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Working daily before being put on the clock- Maryland

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  • Working daily before being put on the clock- Maryland

    I have been doing a lot of reading on the internet and I’m about 99.9% certain that construction company my fiancé works for is violating Wage Laws.

    My fiancé is afraid to call and report the violations because he does not know if it’s the company who is breaking the law or is it the foreman. He doesn’t want the foreman to lose his job. He is also afraid that the company will find out it is him and find some reason (probably permanent layoff) to let him go or the company will go bankrupt.

    My fiancé said that this has been going on for years. He has been there for 6 years and they have always done things this was. There are over 200 employees working there. I don’t understand how this has been going on for all these years! My fiancé’s response was “that’s just how construction industry is”
    My fiancé is required to meet at his company at 5:30 am. At that time the crew loads up the truck with tools and materials (very heavy materials). It takes anywhere between 30-45 minutes to load the truck. When they are finished loading the truck they leave in a company truck and travel to the first job site. He does not start getting paid until 7am (unless he arrives at the job site earlier, then the time would start once he arrives at the site). My fiancé has brought this up to his foreman, who is also a “friend” of his. The foreman said that he shouldn’t be getting paid to sit in the truck while they travel to the job so they compromise and start the crew at 7am even though they often don’t get to the job site until 7:30 am).
    From what I have read, if the company requires him to be there at 5:30 then he should start getting paid at that time, regardless of what time they arrive at the job site. Am I correct with that? If so does he go off the clock once he is on the road or is it paid from 5:30 until they leave the last job site?

    There have been a few times when they haven’t had to load the truck before leaving for the job site but they still don’t start paying them until they arrive at the job or 7am (whichever happens first). Are they still required to pay him even if he isn’t loading the truck because they are requiring him to meet at the company?

    Also, sometimes when they leave the final job they stop at a home improvement store to buy tools/lumber. Are they required to pay him until he leaves the home improvement store or when he arrives back at the company?

    The foreman tracks his time on a time sheet but never tells the crew what time they clocked out. If they leave at 3:45, he doesn’t know if he is getting paid until 3:30 or 4pm. (Foreman claims they get paid in 30 min increments). When he does ask the foreman about his hours he has a hissy fit.

    Is there anything that I can do? He won’t report them because of the reasons I listed above. I’m beyond frustrated. I sent the company an anonymous letter (from a concerned family member) spelling out the laws they are breaking but they never responded to me.

    Any advice? I have no idea what to do.

    What would happen if I were able to get him to file a complaint? Do they pack back wages as well?

    Thank you

  • #2
    An anonymous letter from a non-employee isn't going to get very far with 99% of employers. He should be paid for all time during which he is performing work for the company and under the company's control. If he must be there at 5:30 to load the truck, he should be paid starting at 5:30. If he must stop on the way home from a site to pick up materials, that time should be paid as well. If he stops on the way home to grab a snack or personal shopping, it would not. The problem isn't the times written on the timesheet (at least from a legal standpoint) but rather if he is getting paid for all the hours he actually works. Whether the timsheet itself says 5:30- 3 or 7- 4:30 is legally meaningless though the company might have internal rules about that. It should be clear or at least easy enough to figure out how many hours he is getting paid for using his check and hourly rate.

    If he refuses to report it or ask anyone at the company about the practice there isn't much that can be done. It could be the foreman is confused, crooked, or working under a directive from above. If there is a payroll department, he can start there. A simple, "Gee, I worked X hours but only got paid for Y" is all it takes. He can also report it to the DLLR. I can't promise he won't be let go but legally he would have recourse if that happens. Ultimately though, YOU don't have standing to report this. HE does. If he is unwilling to even ask the question or bring it up let alone report it, I wouldn't expect it to change.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you for replying! If we were to call and report the violations would they release his name to the employer?

      Do you think if there was a column in our local newspaper it would help? I have a close friend that writes for the paper and would be willing to write an article about the company.

      Comment


      • #4
        A newspaper article is not going to force change, assuming the editors even approve it. I'd be VERY surprised if an internal pay issue would make the paper as it is of limited interest to only a small number of people. I have family members working in the media and while they get numerous such requests daily, they almost never make it as stories as disputes with employers are not really news. Either way, sharing company information with a reporter is NOT protected so if they find out who talked (and if you have a friend who writes an article, guess where they will look first) they could legally terminate him.

        The DLLR will not share his name with the employer. That is not to say they might not figure it out. You can find more information here http://www.dllr.state.md.us/labor/wa...remedies.shtml
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

        Comment

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