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    ERH81's Avatar
    ERH81 Posts: 11, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Feb 13, 2015, 05:34 AM
    Overtime pay withheld due to company policy
    I was told that there was no overtime at my job. There is an annual event that we all go to and get paid OT for but that's it. My Managers were aware that I was working later on a big project I was given and I was not paid for it. A year later, I questioned why we are made to sign pre-filled with 40 hours "timecards" if we (all hourly employees) paid a straight 40 hours and it was mentioned that overtime had to be pre-approved, a policy I never heard of. I then asked if anyone was getting overtime and through various measures between my boss and I, where he showed me payroll data and I showed him payroll data, that I had access to (pulled-up in his presence) revealing that a manager - who was aware of my own OT, & processes payroll, was paid for OT, while I was not.
    I did not demand payment, just advised my superior that it was an unethical practice to pay selective OT.
    I have since been threatened with legal action by the manager who paid OT to themselves and berated by coworkers who were told a skewed count of what transpired during that confidential conversation with my manager. Since, a memorandum has been circulated stating immediate termination will occur if anyone is"illegally" accessing employee payroll records.
    My question is: Can they fire me or take legal action against me?
    I'm aware I have a case but would prefer to keep my job than take it there.
    J_9's Avatar
    J_9 Posts: 40,299, Reputation: 5646
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    #2

    Feb 13, 2015, 05:41 AM
    Are you a salaried employee or hourly?
    ebaines's Avatar
    ebaines Posts: 12,132, Reputation: 1307
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    #3

    Feb 13, 2015, 05:47 AM
    Requiring pre-approval for OT is quite common. Employees accessing private payroll data without authorization can indeed be a punishable offense. But since the memo has been circulated and no action taken against you, they may be letting that prior indiscretion pass. As for managers getting OT - that's unusual, as a manager is typically an exempt position (i.e, salaried, not hourly pay). However, I do know some organizations that pay salaried people OT if they need to put in extra hours for an extended period of time. My suggestion is if you feel you need to work extra hours get authorization from your manager first, and if he says no then don't stay late.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #4

    Feb 13, 2015, 06:28 AM
    The bottom line here is that salaried employees do not get overtime. Its not that overtime pay was withheld. It just is not required. However, company policy may provide compensatory time under certain conditions as long as the policy is applied without discrimination.

    Many companies do require salaried employee to complete "timecards" just for headcount and tardiness purposes, not for pay.

    If you are a salaried employee you do NOT work OT but may put in extra time beyond your scheduled hours. I work 8:30-5:00, but I'm routinely at my desk prior to 7:30 and need to stay late on occasion. It is just part of the job. By making an issue of this, you have probably been branded a trouble maker. You may have forced managers to stop paying people who work late causing resentment among your co-workers.

    If I were you, I would be looking for another job. You are probably in an at-will state where they can fire you without cause. I don't see any cause of legal action against you however.
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    ERH81 Posts: 11, Reputation: 1
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    #5

    Feb 13, 2015, 06:38 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by J_9 View Post
    Are you a salaried employee or hourly?
    I am hourly. But it was stated that no one gets overtime. That was clearly not the case.
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    #6

    Feb 13, 2015, 06:58 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by ERH81 View Post
    I am hourly. But it was stated that no one gets overtime. That was clearly not the case.
    That explains why the company's ire against you. Federal Law requires that hourly workers get paid for all time they work. If the Feds find that your company is not keeping accurate records of time worked and not paying hourly employees for that time they could find themselves in big trouble.
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    #7

    Feb 13, 2015, 07:05 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by ScottGem View Post
    That explains why the company's ire against you. Federal Law requires that hourly workers get paid for all time they work. If the Feds find that your company is not keeping accurate records of time worked and not paying hourly employees for that time they could find themselves in big trouble.
    So the rebuttal given of "You didn't request it in writing with pre-approval" (which is not a written policy I've ever heard of) is not sufficient?
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    #8

