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Fined for stopping to use bathroom - Virginia

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  • Fined for stopping to use bathroom - Virginia

    A little over a month ago, we were driving in from working out of town, pulled over on a little backroad in the country about 15 minutes from our office, and everyone riding in the vehicle with me got out to use the restroom except me. A car pulled up, saw them using the bathroom, and called our employer to tell. We were all simply warned for this offense. I can understand being punished for this offense.

    This issue comes because about 2-3 week later, once again coming in from out of town, we spitefully stopped at a restaurant to use the bathroom, where the woman who tattled on us works. Once again, I stayed in the truck and didn't get out. Once again, the woman called the owner of our company to tattle on us. This time I was docked two dollars an hour and the other guys who actually used the restroom were docked one dollar an hour. (I was docked more because I was "supposed to be responsible for them") So far my past two checks have been docked, and after I talked to him today, he didn't give me an end date for the pay cut. It has totaled up to about $230 pre-tax so far (account for 1.5x pay overtime) Both times we were in a company vehicle, but off of the clock. Is this something he can legally do, or do we have a valid complaint if we call a labor board, or someone along those lines?

  • #2
    On a going-forward basis, an employer can reduce an employee's hourly pay (but not below minimum wage and not in violation of an employment contract or union agreement). I don't know the specifics of Virginia law, but no state that I know of allows an employer to reduce an employee's wages without telling them in advance, so if any amounts were taken out for hours that you worked before you were told, that is probably not legal (it's unclear from your post).
    David K. Staub (www.illinoisbusinessattorney.com)
    Forum posts are not legal advice, are for informational and educational purposes only, and are not a substitute for proper consultation with legal counsel.

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    • #3
      We're paid a "week in the hole", he did inform me he would be docking my pay, but said it would be $1 an hour, not two, but he didn't tell the other two they would be docked. Also, the first check that got docked, was for time I had already worked before he informed me of the pay deduction.

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      • #4
        He wouldnt' be able to dock from previously worked hours, but could going forward if you have been notified that stopping (or whatever behavior he doesn't want) is against policy. If he had a prior policy about docking pay for issues like this, than he could dock you. And if I am reading your posting correctly, the first time the employees were availing themselves in public by the side of the road rather than in public restroom facilities? I would "tattle" too. That is unprofessional and actually disgusting and in some places against the law.

        That said, you could be fired if you break that policy.

        From an employer's point of view, stopping 15 minutes away one time is a mistake. Doing it a second time after knowing you got in trouble/a warning the first time is deliberate insubordination AND you were not smart to "spitefully" do it again. You didn't prove anything to the lady who called or to your employer except that you are not a great set of employees. If you are responsible for the group, then I suggest you take the keys and drive straight back to the office without a stop 15 minutes away.

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        • #5
          Thank you hr for me,
          I read this and knew we weren't hearing the whole story, good read on your part.

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          • #6
            Thread hijack - Sockeye, SO good to see you back! Don't be a stranger, 'k? End thread hijack.
            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.

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            • #7
              I think I saw Sockeye post last month & "lurking" around since but just not posting.
              Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

              Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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