human Resources departments are there to protect the company and its leadership from lawsuits and monetary losses, not its employees. This worker's experience is a perfect example of what happens in all too many companies even when criminality is afoot.


As Donnelly put it in his video, "Remember this: Corruption is a chain." Meaning that one bad actor, especially in leadership, is usually indicative of some kind of rot in the hierarchy of the company. 

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Experts recommend documenting everything you can when conflicts arise with managers and HR — and to lawyer up if you find wrongdoing.

Donnelly applauded the worker's instinct to begin recording all their interactions with their boss — though as previously mentioned, this is illegal in many states, so make sure you're on the right side of the law where you live. 

Experts also recommend keeping detailed written documentation of all interactions with management and HR, even the good ones, and putting anything you can in writing via email. It can be as simple as emailing a rundown of a conversation to all parties involved. 




This is especially important because HR departments will often try to change the tone and tenor of the story of any conflicts to avoid liability for the company. Keeping a paper trail can help if and when things escalate.

As for wage theft, attorneys urge workers to consult an attorney before making any moves within their workplace to fight back. This way, you know exactly what you're entitled to and what legal routes to pursue. 




The bottom line is that we should all be keeping meticulous records of both our money and our interactions in the workplace. Even if we're lucky enough to work in a place where it feels like there's little risk of things going sideways, it's better to be safe than sorry.

As Donnelly put it, when push comes to shove, "organizations will cling together and they'll do the right thing for the organization, which is definitely not the right thing for you."

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.