My co-worker comes in 1-2 hours early for his shift and begins working, he doesn't add this to his time sheet. I am worried that this is a potential risk to the company should he ever leave or be terminated. I am not his immediate supervisor so I wanted to ask the question before I raise my thoughts to my supervisor and look like a dork.

He is hourly like I am and he does work his full scheduled hours but each day he arrives anywhere from 1-2 hours before his shift. This adds a potential 5-10 hours each week of overtime he is possibly owed. He is not required nor was he asked to come in early. We are in the state of Wisconsin.

I am not sure if it registers that he is here working with our direct supervisor since he works down the hall from us and doesn't really check us to see if we are here when we are supposed to be.

Should I bring this up to my supervisor?

  • Is there some reason to believe that his supervisor is unaware of this? Do you share a supervisor? Yes, there is some potential liability here but if the coworker's supervisor is well aware of the issue, there is probably no reason to bring it up. – Justin Cave Oct 3 '13 at 17:58
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    Does the co-worker take breaks that may amount to the 1-2 hours that you don't know he takes? – JB King Oct 3 '13 at 18:27
  • JB King not that I know of. – Mr. Lost IT Guy Oct 3 '13 at 19:26
  • What industry is this? – jmac Oct 3 '13 at 23:55
  • @Raystafarian - Trucker regulations generally do not apply to office work. And I believe I said you should create an answer for it. That does not belong in comments. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Oct 4 '13 at 17:35

First thing I would note is that he could be coming in early and working on personal stuff. Unless you are over his shoulder watching you really can not be sure. It is also possible that your coworker is either being paid for this extra-time, or has some sort of comp time set up with his supervisor.

Even if there is no compensation at all, as you noted he has not been asked to come in early, nor is it required. If your coworker wants to do extra with his time it really is not your responsibility to take any action unless you are in his chain of command. You have not shown any way that these actions are affecting you so you have no reason to interfere.

In most places a person that does something like this is going to find management much more willing to let off early for appointments, or take a day off. Sometimes people just have extra time on their hands, and they enjoy their job. I see no reason for you to have any issue or reason to take it to task with your management.

  • I sit very near him and he immediately starts working on work related stuff as soon as he comes in. – Mr. Lost IT Guy Oct 3 '13 at 19:26
  • I'm not saying that the OP should report this, but suggesting that coming in and working "for free" because you like your job is most definitely not OK in contractor situations. – jmorc Oct 3 '13 at 20:10
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    @Mr.LostITGuy - What impact does that have on you? – IDrinkandIKnowThings Oct 3 '13 at 21:10

Check with your state labor department to find out if the company has an overtime liability. The supervisor may not be aware of the legal ramifications (I know my sisiter's company had to pay overtime in VA for an employee who worked unauthorized hours, but this will vary by state. BTW they fired the employee since he wouldn't stop doing this.) as most supervisors can be relatively clueless about labor law.

Several things concern me about this situation beyond the liability. First, what is he doing during those hours? Depending on the position he is in, this is a perfect opportunity to commit fraud or do something else underhanded that you don't want the company to know about. If he is just doing work, is the supervisor aware that his workload is 50 hours a week vice 40? This could make a real difference if he leaves.

As to whether you should speak up and who to speak up to? Well it could be risky to your own career to speak up if the other employees start to consider you a 'narc'. On the other hand, by providing management with information they need about a potential liability, they may be grateful. A lot of whether it is a good idea to speak up depends on your supervisor, the situation and the company culture. If the supervisor doesn't seem like he would be approachable on this issue, you could bring it up the HR and if they have an annonymous hotline, that might be the best place to bring it up.

If you think the supervisor knows he is working but may be clueless about the ramifications, then research them and tell him casually that you ran across this information and isn't it interesting. Then let him decide what to do. If the suprevisor is someone you don't trust, he may be in on a deal of getting the guy to work unapproved overtime and splitting the eventual profits. In this case HR is your only bet. (You know having worked for an audit agency does some nasty things to your thinking process! These things spring to mind because I have seen them happen in the workplace and seen people go to jail when they got caught.)

You should question why you want to bring it up though? Does this person get special treatment or accolades for all the work he accomplishes when you know he is putting in more hours than everyone else? Why are you concerned about what he is doing? How is it harming you? Are you worried you wil be forced to do overtime if he leaves? Why is it your business?

  • Thanks, this highlights my concerns. I am mostly concerned about the liability (even if it is unknown to my supervisor) for the company. It worries me because I am an advocate for asking to be paid for my overtime when the workload requires I work extra hours. I worry that my supervisor may know in the back of his head that my coworker just works what is needed and doesn't complain and therefore judges me. I guess it all comes down to if someone is doing something that isn't by the book it just kind of bugs me as well. I know for a fact he is working on work stuff during his extra hours on. – Mr. Lost IT Guy Oct 3 '13 at 19:25
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    So, your concern is that you will look bad for asking to paid if you work overtime? – David Navarre Oct 3 '13 at 21:22

No, you should not bring this up. You are correct that it could be an issue, a liability, but it's never good form to be intruding into your co-workers' habits. You don't know if he has an arrangement that allows for this, and you are not his boss.

It's offensive when employees try to clock other employees. It's never productive, and it puts you in the position of judging someone else's work habits.

Unless it -directly- affects you, stop watching the other guy, and just make sure you do what you are supposed to do.

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