    Feb 13, 2015, 07:36 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by ERH81 View Post
    So the rebuttal given of "You didn't request it in writing with pre-approval" (which is not a written policy I've ever heard of) is not sufficient?
    Nope. If you are an hourly worker and you can prove you worked the hours, then you must be paid for it. However, if you continually put in for unauthorized OT that could be cause for termination. If you do not have a timeclock recording your in and out times, proving you actually worked extra may be difficult.
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    ERH81 Posts: 11, Reputation: 1
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    #9

    Feb 13, 2015, 07:52 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by ScottGem View Post
    Nope. If you are an hourly worker and you can prove you worked the hours, then you must be paid for it. However, if you continually put in for unauthorized OT that could be cause for termination. If you do not have a timeclock recording your in and out times, proving you actually worked extra may be difficult.
    Right. Now that I have been verbally informed that pre-approval is required I do not work a minute over. There is no timeclock so I can not prove all my time spent off the computer but I have email correspondence containing work related materials sent from my desk exceeding 100 hours of OT.
    This is not worth losing my job over but I just want to be able to show that what they are angry over is purely retaliation... them trying to cover their assets* based on my awareness of it.
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    J_9 Posts: 40,299, Reputation: 5646
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    #10

    Feb 13, 2015, 08:00 AM
    You need to tread very lightly. You somehow accessed a manager's payroll information. In some companies that is a fireable offense.
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    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #11

    Feb 13, 2015, 08:13 AM
    I find it an issue that there is no recording of time in and out for hourly workers. I would talk to your state's Dept of Labor about laws regarding how to track an hourly worker's time. But do it carefully.

    I found this site: http://www.tracksmart.com/Advice-Cen...ance-laws.aspx

    Pay particular attention to items 2 and 5.

    FLSA does not require any particular form of time keeping only that the records be complete an accurate. But an honor system of recording time wouldn't seem to cut it.
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    #12

    Feb 13, 2015, 08:32 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by J_9 View Post
    You need to tread very lightly. You somehow accessed a manager's payroll information. In some companies that is a fireable offense.
    My boss brought the payroll data to me for the Manager, showing wages etc. Our wages are public record so there is no discretion as far as hourly rate. What I supplied... to add to that was hours, as my job pertains to tracking hours for benefit eligibility.
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    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #13

    Feb 13, 2015, 08:45 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by ERH81 View Post
    as my job pertains to tracking hours for benefit eligibility.
    You're not covered by a union are you? How are wages public record if you are not government or union? If you are government, I find the OT issue very curious. If you are union, then I find the lack of a time clock extremely curious.

    If benefits eligibility is based on hours worked, this, again makes the lack of a formal time keeping head scratching.
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    #14

    Feb 13, 2015, 09:03 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by ScottGem View Post
    You're not covered by a union are you? How are wages public record if you are not government or union? If you are government, I find the OT issue very curious. If you are union, then I find the lack of a time clock extremely curious.

    If benefits eligibility is based on hours worked, this, again makes the lack of a formal time keeping head scratching.
    I am on staff for an organization that tracks benefits for union members. I am given union benefits and membership through my employer although there is no CBA on file for my specific job duty. Our members are tracked via timeclocks, we however, are not. We are told there is no OT.. . yet some have been paid it. Hence this post.
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    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #15

    Feb 13, 2015, 11:07 AM
    You can be told there is no OT, but you cannot NOT be paid if you work extra. I don't understand why they would count you as hourly employees in this case. I sounds like you would qualify as salaried. And that would eliminate part of the OT issue.
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    #16

    Feb 13, 2015, 11:29 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by ScottGem View Post
    You can be told there is no OT, but you cannot NOT be paid if you work extra. I don't understand why they would count you as hourly employees in this case. I sounds like you would qualify as salaried. And that would eliminate part of the OT issue.
    I don't think my job description qualifies as salaried exempt with the type of work I do, nor am I supervising anyone.
    It's all backwards... OT for managers and none for hourly.
    I won't be working any extra hours in the future, just trying to see if I was wrong in bringing up the timecards (pre-filled with 40 hrs that lead to all this).
    I'm just keeping my head down going forward that's for sure.

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