October 14, 2015


Do you have a bad boss?

I don’t just mean a boss that you don’t want to hang out with after work. I mean a boss that’s ripping you off or otherwise harming you systematically over time. And doing the same to your co-workers.

Think about it. Have you worked overtime repeatedly, but not been paid for it? Are you not allowed to take legal holidays and sick days off? Are you not given time off at all?

Is your boss violating health and safety regulations, refusing to provide necessary safety equipment, and forcing you and your co-workers to risk life and limb on the job?

Does your boss repeatedly sexually harass you and your co-workers? Or worse?

If you’re a tipped employee, does your boss steal your tips?

If you’re a temp, part-timer, contractor, independent contractor, day laborer or any other type of contingent worker, should you be? Like is your job really the kind of job that needs to be short-term or “flexible” in some way, or is your boss just misclassifying you to avoid having to give you a decent job?

Does your boss refuse to give you and your co-workers raises, no matter how long you’ve worked at your job?

Did your boss ever threaten to fire you and your co-workers if you even talk about forming a union at your workplace?

Has your boss engaged in outright wage theft? Just taken cash money that’s owed to you in one way or another? Like, as was the case with a restaurant that I heard about last week, not paying employees wages at all — only tips, skimming those too, and threatening to rat out the largely undocumented immigrant waitstaff to ICE if they say boo to anyone who might help them?

If this kind of nonsense or anything like it is happening to you and your co-workers on the job, then the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism is here to help.

We’re not a replacement for starting a union or talking to the Mass Attorney General’s office or the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. But if you really feel you and your co-workers have a legitimate actionable grievance, we — as journalists working in the public interest — can do that thing that most bosses hate the most: we can shine light on your bad situation.

In doing so, we can help government, labor, and nonprofit advocates to find you and fight with you for a better deal on the job. And we can get you support from the general public when it counts.

So here’s how this will work: You flag us at #BINJbadboss on Twitter or by email at Let us know what’s up. You can be as public or anonymous as you like when you contact us. If we see evidence of systematic abuse at your workplace, we’ll get on the case. We’ll publish columns or news articles that will shed some light on your bad boss.

Sound good? Good. My colleagues and I look forward to sharing your stories.


Apparent Horizon is the first column syndicated by the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. Jason Pramas is BINJ network director.

Copyright 2015 Jason Pramas. Licensed for use by the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism and media outlets in its network.