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FL Help Needed - Bookkeeper picks / chooses what hours she agrees to pay me for!

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  • FL Help Needed - Bookkeeper picks / chooses what hours she agrees to pay me for!

    I'm in Kissimmee, FL:
    I work part time for a company, sometimes in the retail shop, sometimes at home (I'm a programmer). I've recently started paying attention to my payroll, and am finding that EVERY payroll period, the bookkeeper marks through whatever hours she doesn't want to pay me for (doesn't contact me or the mgr, just marks up my timesheet like a 5th grader's school work). She does it with hours I've worked at home AND hours I was working in the shop - EVERY single paycheck. The assistant and general managers know (as well as the owner) and it STILL continues.

    This will probably cost me this job, but at this point I don't care.

    My hubby says it is "illegal" for her to write on my timesheet without my knowledge or signature. Is this true? I need two favors (please):
    #1) Can you point me to a document online that I can print out and shove under her nose to let her know it's illegal (if it is?).
    #2) WHERE do I go to file (what? a criminal charge? a labor charge?) -- where do I go and what can I do if she does it again? She's bigger than me, it's not like I can get physical ;-)

    Thanks so much for your help. What a tragic day we've come to when we HAVE to work for employers such as this (and I'm a very decent, reputable 50 year old but I don't think my blood pressure can take much more of this).

  • #2
    1. Your husband is wrong. There is no law in any state that makes it illegal for the employer to change a time sheet, with or without the employee being notified. In fact, there are perfectly good reasons for the employer to do so.

    2. If you are a nonexempt employee and you are not being paid for all hours worked, you can either file a wage claim with the federal Dept. of Labor, or a civil suit in the Florida courts. In this particular case, you might be better off with a private action; how many hours are we talking about and how long has this been happening? Do you have copies of your time sheets and copies of your pay stubs to detail the shortages?

    Isn't your supervisor/manager approving your time sheets? What does s/he (or HR, if there is one) say when you bring this up?
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


    • #3
      1. Hubby is wrong. The timesheet belongs to the employer. The employer can legally do anything they want to do with the timesheet, including alter it. There is no law that says the employer cannot alter the timesheet. There is no law that says that the employer must notify the employee of alterations.

      2. HOWEVER, there very much is a federal law (FLSA) that says you must be paid based on actual hours worked. This is a commonly misunderstood point. Let's say that you work 40 hours during the workweek. You must be paid 40 hours NO MATTER WHAT THE TIMESHEET SAYS.

      Start keeping track of actual hours worked. Do so at home. A paper notebook works fine. A copy of the original timesheet also works, but the employer can legally refuse to let you use their photocopiers and can legally fire you for using their photocopiers. It is safer to NEVER use employer time or equipment for personal purposes. Keep personnal stuff personnal, as in well out of your employer's knowledge or access.

      Your state is a problem. Most states have their own departments of labor (DOL). FL does not. FL does not directly enforce it's own labor law. You can file a wage claim with federal DOL, but only for federal minimum wage or overtime. You can file a small claims court action. You can talk to an attorney about a general court action. Unfortunately, FL is a great state to be a bad employer in.
      "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
      Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


      • #4

        Thanks so much for your quick answers, I do appreciate them. I have recently started keeping my hours documented on a calendar in front of me as well (that's how I've been catching her doing it the last several paychecks). When I demand to see the timesheet I've turned in, that's when I see that after I've turned it in she's marked it up like a 5th grade school paper. When I was first hired by them to program, I worked a LOT -- but as all good programmers, once our work is done, it's just updates from now on, so it's very minimal hours at this place these days.

        Looks like it's time I get soooo busy that I just don't have time to work for them anymore! It's coming soooon I'm sure..

        Patty: this is a verrrry small business. I don't think the GM approves anything before it goes to the bookkeeper (but I really don't know) - evidently it just goes to the bookkeeper. Although the GM is who I go to when there's a problem (and ever since I started keeping track myself is when I've seen EACH and EVERY paycheck be docked and timesheet altered). Today, when I asked the GM, "when we get called in early for a staff meeting, do we get paid for that?" GM, "yes!" -- I handed her my last paycheck where SHE'D attached a copy of my timesheet to it and said "then WHY was my time marked out?" and she (the GM) replied, "I KNEW that" now I'm reeeeeeally po'd. She knew it and didn't say anything when she handed me my paycheck last week??? Wow, you'd think if you work for a bunch of old ladies it'd be a sweet job. WRONG. SO WRONG.

        Thanks again for your help.
        Last edited by triciababe; 10-18-2010, 06:08 PM. Reason: added content & replies


        • #5
          Just because they're sweet little old ladies doesn't mean they understand what the law requires.
          The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.