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time cards "rewritten" otherwise not signed by supervisor California

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  • time cards "rewritten" otherwise not signed by supervisor California

    I'm hoping I could get some advice on this issue at work.

    I work in a residential facility for adults with chronic mental illness. My shift is mostly always 3 to 1130pm. We clock in and out for lunches. There have been many times when I am unable to take a lunch before, or even after, my 5th hour of working because I am responding to crisis, lack of staff available to cover my break, or I am out in the community with the clients from 6pm to 9pm. When this happens, I have to fill out a timesheet stating the reason for why I couldn't take a "lunch." I'll explain and submit it for my supervisors signature. Well, on more than one occassion, he will rewrite the time slip stating that I did take a lunch, even when I did not, and i'm forced to sign in, otherwise I won't get paid. I didnt want to make a big deal out of it because my supervisor and I already don't get along so the last thing I want to do is create conflict.

    With that said, recently, I decided that I shouldn't have to compromise working through this so called "lunch break" and I filled out the time slips accurately, once again, before submitting them to my supervisor. When he reviewed them, he asked, "well, why didn't you take a lunch." The time slip had an explanation and I reiterated it and he said, "well, when the clients were having dinner, i saw you eating with them, so why are you saying you didn't get a lunch?" I told him that I was having a slice of pizza while at the same time providing supervision and redirection to the clients so I was working and wasn't able to just leave and take a lunch because I didn't have coverage. He responded with a sarcastic remark and I left it at that.

    So I'm wondering, am I wrong? Is this a violation of the labor law? If anyone has advice for me, I'd really appreciate it.

  • #2
    On the face of it, yes, it is a violation IF you are nonexempt. Note specifically the first sentence of the second paragraph. http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/FAQ_MealPeriods.htm

    You can file a claim with the DLSE.
    http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/HowToFileWageClaim.htm

    It's actually to your advantage that he is "correcting" what you have written rather than "whiting it out", if/when the DLSE asks to see the time records.

    Thank you for the work you do.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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    • #3
      Agreed with what Patty said. Also, the employer altering the time accounting per se is not illegal. The record keeping requirement is on the employer, not the employee, so basically the employer can do whatever they want to the time accounting records, because the employer is the one on the hook for their actions. And as Patty noted, "strike over" corrections that leave the original entry visable is very much the right way to make corrections. Not just from the employee's standpoint, but also from the employer's standpoint.

      HOWEVER, while the employer can do pretty much anything they want with the time accounting records, paying the employee is a VERY different issue. Non-exempt employees are legally paid based on actual hours worked. If the employer fails to do this for any reason, the employer is legally deep doo-doo. There are a huge number of case of the employer altering records to under-record time actually worked, and getting caught at that makes it worse for the employer, because at that point the "error" is deliberate. There is always, always, always an element of conflicting stories in unpaid hours claims. The judges do not always assume that the employer (or the time accounting that they have taught to roll over and play dead) is always right. Or that the employee is always right.

      In general, if the non-exempt employees feels that they are not being correctly paid based on actual hours worked, they should be keeping their own records at home, without using company time or equipment. A paper notebook works great. The judge will not certainly believe the employee, but the judge will not certainly believe employer either. There are no sure things here. Each side tells their story and the judge gets to decide whose story they like best.
      "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
      Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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