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I have a Co-worker who has never shown up on time for a shift since I've started working for this company (and at this site that contracts the company I work for). Due to the nature of the job (Security Guard) employees are not allowed to end their shift until the person working the next shift arrives. All clocking times are rounded to the nearest quarter hour.

If the coworker's shift officially starts at 7:00, this co-worker usually clocks in just in time for the system to round her starting time down to this official starting time. As the shifts are linked in the system, when she clocks in, I automatically get clocked out, meaning the system rounds my shift down to the same number. This means that effectively, my coworker is getting paid for minutes when she's not actually working, where I lose minutes I am actually working since my clock-out time is rounded down.

To make it clear that I am spending time working past the time when my shift officially ends, I have been contacting our "command center" to have them correct my clock-out time to the time when I actually stop working my shift.

Between the extra few minutes and the minutes spent calling the "command center" on top of that, I am effectively working unpaid overtime every shift where this co-worker's shift follows mine.

For this and other reasons I intend to leave this company, but it feels like this co-worker is stealing a part of my pay through the way she behaves. Is there any way I can get her to correct her behavior?

  • How long are your shifts? – colbin8r Mar 5 '18 at 6:31
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    First off, no one is stealing here. Your coworker's behaviour isn't really relevant and is a separate issue from your hours being reported incorrectly. Don't focus on your coworker "stealing" but on how your timesheets are affected. That being said, are you exempt or non-exempt? That will determine whether you are actually losing anything in this scenario. – Lilienthal Mar 5 '18 at 7:32
  • @Lilienthal I don't see how any hours are being reported incorrectly. I've worked in place where I had to record hours, sometimes to the nearest 6 minutes. Rounding is commonplace. If an hour meeting actually took 1 hour 5 minutes, that's 1.1 hours of work. But if an hour meeting took 1 hour 2 minutes, that's 1.0 hours of work. – Thomas Owens Mar 5 '18 at 11:33
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    Possible duplicate of What can I do to make a coworkers lack of effort more visible? – David K Mar 7 '18 at 12:59
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    @Lilienthal In my opinion it's both the coworkers behaviour and the hours. Security people are not allowed to leave their post before their replacement has arrived, meaning OP has to stay untill coworker arrives. I'm assuming here she is abusing the system by purposely clocking in at the latest moment possible. Technically the coworker does nothing wrong, because that's the way the system works. However, OP loses the time she clocks in "late", while coworker gains the time. As OP describes this as a pattern, it's not fair, and thus calls it "stealing". – Edwin Lambregts Mar 7 '18 at 15:27
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You should talk to your supervisors or managers. But don't make it primarily about the money - make it about the lost time first. If she arrives 7 minutes late every day, that's 35 minutes late/week or over an hour every two weeks. That's 2 hours/month of time you should have out side of work to live your life. However, you can also raise the question about rounding with timing. Since the way the system rounds time may not be in your favor, not only are you losing 2 hours/month of time, but 2 hours/month of pay.

Of course, if you get another opportunity and are planning on leaving in the very near future, it may not be worth it to bring it up. Management hasn't done anything yet, even though they seem to be aware of the problem. Bringing it up may only cause aggravation for you. However, if you're going to be at this company for a while longer, it may be worth the risk of bringing up. If, for any reason, it makes your life more difficult, it should only be temporary as you seek new employment anyway.

Rounding like this is normal. However, it seems like your coworker has found a way to abuse the system because of the rounding.

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The way I see it, your beef is not with your co-worker. Her tardiness should be someone elses's problem. Your problem is that your employers use a faulty time-tracking software that fails when your colleague is late for work. You should discuss this with your employers, in the sense that they need to fix their software so it properly tracks each employee's time instead of making assumptions.

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    I don't see how this is "faulty time-tracking software" at all. I've worked in places where I've had to record time worked (sometimes to the nearest 1/10 of an hour, or 6 minutes). If you an hour meeting actually takes an hour and 5 minutes, that's rounded to 1.1 hours. If it takes 1 hour and 2 minutes, that's 1.0 hours. The problem is with the coworker's tardiness - it is not only preventing leaving on time, but also money, easily adding up to an hour or so of lost pay every week or so, in a worst-case scenario. – Thomas Owens Mar 5 '18 at 11:31
  • Well you state that your time tracking system rounds time spent at work to the nearest quarter hour. The system makes the assumption that you left if she shows up so it clocks you out. Your colleague found an exploit for this defect, where she is deliberately late in order for the time tracking system to round the figure in her favor. You on the other hand are reluctant to use the same "hack" because you consider it immoral or illegal. So fix the actual problem by asking the employer to fix the device that tracks your time spent to track actual time spent not make assumptions. – BoboDarph Mar 5 '18 at 11:59
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    Again, I don't think that's defective. If one person is supposed to be on the clock, it makes perfect sense to have that rule enforced in software. It seems like someone can override it and is doing so. The problem is the fact that the asker is unable to leave on time on a regular basis and he has to take time out to call someone to correct the timecard. The software is not defective, the process is defective. – Thomas Owens Mar 5 '18 at 12:08
  • If you wish to ensure that there's always someone on the clock, you should prevent the last person from clocking out until another person clocks in. Automatically clocking out the previous person makes no sense to me, they should clock out when they finish working. That doesn't mean that there's not also a defective process in place where the coworker's tardiness goes unpunished, but at least with a proper technical solution this would mainly be affecting her instead of mainly affecting her colleagues... – Cronax Mar 7 '18 at 10:26
  • As a professional in the software testing field, I can ascertain with a rather high degree of certainty that if the way you describe your interaction with the system is true, then the system your employer uses to keep track of your time spent on the job is behaving incorrectly in the described situation. This is my professional assessment based on the provided data. Feel free to do with it what you wish. – BoboDarph Mar 8 '18 at 9:34
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I agree with Lilienthal's comment. Don't fall into the trap of blaming your co-worker.

Your problem is with the system, not with your co-worker.

The clock should be allowing you to manually clock out after your replacement has already clocked in (even if it's just 2 seconds later, or 5 minutes later). This is a very basic feature that every clocking system already has by default. The fact that the system doesn't allow you to do that by default was a very deliberate business design decision on their part.

Now, I'm not a lawyer, I'm just a layman, but I think that you could argue that by designing the system the way they did, they're constantly rounding down your hours.

Rounding Hours Worked

Some employers track employee hours worked in 15 minute increments, and the FLSA allows an employer to round employee time to the nearest quarter hour. However, an employer may violate the FLSA minimum wage and overtime pay requirements if the employer always rounds down. Employee time from 1 to 7 minutes may be rounded down, and thus not counted as hours worked, but employee time from 8 to 14 minutes must be rounded up and counted as a quarter hour of work time. See Regulations 29 CFR 785.48(b).

https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs53.htm

And if HR doesn't want to make the process of clocking out easier for you, you may want to file a complaint with the US Department of Labor. And your co-workers may want to file a complaint as well.

https://www.dol.gov/whd/contact_us.htm

Furthermore, if a cell phone is allowed at your workplace, I think you should find an app on iTunes or on the Google Play store that helps you keep track of your exact hours (using GPS/wifi hotspot tracking/Bluetooth/manual editing). If you can't use your cell phone, you should maintain a log yourself with just a pen and paper.

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