Modern Time Clocks are Computers and Can Be Programmed to Steal Your Wages
Employers have used time clocks for many years to track hours worked and calculate wages due employees. Older time (punch) clocks used paper time cards. The employee placed their time card into the employer’s time clock stamping a date and time on the employee time card. The employer then used the times recorded on the employee time card to calculate the wages due the employee. Now, most time clocks have transition from punch cards to an electronic time clock. What some may not realize is that the electronic time clocks often have sophisticated computers operating in the background. This allows your managers to go in and manually change the time you start or stop work without your knowledge. It also allows the employer to program the time clock to automatically discard specific time from all employees. For instance, if you are scheduled to work at 10am, but your work it already busy, the employer could ask you to start early. The electronic time clock could be programmed to ignore any time worked before you were scheduled to start. This is true regardless of whether your manager told to start your shift early.
By altering your punch-in and punch-out times electronically, the number of hours you are paid is reduced to a number that is lower than the hours you actually worked. Obviously, this causes you to earn less money on your paycheck. Usually, these alterations, whether manually performed by your manager or programmed into the time system, are fairly small. On first blush, you might believe, what is five minutes. However, when you realize that you mist 5-20 minutes per week, and you have already worked 25 weeks, you realize that you are due almost a full day’s wage. Then if you figure out how many employees the employer has, you can see why this is so profitable. For instance, in the same example, with 100 employees, you are looking at 100 days of free work. Even at minimum wage, the employer in this situation likely saves over $6,000. The more employees they have and the more they take at any one time, the more the employer can save.
Employees subject to such wage theft are likely due the unpaid wages, plus a civil penalty, and if the employment has ended penalty wages. These penalties can exceed several thousand dollars each. Always track the time you work and the time shown on your paycheck stub to determine whether you were paid for all the time you worked. If your boss is stealing your wages and refusing to pay them, call the wage and hour lawyers at Schuck Law at (360) 566-9243 for a free consultation, or visit our website at the Oregon Wage Claim page.