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Reporting rounding and whistle-blower protection Michigan

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  • Reporting rounding and whistle-blower protection Michigan

    I recently realized my paychecks were coming up short of hours for me. I looked at some previous time cards and confronted my boss.

    He says that if we are 1 minute late (9:01 for me) we don't get paid until 9:15. I understand that this an acceptable practice. Now on the many days I stay late helping customers (sometime until 5:07) I'm not getting credit for staying until 5:15. Even if I stay until 5:01, shouldn't I be getting paid for staying until 5:15...wouldn't this be the way to round equally as stated by law?

    When I told him this, he pretty much said "It's our way or the highway". So, I've decided to report them to the Michigan DOL. I understand I can be disciplined up to the point of being fired for being tardy, but I believe he is still wrong about the rounding.

    One question, doesn't the whistle-blower law protect me if I do report this? Also, I realize it's possible that they won't actually fire me for reporting this, but could wait until the next time I am one minute late and then fire me for being late. I've been there thirteen years and they've never said anything before about being a few minutes late. Do you think that a court would see through them firing me for "being late" and realize why I was really fired??

    Just need some opinions before I do anything stupid. The state says I can file for up to one year. I've been there 13 and assume this has been going on the whole time. Would I be better off suing for a longer time frame? Would suing instead of reporting it negate the whistleblower protection?

    P.S. I'm sick as hell of the job, if they did fire me I could collect unemployment while looking for a new job, couldn't I? But, I couldn't collect it if I quit..correct???


    Thanks for your time all..

    P.P.S. Just read the complaint form. It says I have one year to file for non-payment of wages, it also says I have three years to claim not being paid the minimum wage. The way I see it, I was not paid the minimum wage in 15 minute increments over the course of the last 3 years...acceptable loophole, or am I dreaming?
    Last edited by tommyd; 06-30-2006, 05:02 PM.

  • #2
    I said rounded 'up' in that post, meaning 9:01 would get rounded to 9:15. Punching out at 5:01 would also be 5:15
    The law intends the nearest 15-minute interval. However, this rounding method, because it is consistent both for late ins and late outs, would meet the practical intent of the regulation.

    Now on the many days I stay late helping customers (sometime until 5:07) I'm not getting credit for staying until 5:15. Even if I stay until 5:01, shouldn't I be getting paid for staying until 5:15...wouldn't this be the way to round equally as stated by law?
    Yes.

    One question, doesn't the whistle-blower law protect me if I do report this?
    Generally speaking, yes.

    Do you think that a court would see through them firing me for "being late" and realize why I was really fired??
    Very likely. Especially if you can show that others were not fired for the same offense, that you did not have excessive tardies according to the attendance policy, etc.

    The way I see it, I was not paid the minimum wage in 15 minute increments over the course of the last 3 years...acceptable loophole, or am I dreaming?
    I'm pretty confident that you're dreaming.

    Of course, the solution to the whole problem is do what you have to do to get there a few minutes ahead of time so you never clock in late.
    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
      Thanks for your reply Patty.

      I completely understand the whole concept of getting there on-time(It's pretty much what my boss told me before the 'it's my way or the highway' speech). I am going to make an increased effort to always be on-time. It's a smaller, family-owned business. Nothing has ever been said about occasional tardiness(well, except in our paychecks) I just think it's completely unfair(and illegal) that I'm constantly expected to finish with customers past closing time without being paid, yet the next time I may be one minute late, i'm docked.

      I've actually decided to write my bosses all letters about this policy. I'm writing in the letter that if the policy isn't changed, I will report it to the DOL. I'm also writing that I'm not trying to seek any back pay from them, just consistency in the future. I figure that is somewhat of an olive branch on my part. Also, I think i'm covered by the whistleblower law because it is a threat to report. Good/bad idea?

      the attendance policy
      That's a funny one...policy. I'm pretty sure they don't know what the word policy means.


      Here's the last paragraph that I am putting in my letter. I'd rather leave this threatening paragraph out, but I think I'm leaving it in just to protect myself. Does my earlier conversation telling my boss that he was violating the law(which was witnessed by two other employees) constitute enough of a threat to report(even though I never mentioned actually reporting them) to give me protection under the whistleblower act? If that is enough to protect me against being fired, I'll leave the paragraph out. I guess I don't really want to be fired.

      "If this policy continues, I will file a complaint with the MDOL. Please do not take this as a threat, i'm just looking out for my legal rights. I came to you first because I'm not looking for any back pay(which is what the MDOL will look for), just a fair, legal policy for the future"
      Last edited by tommyd; 07-01-2006, 10:03 AM.

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      • #4
        To be honest, I'm not positive that the "threat to report" is covered in the federal law, or if not, in your state. Hang in there for an attorney; I'm not one, I'm just a lowly Payroll Manager (currently) and Compliance consultant (in the past) with 28 years of exeperience.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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        • #5
          This is the Michigan law:

          15.362 Discharging, threatening, or otherwise discriminating against employee reporting violation of law, regulation, or rule prohibited; exceptions.

          Sec. 2.

          An employer shall not discharge, threaten, or otherwise discriminate against an employee regarding the employee's compensation, terms, conditions, location, or privileges of employment because the employee, or a person acting on behalf of the employee, reports or is about to report, verbally or in writing, a violation or a suspected violation of a law or regulation or rule promulgated pursuant to law of this state, a political subdivision of this state, or the United States to a public body, unless the employee knows that the report is false, or because an employee is requested by a public body to participate in an investigation, hearing, or inquiry held by that public body, or a court action.


          Still not sure if that means that me making him aware of the illegal policy qualifies me or not.

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          • #6
            The way I interpret that is that simply bringing a violation to the employer's attention would not be covered. "I'm going to report this to the DOL if it is not corrected" probably would be, because that could be deemed "about to report". Again, though, just using common sense here.
            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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            • #7
              Thanks, I really do appreciate your replies.

              So, I guess my main question is do I put in the threat to report in my letter? The main point of my whole letter is that I would like a fair(and legal) policy for time clock rounding. Pretty much the only reason I put in the last paragraph about threatening to report is because I want to protect myself. I always thought in the past that I could be up front with my employer. After his actions on Friday, I'm not quite so sure anymore.

              I don't think there is anything in the rest of the letter that would actually make him fire me, but who knows? Putting my threat to report in this letter is probably what will burn him up the most, but it may be what in the end saves my job.

              So, opinions.....leave that paragraph in, or take it out? It's my burning question!!!

              Comment


              • #8
                Honestly, I would take it out, at least for the first submission. It's very possible they may take your suggestions under advisement, at least for now.
                I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                • #9
                  Thanks Patty, I think that's a good idea.

                  Comment

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