Employee Exploitation - What Does The Bible Say?
One of the greatest evils prevailing among job sectors is the evil of injustice against employees. Some examples of employee exploitation are:
- Not paying salaries or wages in time.
- Overtasking them and not providing time for necessary rest (Sabbatical Injustice).
- Drawing them into unjust employment contracts with terms that are selfish and indifferent towards the employee.
- Paying the employee less than what is justly his/her due.
- Abusing them and dehumanizing them or treating them in an inhumane manner; humiliating or treating them as inferior.
- Blackmailing or forcing them to do things against their conscience.
- Placing them in situations which they are unprepared for and would certainly fail (Uriah's Predicament: David arranged for him to be placed in a position where he would certainly be killed).
- Demanding directly or indirectly illegitimate and illegal conduct from the employee.
- Enslaving them.
- Not relieving them of job with provision when they leave the company or organization.
God is against employee injustice and will hold accountable any employer who fails to do justice to employees. Following are some scriptures by which God declares His law of Justice and how He deals with the workers of iniquity:
Lev 19:13 ' You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob [him.] The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning.
Deu 24:14-15 "You shall not oppress a hired servant [who is] poor and needy, [whether] one of your brethren or one of the aliens who [is] in your land within your gates. Each day you shall give [him] his wages, and not let the sun go down on it, for he [is] poor and has set his heart on it; lest he cry out against you to the LORD, and it be sin to you.
Jer 22:13 "Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness And his chambers by injustice, [Who] uses his neighbor's service without wages And gives him nothing for his work.
Mal 3:5 And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness Against sorcerers, Against adulterers, Against perjurers, Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, And against those who turn away an alien -- Because they do not fear Me," Says the LORD of hosts.
Jas 5:4 Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.
The Lord of Sabaoth is the Lord of all work and wages of righteousness on the earth and will hold accountable all who oppress those who are placed under them.
Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed [is] that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,' and begins to beat [his] fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for [him] and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint [him] his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
God is especially very serious about providing times of due rest to employees so that they are not burnt out.
Exo 23:12 "Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed."
The sabbath day was for refreshing and recovery and healing, quite contrary to what the Jews began to think- they opposed even healing on that day. Sabbath was made for man and not man for sabbath.
Providing a proper leave and rest system is binding on employers.
Now, the employer certainly has the right to give to workers more than they deserve. This would be just an act of Grace.
Mat 20:15 'Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things?'
However, a just and righteous employer will never find a way to give to employees less than their day's wages of labour (The denarius mentioned in the Parable was a laborer's daily wage).
Regarding provision on relieving from job, God specified laws:
Deu 15:13-14 "And when you send him away free from you, you shall not let him go away empty-handed; you shall supply him liberally from your flock, from your threshing floor, and from your winepress. [From what] the LORD has blessed you with, you shall give to him.
Col 4:1 Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.