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employee caught not signing in and altering start times(IL)

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  • employee caught not signing in and altering start times(IL)

    we have a simple method for tracing time; a clock by the front door and an excel spreadsheet for each hourly employee. An employee was caught not writing thier start time until after lunch and when doing so putting a different start time down(instead of 25min. late they put only 13 min. late) Does it need to be stated by the company that altering time is reason for dismissal or are there state/ fed laws governing this. It has been verbally stated on our end but we have nothing in writing as of today; as a small intimate company we didn't think this would be a problem.

  • #2
    An employee can be fired for any reason that does not violate the law, regardless of whether there is a written policy to that effect or not. Since there is no law that says you cannot be fired for altering your time, you may legally fire the employee for this reason regardless of whether you have a policy saying this is a reason for termination or not.

    While the termination will be legal, it is *possible* depending on your state, that they may be eligible for UI if there is no written policy. I would think it unlikely, since common sense would say that an altering your time card to say you worked time that you did not would be a reason for termination. But some states take a hard line on whether or not an employee "knew" that they could be fired for what they were doing, or not. I don't know off hand how Arizona views it.

    But you can definitely term them for this; the only question is whether they would be UI eligible or not.
    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.


    • #3
      I am not an HR expert or have the experience level of many posters on here, I simply like to read the threads and learn my lessons. These forums have been very valuable to me over the years. That being said, let's move on.

      I find it disturbing that you want to terminate this employee for not listing the correct time, I understand that is falsification of company records and makes you wonder what else has been intentionally altered in favor of the employee. I understand this siutation as an employer.

      However I question if this is the only purpose in wanting to terminate this employee?? Is there other reasons? Yes you can terminate the employee, but is it the best decision for the company in the long run? Are you worrying about pennies & nickles and forgetting about he dollar bills?

      I feel that such a small matter could easily be corrected and everyone move on to more important items, ie making money. Just my humble opinion.


      • #4
        So, you don't think that theft from the company (which is what this amounts to - by putting down an incorrect time he is being paid money he did not earn) is a sufficient reason to terminate someone? What makes you think there is a hidden agenda? Why is this not a good enough reason, and in your view what would be?
        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.


        • #5

          I guess I had to many years as a district manager, I question everything.

          Yes, that employee can be fired for theft, and chances are I've probably terminated somone for that offense or something even less. But with maturity and old age, I've become wiser and I believe a little smarter in how I handle these unique siutations.

          The fact is, firing and hiring employees is an expensive procedure and can have many pitfalls. If that position has any type of responsibility it will probably take 3 months to one year to get a new person operating at full efficiency...that's an expense.

          Not justifying the crime, but lets consider theft. Cbg have you ever played on the computer when you were supposed to be working? Have you ever taken a pen home that belongs to the company? Possibly you may have made a personal telephone call on company time? Should we examine your expense account for mathmatical errors? Yeah these are mistakes, are they enough to be bring out the firing squad?

          To me this is a no-brainer....counsel the employee, put up a sign stating that clocking in/out incorrectly will not be tolerated. If the employee does this again then it would be time to get serious and think about termination.


          • #6
            But the poster didn't ask what you, or I, thought they ought to do. They asked whether or not they could legally fire the employee. And that's the question I answered.

            If you don't feel that it's a fireable offense, then you are free to provide counselling to the employee before you do so. But what neither you nor I know is whether this is a first offense. The poster's question was whether they could legally fire the employee if there is no written policy to that effect. They didn't ask what I would do, or what you would do, in the same situation.

            For the record, I have worked in HR for 25 years and I am well aware of the cost of firing an employee. I also know that every situation is different, and that the poster is the one who is best qualifed to determine whether or not firing is justifiable.
            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.


            • #7
              Yes, you did answer the poster's exact question.


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