Boss who alters employee timecard could face jail, Labor Dept. audit

CAN THEY DO THAT?

March 01, 2006|By CARRIE MASON-DRAFFEN | CARRIE MASON-DRAFFEN,NEWSDAY

Is it against labor laws for a manager to change your timecard to make it look as if you punched in later? I have a friend who is experiencing this, and she asked me to find out if the boss is allowed to shave time off the card.

To put it in today's teen vernacular: "This is so not legal."

If your friend is an hourly employee, she has to be paid for all the time she works. Shaving time off her timecard doesn't change what she is owed. It does, however, put her company at risk of being audited and maybe fined by the U.S. Labor Department.

The company could face minimum-wage violations if the alteration takes her hourly pay for the week below the federal or state minimum. The company also could face a criminal violation for falsifying records.

So when her company alters her timecards it is picking her pocket and a whole lot more. For more information, tell her to call the Labor Department at 866-487-2365.

I work for a small company with seven employees, including me. When a supervisor left, I took over his job. It involved a lot of overtime to catch up on production. The company gave me a pay raise but said I wouldn't receive overtime. That doesn't seem legal, because I am still an hourly employee. How can I reconcile my concern to make this company profitable with the feeling that the very same company is abusing me?

"Hourly employee" and overtime go hand in hand in the labor laws. Even if the company could legally classify you as exempt from overtime because you are a manager, once it treats you as an hourly employee the exemption is nullified and the company is on the hook for overtime pay.

Managers exempt from overtime must earn at least $455 a week, supervise at least two employees regularly and devote most of their time to managing.

So you need to determine what your employment status is and talk to your company about honoring it. Your direct approach is probably the swiftest, if not the only, way to stop the abuse.

carrie.draffen@newsday.com

Carrie Mason-Draffen writes for Newsday.

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