Bad Boss Sins: Stealing Credit, Slow To Approve Time Off

By Kathy Gurchiek Aug 14, 2008

Workers who work the night shift, have difficulty getting time off approved, or don’t receive recognition for hard work or success are most likely to rate their supervisors as bad bosses, according to a nationwide survey of 1,000 working adults.

About 10 percent of the respondents say they have bad bosses—that extrapolates to about 15 million workers across the United States, according to the researchers. On the other hand, about two-thirds rated their bosses highly: 31 percent gave their bosses the highest rating, a 10, and 35 percent rated their bosses an 8 or 9.

Findings released in July are based on a May 2008 phone survey for Working America with workers who are not business owners, CEOs or salaried managers or supervisors. Working America Institute is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.

The survey found:

  • More than one-third (38 percent) of evening workers said their bosses very or somewhat frequently take credit for their work, vs. 21 percent of daytime workers who say this happens.
  • 45 percent of workers who work evenings said it’s difficult to get time off approved by their bosses. Black employees (37 percent)—especially black men (39 percent)—are most likely to say it is difficult to get approval.
  • 41 percent of workers said their bosses never provide recognition for hard work or success.
  • 25 percent said their bosses don’t provide guidance and the opportunities necessary to advance.
  • More than half said they are not allowed any non-lunch breaks or only one or two non-lunch breaks, although men were more likely than women to say they were allowed to take non-lunch breaks.
  • Almost one-fourth (23 percent) of workers under age 40 say their bosses frequently ask them to work late unexpectedly; 21 percent of these workers say their bosses micromanage them.
  • 13 percent of workers overall say their bosses are not hard working or accessible and that “dishonest” and “lazy” are traits that describe their bosses very or somewhat well.

Kathy Gurchiek is associate editor for HR News. She can be reached at


Job Finder

Find an HR Job Near You
Post a Job


Find the Right Vendor for Your HR Needs

SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies

Search & Connect