Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I work at a hotel (in the U.S.) which has brought employees in from a poor European country for the season. The girls are working as housekeepers, earning minimum wage, which is $2 less than what any of the other housekeepers START at. They had to pay for their own flights here, work visas, and they pay all their U.S. taxes. They work 6 days a week, so they are getting overtime, but I still feel like they are totally being taken advantage of. It makes me angry.
My employer doesn’t seem to be doing anything illegal, just something that I think is ICKY. When these girls go back to their homes, they will have enough money saved that they can live off it for 6 months (going to University) without working, so that’s good for them. I just hate so much that my employer is taking advantage of them. Do you have any advice on what I can do for them, aside from adopting them through an adopt-a-teenager program where I send them $20 a month when they get home and in return they send me postcards? I know this is a weird question. It just makes me feel bad.
My Boss is a Jerk
My Boss is a Jerk,
I don’t think this is a weird question at all. I mean, please. We live in a world where Newt Gingrich is making a legitimate run at the Presidency on the platform of open-marriage. It takes a little more to rattle the Housewives.
It’s honorable that you’re feeling badly for these disadvantaged workers, but as you suggested, it’s not exactly illegal for your boss to be an asshole to your co-workers. What’s more, if you were to do something to get the bossman in trouble, the girls would suffer as well. I think that’s what they call a Catch-22, but I’ve never been good with postmodern literature.
But, if you do it right, maybe you can boost them into the media spotlight which will basically both humiliate your boss AND get the girls some paparazzi-type celebrity status. Here’s what I suggest:
1. New York had this really obnoxious guy with a mustache who worked for the local news, and he always annoyed the crap out of the bad guys until they finally caved to get him off their back. Most of the time they were probably innocent, but that’s besides the point. Get in touch with your local media and ask for the homeliest reporter with the biggest microphone to help you out.
2. Ashton Kutcher. He still does that Punk’d show for MTV, right? (He doesn’t? Well, just tell him pretty young girls are involved and I’m sure he’ll be there in a heartbeat.) Sure, the national media attention may cause the entire hotel to fail financially, costing you your job in the process, but it’ll be a great story!
3. Aren’t hotels usually haunted? Because I feel like, if you get the girls involved, you could all chip in for some fake blood and gray face paint and really pull an epic prank on Mr. Bossman. Kind of like the ghosts of Christmas past, except they’re the ghosts of…like, hotels or something. (Okay, so maybe this one isn’t super smooth, but I’m not a damn script writer so cut me some slack already.)
Or, if you want to take the issue more seriously (bo-ring!), you could do something more responsible. Perhaps you could contact local lawyers or worker’s unions to see if there’s any legal action that can be taken. Beyond that and slashing your boss’ tires, maybe you want to just have a good heart-to-heart with the girls and then submit your resignation. That’s what Jerry McGuire would do.