From exploit; the act of exploiting. a. To make use of or productively utilize. b. To make use of in an unjust, cruel or selfish manner for one's own advantage.
See also: corporate abuse, slavery, child labor, child sexual exploitation, human exploitation, animal abuse, Class warfare
The use of the word 'exploitation' is a common, humanist characterisation of the work for pay system, when it is applied with cruelty, or with compulsion, or on terms that are disagreeable to the employee.
These differences are largely in perception, though its not to say they are not genuine.
The elitist point of view of the employer is likely to see even an extremely imbalanced exchanged as fair, by virtue of the limited options of the servant.
The employee point of view can also be imbalanced by its perception, we can see this example in labor union issues, where some might levee their political power for self-serving reasons such as undue perks or excess pay raises. These kinds of labor abuses occur rarely and only in first-world economies, after existing imbalances in the employer's favor are countered, and then the union becomes a tool of selfish abuse.
A common example of corporate exploitation clothing corporations such as Nike, and The Gap, in using child labor (sweatshops) in extremely poor nations to manufacture their products for little relative pay.
These companies often argue that even such low wages are living wages for that location. This is seen by some as disingenuous, as they are in fact exploiting people by the terms of unequal human standards. Corporate wealth is a strong incentive in governments with weak human standards, and rampant corruption.
Thus the case is often made that a corporate entity shares complicity in human rights abuses, when it enters into a working partnership with a tyrannical and abusive political governments, to exploit the people for their labor.