I worked for a restaurant that did this to me. To make sure I hit the "minimum hours" (when you start talking about hours vs tasks or responsibilities you probably aren't getting into a legitimate salary arrangement) they would have me clock in and out, and I'd get pay stubs with 40 hours (less if I worked less) and the overtime hours paid at $0.

They withheld my last paycheck when I quit and stopped responding to my calls so I had to file with the PA labor board, I sent in those paystubs and answered questions about the role and what I did there. Couple weeks later they send me a check for 20 grand out of the blue, the business had to pay back overtime becuase I was misclassifed. I was just looking for the $300 or so they owed me, was really surprised with the outcome.

I worked at a university in Florida that did this to me. I was being made to work overtime on a few software projects and making a nice little amount of extra money. Then one day I found out that I was being "promoted" to a manager title. No raise or any extra benefits, but I was no longer allowed to get overtime. It was part of a campus-wide initiative to cut costs. And now that I was a manager I was expected to work even more than before.

Year later, the day before I gave my two weeks, my boss told me I was becoming known as an 8 to 5 guy... I wasn't working enough extra hours. After I told him that he wasn't paying me enough to waste my life away at the job, he wasn't too surprised when I gave my notice the next day.

Start sending manager and hr to jail for wage theft. If an employee falsified timesheets they can and have been convicted of theft. Why isn’t the reverse true?

Jail is a huge motivating factor and why you don’t see wide spread accounting fraud in public companies.

I’ve said it before but I’ll keep pounding the drum that the FLSA needs to be completely rewritten.

Any work more than 8 hours in a day should result in overtime pay regardless of type of work or base salary.

It’s ridiculous that companies can force people to work 24/7 with no extra pay just because those people happen to work with computers or in "knowledge" work.

And even developers/IT folks are largely not making FAANG money. They're working at hospitals/insurance companies making the equivalent of what a factory worker made in the 1950s.

The article isn't mainly about manager titles. The manager titles are just part of the way companies justify paying people a fixed salary (with no paid overtime) vs. paying people for the hours they work.

  They found that the incidence of fake-sounding manager titles spiked at the legal threshold of $455 a week — exactly the cutoff at which a company would be allowed to put workers on salary and sidestep OT payment laws.
Miss-classifying employees, earnings or costs are great ways for companies to cheat taxes and labor laws.

"Self employed" is used in the same way. Many people in the gig-economy are just employees that are not legally hired because companies want to avoid any responsibility while still profiting from employees.

In my country there is a legal difference between an employee and a manager position, so just giving the title alone doesn't mean anything. There is nothing really different about it in reality, but to truly be a manager you need to have a different job contract.

Additionally there is a limit on the ratio of managers to employees, if it's too high can get you in trouble with the labour board. When my company opened an office here, the first thing they did was hire the managers who then hired the team below them - but due to the limit not everyone could have the manager title at first.

Banks have been doing this for decades. If you're not a VP within 3 months some may wonder if something is wrong with you.
The key take-away here is to know what you're doing. Schools don't teach this stuff. High school doesn't teach personal finance to a necessary degree, nor do they teach kids the realities of both the job market and the impact & traps of a college education. They've been geared themselves to feed the college industry with fresh victims and leave students with "passion" ...a passion that cannot pay the bills. We need a fundamental shift from college tracks to productivity tracks. Teach kids how to manage money, file taxes, start businesses, tinker, invent, start trade businesses, and bring back shop class. Dump the idea that you need a college degree to be successful, you don't, unless you are committed to entering a profession like medical, law, or applied sciences. The failings of today are the result of the shortcomings and bad ideas of 20 - 40 years ago. The amazing part is that this can be fixed in a single generation with the right leadership, will, and plan; which mind you has already been written and executed successfully but 70 years ago.
I’ve noticed that in larger technology companies there has also been a trend towards getting a “Manager” title but leading a team of 1-2 people. Maybe there will be intent to grow this to 3-4 people or more in future years, but that hinders giving others a title and their own small team (which can be considered career progression).

Then you might see another leader (Manager of Managers, or “MoM”) who has 5 of these small-team managers, a different title, but a total organization size of 10-15 people.

This feels like a shift from a generation ago when the bigger technology companies wanted flatter organizations and most managers would have teams of 8-12 people, the MoM roles might be 50-80 people, and beyond that executive roles with 100s of people.

Was once a senior engineer at a small-ish office of a fairly large company. We had a particularly high-strung junior engineer that was prone to throwing fits if he didn't get his way.

Apparently, one day, he threatened to quit for another offer. He was placated with some trivial pay increase and promotion to lead engineer (essentially leap-frogging the other seniors in the office in title - but not in pay).

Except no announcement was made; I had no idea he'd been promoted. One day he walks into my office and starts telling me I need to redesign some module using XYZ Design pattern.

"Nope, don't think so - that would be a pointless and unnecessary complication and we have a release on Friday."

"No, you need to do it. I already talked to the Engineering Manager."

I can't remember exactly what I said next, but it wasn't very nice.*

Then I'm getting called into the Engineering Manager's office: "Can you just do the thing he asked you to do, please? I know, I know... we kinda have to humor him on this."

* - of course I remember what I said, and it definitely wasn't nice.

