People Share The Less Obvious Red Flags Your Employer Might Have

Ashley Hunte
Rows and rows of red pennants.
Unsplash | Girl with red hat

Being stuck in a toxic workplace is a nightmare I'm sure most of us share. While it can be easy to spot certain red flags from toxic employers, it isn't always as straightforward.

The good people of Reddit did us all a favor by answering the question "What is a red flag from an employer that people might not immediately recognize as a red flag?" Get ready to take notes.

1. "When an employee quits or gets fired from the job and the company doesn't hire anyone new to replace them." - The_Quicktrigger

A person in an office setting carrying a small box.
Unsplash | Bench Accounting

"It can be hard to tell as a red flag at first, but the temporary workload they added to your own over that was left over after the person left, slowly becomes your new permanent workload, without any changes to your pay or benefits to compensate for the additional tasks."

"The further out it goes without the position being filled, the larger and more obvious the red flag becomes."

A woman biting a pencil in frustration while staring at a laptop screen.

This is pretty tricky because you might not even notice how much extra work you're doing at first. This is basically an employer's way of getting you to do more for less.

2. "The CEO/boss/whatever drives a conspicuously expensive car." - snootfull

An expensive sports car zooming down a rural road.
Unsplash | Kahl Orr

This one may sound weird, but OP has a really good explanation on how this could correlate to toxic workplace behavior on the CEO's part.

" my experience leaders who are focused on the external indicators of their personal success will orient their behavior and decisions towards their own benefit versus benefiting the entire company and/or other employees."

"In more extreme cases- which unfortunately are not uncommon- these people tend towards the narcissistic personality type..."

Woman praising herself
Giphy | The Bachelor

"Which means they will tend set their direct reports against each other rather than encouraging and fostering collaboration and display other behaviors that make for a miserable workplace."

They also clarify that when they say "conspicuously expensive car," they mean those super over the top sports cars and stuff.

3. "If it's a job in a manufacturing or distribution facility, is it messy or tidy?" - snootfull

A large warehouse with boxes neatly lined along shelves that are several storeys high.
Unsplash | Ruchindra Gunasekara

"Messy, cluttered facilities are indicative of poor management, plus they can be dangerous."

Disorganization is a bad sign in any workplace, but if you're work involves physical labor and the place is a mess, it's a sign the employer doesn't care about your safety or well-being.

4. "They try to sell you their service during your interview." - Zickna

Man does victory dance in office.
Giphy | Corporate Bro

I would probably take this as a sign you might be about to join a cult. Or worse, an MLM.

If you don't know what a company does before you interview them, and they have to try to convince you it's good during the interview? Run.

5. "If the job description has a nondescriptive massive salary range." - JetSetJAK

Piles of USD dollar bills, including $50 and $100.
Unsplash | Avinash Kumar


Yeah... if a company is advertising salaries that range from entry-level to upper management for the same role, something isn't adding up. Any range that's higher than $10k or maybe $20k is suspicious.

6. "I know people like to hate on HR, but if a company brags about 'not having an HR department to deal with,' expect them to be very disorganized at a minimum." - abolish_gender

Man says they had an HR meeting
Giphy | PeacockTV

HR isn't always as bad as people make it out to be. And to be honest, there are a lot of cases where a company not having any kind of human resources department is... a lot worse.

7. "If you’re being interviewed/hired and they tell you have/will have multiple managers to report to." - Orpheus6102

A man holding two boxes and looking at either of them.
Giphy |

"Basically if there is not a clear chain of command. What’ll happen is eventually one manager’s directions, goals or instructions will conflict with the other’s, and you’ll get caught in the middle of it."

There's a big difference between being able to report to your boss's boss if you need to, and having two or three whole bosses who are competing for your time.

8. "Trying to rush a decision out of you once the offer is made." - aattanasio2014

Judge Judy tapping on her watch, and then on her desk.

"I once interviewed with a company where I would have been relocating across the country to work for them.

"There were 3 rounds of interviews and they left me completely in the dark for weeks on end between each round before inviting me to the next round within just a few days of when the interview would take place."

"After the final interview it was over a month of silence from them until they made an offer but told me I had less than 24 hours to let them know my decision."

The second hand on an analogue wall clock spinning quickly.
Giphy | MercyhurstU

"They wanted me to start 6 days after the offer had been made. When I asked if there was any flexibility for me to have more time to think it over or have more time to move out there, they said no."

Basically, they kept OP waiting for weeks, only to demand a decision from them ASAP. Definitely red flag behavior if I've ever seen it.

9. "The 'sink or swim' technique." - I_am_dean

A scene from South Park where a cashier is greeting customers.
Giphy | South Park

"It was my first day as a cashier, I got a couple of hours of training, then I was by myself and we were dead."

Any good retail place will have new cashier supervised at all times before they're ready to be on their own.

"All of a sudden this rush came in and I was asking for help. The manager goes, 'sink or swim, we’re busy back here, figure it out.'"

A person crying for help while sinking in a lake.

The last thing you want is an untrained cashier. Like, unless you like losing money, because new and inexperience cashiers are more likely to fall for scams.

10. "A couple old senior partners, lots of young employees and nothing in between." - Thirty_Helens_Agree

Steve Buscemi dressed as a high schooler saying, "how do you do, fellow kids?"

"That means there’s no opportunity to move up, they can’t get people to stay, and can’t get lateral transfers."

Sure, when you're young, the idea of working with people around your age seems great. But you'll quickly figure out that the work you're doing is not worth the pay.

11. "Asking if you are somebody who's 'willing to put in the time to make sure deadlines are met/work is done...'"

Stanley from The Office looking at a wall clock, and then at his own watch.
Giphy | The Office

"...or if you're 'the type of person who leaves when the 'workday' is finished?'

"This is generally corporate speak for 'we will be forcing you to work unpaid overtime.'"

The way they word it is so evil, too. Like, somehow overworking yourself is good, and leaving at a normal hour is "shameful?" Oh, please.

12. "There's a misery wall when walking into work. When you pass a certain point in the building the feeling changes significantly." - PeachLeech

A woman saying, "that's not the vibe."
Giphy | NBC

Yeah, like, if you go into the break room or something and the energy instantly feels different, that's a huge red flag. Don't work somewhere that literally steals your soul.

13. "When they say, or try to make you sign, anything pertaining to not discussing your wages with other employees..." - EndlesslyUnfinished

Dwight from the office shushing menacingly.

"That... is illegal and it SCREAMS that people aren’t being fairly compensated for their work."

It's pretty telling if they especially don't want you talking about it with people from your own department.

13. "When you don’t get a review until you ask for a raise. Then, all of a sudden, you work is being questioned and you’re being berated." - Joeyjackhammer

Michael from the office giving an unseen employee a performance review.
Giphy | The Office

If an employer loves telling you you're doing a good job (especially if you clock in a lot of unpaid overtime), but is suddenly harsh if you try to ask for a raise, you might want to think about finding a new place to work.

14. "'We're a family here.'" - [deleted]

HR woman calling people family.
Giphy | Kim's Convenience

"No. We're co-workers. I don't love you. I wouldn't do anything for you. We have boundaries."

Don't get me wrong, workplace friendships are great! But if there's an expectation that you treat your coworkers and managers like family, it's really not a good sign.

14. "Whenever an ad says 'Flexible schedule,' it never ever means that you can work when you want." - Ok-Advantage4191

A screen showing a person's daily schedule, which consists of work from 9am to 6pm.
Giphy | The Hills

"It always means that they can schedule you any time week to week without giving you any consistency."

This is especially true for retail. Employers may advertise flexible work hours, but they're hesitant to hire people who aren't available all the time.