Disturbing News for Your Boss

Bob Goldman on

It's the law, or it soon could be.

According to legislation proposed by San Francisco Assembly Member Matt Haney, a new law -- AB 2751 to its friends -- and it has lots of friends -- an employee whose boss disturbs them outside of working hours would have a legal right to ignore nonemergency calls and emails. Even better, the employee could legally charge their boss with a crime.

As we say on "Law & Order": "dun-dun."

Until the premier of "Law & Order: Irritating Manager Unit," let's take a closer look at AB 2751.

Basically, your boss can disturb you to their heart's content during official office hours, but when you're off the clock, managers could be fined cold hard cash if they can't stay off the phone, the email, the text, the Slack or activate your company's fleet of executive carrier pigeons. You will have to be bugged three separate times before you can make a complaint, but once your boss gets on a roll, three intrusive interruptions, before or after business hours, should be a piece of cake (with a saw baked inside)!

The amount of the fine starts at $100, which seems low for overpaid managers who would find the pleasure of waking you out of a sound sleep to be well worth a C-note. Still, it's a step forward. Once the U.S. legal system officially recognizes your right to have a private life, maybe your boss can, too.


If establishing a boundary between your job and your life interests you, better read "Your Boss Could be Fined $100 for Bothering You After Work Under a Newly Proposed California Law," a recent article by Morgan Smith on the CNBC website.

According to Smith's reporting, "right to disconnect" laws are already on the books in 10 other countries, including France, Canada and Portugal. Australia's law is set to start later this year, assuming someone can convince the kangaroos to participate.

Remote workers will also be covered, by the way, which means you may have to make the hours you work even more squishy. This way you can file a complaint on a call at 2 p.m. or a call at 2 a.m. You should also be aware that while proposed legislation is focused on bad bosses, it could someday be extended to conniving co-workers, including you.

If you want to wake up your nemesis in HR at 5 a.m. on a Sunday to check the status of your expense account reimbursement, do it now. When the law passes, it will cost you.


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