On Being a Slave to One’s Job

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The 13th Amendment to the Constitution outlawed slavery in the United States, and a federal statute (18 U.S.C. § 1584) makes it a crime to hold someone into involuntary servitude. Recently, a plaintiff asserted an “involuntary servitude” claim in federal court. The plaintiff alleged she was not given a job description or adequate training, and had to work with two other women in a hotel suite that was disorganized, loud, and unprofessional. She also claimed she had to work 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the week, and take home work on the weekends. While beauty might be in the eye of the beholder, the Court explained that a worker who is unhappy with working conditions but who is free to leave the job is not a slave, and so the claim had to be dismissed. Mulqueen v. Energy Force, LLC et al., No 3:13-cv-01138-JMM-TMB (W.D. Pa. Nov. 14, 2013).

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