About my friend

He works under an apprenticeship contract status. He's working two weeks then goes to school for one week. He lives in France.

Short question

My friend has many problems at his job because of his boss and he doesn't dare talk about it. Can/should I should help ?

Long question

My friend is on an internship at a software development company in France. His boss makes him work at least one hour more every day. He makes him work outside of his scheduled hours by giving him things to learn. He gives him no breaks during his working hours (excluding meals) and gives him advice on his private life ("You should find yourself a girlfriend"...).

In addition to stopping sports, he has no social life and is exhausted. There are additional working conditions which also illegal. He doesn't dare complain (to his boss) and is reprimanded if he gets caught taking a break.

Is there anything I can do?

  • 2
    You can encourage your friend to stand up for themselves. – Mister Positive Jan 16 '18 at 14:36
  • 1
    How much longer will this internship last? – user44108 Jan 16 '18 at 14:44
  • 1
    Your friend might have a Workplace problem, but trying to discuss this with him to try to help him would be an Interpersonal Skills problem (if you're considering trying to fix his situation without his permission, that might be a Workplace problem, but it would also be wildly inappropriate and likely to backfire). – Dukeling Jan 16 '18 at 14:49
  • 1
    Your friend will have to at some point stand up for themselves are they are screwed. – Mister Positive Jan 16 '18 at 15:02
  • 1
    Should I help is a different question. Not a clear. VTC – paparazzo Jan 16 '18 at 15:15

It's his job and his life, so you can't actively do anything.

However, you can provide moral support in form of having an open ear for unloading his frustration. You can also help him to research the exact laws, regulations and contract clauses which make the practices of his employer illegal and encourage him to take legal actions. You could also look up job offers at other companies which might fit him and encourage him to apply.

But remember that this isn't your fight. If your friend wants to improve his life, he has to act himself. Also ensure that he actually wants your help. If you overstep his boundaries, you will not achieve anything except harming your friendship.


Either live with it or quit and find another placement.

You mentioned in comments that other interns are treated the same way, so without changing the situation for everyone, you can't change things for one person.

So - quit or stick.

  • The other employees have become used to working more, being the only one to leave is very badly seen. Break this habit need a discussion with the boss no ? – Valentin Silvestre Jan 16 '18 at 15:03
  • 2
    Quit and find another placement then. It's the only alternative. It's unlikely you're going to get the rest of the interns to all do the same thing to fix the situation. – user44108 Jan 16 '18 at 15:09
  • @ValentinSilvestre This sort of company is unfortunately commonplace in the tech industry, from my personal experience. Quitting and finding another internship elsewhere is probably the only way. But your friend also needs to learn how to stand up for himself, otherwise he'll just get stuck in another similar company somewhere down the line. – Steve-O Jan 16 '18 at 15:14
  • But you can't tell your friend to suddenly be more assertive about their needs, it won't work in this case as other interns are also getting the same. You need to be assertive from the start of a new role. – user44108 Jan 16 '18 at 15:19

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.