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First job woes: Underpaid, bullied, harassed or exploited in some way

21 12 4
14.02.2019

A TEENAGER’S first job can be deeply rewarding, a step towards independence and building skills.

But that job may also involve an early taste of exploitative workplace behaviours, including abuse, bullying and harassment.

There are numerous cases of exploitation in workplaces that offer jobs to young people. Think of the systematic underpayment of 7-Eleven workers, for instance, or of Domino’s workers.

Young people working in hospitality – covering restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs – are particularly at risk of exploitative practices, according to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

SEE ALSO: Employment: Despite progress, for many women it still feels like the dark ages

We wanted to get a more complete picture of the different types of exploitative behaviours that young workers might encounter. To do so we surveyed 330 undergraduate university students about their experiences in the workplace.

Overall, almost three-quarters (74.2 percent) of respondents reported experiencing some form of exploitative, abusive or harassing behaviour in their first job.

Researching workplace exploitation

A worker at 7-Eleven convenience store. Source: Shutterstock

Our convenience sample of university students that anonymously volunteered to participate were surveyed about their workplace experiences while aged under 18 years old.

While the results may not be representative of all young peoples’ work experiences, they provide a good indication of the pattern and relative frequency of different forms of exploitative behaviour.

Importantly for prevention, the study also indicates........

© Asian Correspondent