Is it illegal to write in your hours?

I work part time at a Dr's office 6 days a week. Most weekends I stay late as I have a lot of work to finish since I only work part time. I have forgotten to clock out a couple times but remembered the time I left so I just wrote it in. The Dr saw the hours I wrote in and said that it was illegal because I could have just made it up. Even though I told her I did stay until that time she docked my time anyway by about 2 hours per day that I forgot to clock out. She stated she learned from Administration class that if an employee writes in their hours they should automatically receive 0 hours for that day because it is forgery. I would like to know if this is true because I feel even though it's my fault for forgetting to clock out she can't legally dock my hours because she wasn't here herself to determine whether I worked those hours or not. Please help!

1 answer  |  asked Mar 2, 2011 12:22 PM [EST]  |  applies to California

Answers (1)

Janet M. Koehn
It is up to your employer to make certain that your time is accurately recorded, and to pay you for the hours worked. Your employer owes you for the time she did not pay you. It is not "forgery" to accurately report your time worked by another means. Your employer needs to look at the definition of "forgery" in the penal code. There are ways to accurately keep track of time for employees who are not supervised, for example computer programs that record precisely when you have logged off.

That said, your employer has the right to discipline you (though not by docking your pay) for violating a rule requiring you to "clock out" at the end of your shift. That discipline can include up to and including firing you. But she still owes you the time!

Talk to your employer and agree that you broke a company rule, but that you need to be paid for your time. Suggest that you get a computer program that will record when you have logged off your computer on weekends, so that your time is recorded automatically. If you cannot resolve the pay issue, you can get assistance from the "labor board" (California Dept. of Labor Standards Enforcement).

posted by Janet M. Koehn  |  Mar 2, 2011 12:34 PM [EST]

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