This opinion might be a bit overly broad, and is clearly based on anecdotal evidence, but there’s no question this goes on in many workplaces.
The philosophy of today’s corporations is simple: get all you can out of employees and pay them as little as possible. If possible hire them on a freelance basis so that you don’t have to pay for their benefits.
Of course, this violates nearly all the principles of good management, but such corporations have forsworn the principles of good management long ago, in favor of the immediate gratification of saving money and seeing their employees skip and squirm to the company’s tune. The fact that more and more employees were developing illness such as heart disease and stomach ulcers did not concern them.
This is the lesson too many people haven’t learned. The people who run companies will almost always do what they can get away with. If they can make you believe that you are lucky yo have your job, they can get away with a whole lot more.
Ultimately, only you can decide where your lines are. You have to decide how much of your life you’re going to give to your employer, and when they start demanding more than that, it’s time to go do something else.
And, eventually, when every company starts demanding more that anyone should be willing to give, the whole system will correct itself somehow, and those sort of corrections never turn out the way either side expects. So maybe we should avoid that.