Somewhat tangential but an acquaintance at a Fortune-500 level company mentioned to me they are converting tons of currently salaried employees to hourly. These are white collar desk jobs at corporate HQ. I have to infer theres some sort of cost-cutting (wage theft?) motive behind this. Are these types of tactics becoming more prevalent in the white collar world?
Unlimited time off is another gem they use.
Joseph Turner White: “What's an associate producer credit?”

Bill Smith: “It's what you give to your secretary instead of a raise.” [1]

1. “State and Main”, by David Mamet


Some of these companies have "code-of-ethics" document which is mandatory for every employee to read. I had to read & acknowledge as a freshman software engineer at a firm which abused visa-on-arrival for work purposes.

The sheer hypocrisy is mind-blowing!

If your categorization can be subverted by changing a title, it either needs a better definition or it needs to not exist. Otherwise you're making decisions based on daydreams that can wreck people's lives. And I'm very pessimistic about a better definition, since I think technology is going to make the line between "worker" and "manager" even blurrier over time, in practice if not in law.
A very large company I worked for did something similar..

They ran a call center for merchant credit cards. Every associate on the floor had the title of "account manager." That way, when a customer whose request for a credit limit increase was declined or who had some other complaint asked to "speak to a manger," the low-wage associate could reply "Sir/Ma'am, I AM a manager."

As an employee, I wouldn't be too miffed about a fake "on-paper" promotion with a fancy job title. In the short run, it's not usually beneficial to anything other than your ego, but in the long-run that fancy title is your ticket to job-hopping to a better situation.

From a business perspective, this seems like a sort of a penny-wise, pound-foolish decision because an employee who has a fancy "Director of X" title is probably more likely able to find employment elsewhere because of their fancy job title. In the long run, a company will probably pay more through having somebody swap jobs, having to pay extra to poach somebody, and pay for recruitment and training.

> Generally, companies are required to pay workers one-and-a-half times their hourly rate anytime they work more than 40 hours in a week. But there's an exemption for salaried managers, who receive the same amount of pay each week, as long as they earn above a certain minimum amount.

Somehow I feel the companies are not the problem here. That exemption is pretty ridiculous to have in the first place. Regardless of these "fake" managers, why don't "real" managers deserve OT pay?

I worked in IT for a large Telco, as an "Application Manager". I managed nobody and was responsible for a few big systems (but not accountable, an important distinction)

Eventually getting to know the union rep it was widely accepted they had added "Manager" to the title of every salaried employee so they didn't have to pay overtime, could call you in after hours, etc.

It made us smile when even 18 year old call centre people had "Manager" in their title on their first day at their first job.

I guess this is news if you study at Harvard Business School, not so much if you've had a job in industry anytime in the past 30 years.
This is not actually how the FLSA works folks. There are tests to determine if a given employee is exempt or not and they have nothing to do with their title. So go talk to your local dept of labor and get them to take action against your employer.

Also, some posters here have said that simply working in IT makes the job exempt. Not true.

Source: family member formerly worked in this field.

I've long thought that companies should have mandatory hours reporting and limits on Salary positions. That is they must collect the actual hours worked by people of that title in their company, and report it to candidates.

$250K for 35hrs a week at a casual company vs $375K at a 996 ByteDance, I know which side of that equation I'd choose.

I once knew a 'shop manager' whose salary was 60% of what most of 'his' mechanics were making before they worked overtime. They usually went home at 4; he usually didn't.

When a baby with birth problems arrived for poor Jerry, it cost him more than a year's salary.

On the flip side I think one company game me a manager title in order to offer the pay rate I wanted. It also came with a higher annual bonus - up to 15 percent vs 5 for others. My boss was a bit of a micromanager so he mostly ran my team - the official system also gave mixed signals on who they reported to.
I expect the IRS will start regulating this the way they did the abuse of contractors.

The result will screw some people for whom the arrangement (contractor / exempt) works will, will make the paperwork tedious, but will overall help most workers.

People gaming the system just cause Bastiat loss.

You also need to factor in the size of the company. A VP is a very different thing at a Startup vs Amazon.
If I understand the article, I have seen the opposite happen. Someone is given manager duties without a pay increase or a new title.

But at my current company, they will eventually get the new title, not sure of a raise though. Maybe at that company it is kind of a trial.

It's correct. Some people choose status over money. https://robkhenderson.substack.com/p/status-over-money-money...

"The solution, then, is to pay the low-status workers a bit more than they are worth to get them to stay. The high-status workers, in contrast, accept lower pay for the benefit of their lofty positions."

The consequence of this is job title inflation.


What about Apple changing the title to associate for former employees. Makes me think of Jony Ive. Would have loved to see them list his title as "Associate" when he left.
Fake titles also help with attrition.

If the employee feels like they are being promoted, instead of actually getting a title change and raise, then they will likely not leave.

There's more nuance to this topic than "Company bad! They trick dumb labor into a bad deal!"

Money isn't the only form of compensation a job can provide. Give a low level worker a $0.43 cent raise, and they won't give a crap, it's not enough to change anything. But give them an 'employee of the month' medal and a new title, arguably worth much less than $0.43 cents, and they may actually prefer it! It's something for their resume, something to tell their mother about, these things adds prestige and dignity to a hard job that may have none.

Inflation for everything.
This happened to me at a non profit - everyone had a manger title even though very few (myself included) didn't manage any people. I found out later on that I couldn't get overtime, and this was the reason.
Much like how coders like to call themselves "engineers" - a term that has actual accreditation and certifications attached to it, but somehow not in the computer science space, weird.