As an employee making an hourly wage instead of a salary, you deserve to get paid for every minute that you work. In fact, there are federal laws protecting your right to a reasonable wage for the time that you put in on the job. Sadly, many businesses are more interested in maximizing their profits than they are in treating their employees appropriately and complying with wage laws.
Trying to manipulate time clock records in order to minimize what a company has to pay workers is not a new practice. It has been an issue for hourly workers for decades. However, with the rise of digital time clock software, it has become easier than ever before for employers to engage in wage theft that violates their employees’ rights.
Digital time clocks may not give employees records to verify their checks
When workers used to manually punch in and punch out of a shift, there was a physical stamp on a piece of cardstock that proved how many hours they worked during a given pay period. If they thought there was a discrepancy, the workers could easily and quickly review their own time clock records to confirm if their employer didn’t pay them for all the time they worked.
Digital time clocks often don’t provide any sort of physical record. That means that employees must either write down when they clocked in and clocked out or take digital images with their cellphones in order to have proof of the time lost.
Some companies will use this to their advantage by intentionally cutting a few minutes off of workers’ shifts under the assumption that they will not notice. Those who may have qualified for overtime wages are often at higher risk for this behavior.
Some employers manipulate timekeeping software to their own benefit
There are rules regarding how an employer may round down the minutes a worker has put in at a company or round up when they clock in or out. Some employers will attempt to game this system by having software that intentionally deducts a few minutes here and there from their workers.
They may allow workers to clock in before their scheduled shift officially start but refuse to pay them for those minutes. They may also require that employees handle tasks during breaks and lunches without allowing them to adjust their time clock to reflect that extra work.
If you believe that your employer has engaged in wage theft by altering digital time clock records or using a system that minimizes the time staff workers get paid for it, you may need to discuss your situation and concerns with an attorney familiar with wage claims.