I began employment with a company April 2nd 2012. I was considered a non-exempt employee and worked a few hours overtime. My first paycheck came and I noticed a discrepancy but put it off to a possible misunderstanding on my part. I then began to watch what time I clocked in and clocked out. My next paycheck came and I noticed another discrepancy. To make certain I knew how the time clock worked and believing my boss to be the person that was changing my time clock punches I brought the issue to the HR rep. She provided me a copy of my time card where every day of the previous week showed a precise punch in time of exactly 6:00am and I knew this was wrong. I responded to the email asking if someone was changing my time card. A day later I was invited to a meeting with the HR rep and my boss who was very upset and questioned if I did not understand my hours. I explained that I knew my core hours and was also aware I was non-exempt and had put my time in. He would not admit to being the person responsible for changing the time card. The following day (May 4, 2012 only one month into the position) I was asked to leave the company on grounds that the position was not a good match for me. I believe my dismissal was because I discovered the misconduct and was paid for all the supposed over time I had worked during the month of employment. I did not agree to sign the paperwork stating that the reason for termination was because it wasn't a good fit. I Have not yet cashed the paycheck because I'm unsure where to go with this. If I cash the paycheck does that mean I can no longer file a lawsuit should I chose to go this route? Should I consider looking into hiring an attorney or would this be a waste of their time? I'm not so much concerned about the damages (although I live in Sacramento and my ability to find a job will be very difficult) but I'm more concerned about the others who I know have also had their time cards tampered with. Please help! I'm at a loss for what to do and I need some direction.
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): California
I've contacted one attorney who said they don't take clients who've worked for a company less than one year.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I am very sorry to hear that you were let go from your job. Were you ever paid for the time you worked that went unclocked? Were you ever specifically instructed to come in at 6:30?
I was told my core hours were 6am - 3pm with a one hour lunch and that I was able to work overtime. Unfortunately I did not get this in writing as it was told to me by the HR rep when discussing my initial pay. I requested 40 thousand a year and HR was only willing to provide 38 and said that I was able to work overtime and one hour of overtime a week would easily put me over the 40 thousand dollar mark. To me this meant I was ok'd for overtime.
And yes, I was paid for overtime but I can't be certain I was paid for all my overtime because I was told the time punches were company property and I was not allowed to see them.
Thank you very much for this additional information.There is a fine line in this type of situation because, while an employee is entitled to pay for all hours in which he or she is under the control of his or her employer and actually works, an employer is entitled to determine an employee's schedule and tell them when they may begin work. Furthermore, absent an agreement to the contrary, employment in the state of California is presumed to be "at will," meaning employees can be terminated for any reason that is not discriminatory or otherwise in violation of California law.Thus, an individual who clocked in earlier than permitted would be entitled to compensation for that additional time working. However, in these situations, an employer typically retains the freedom to terminate the employee because the employee did not follow directions regarding the time they were supposed to clock in, and employment in the state of California is presumed to be "at will" absent an agreement to the contrary, meaning employees can be terminated for just about any reason.An employee has the right to copies of his or her payroll records (Labor Code sections 226 and 432) and must provide copies of such records within 21 calendar days of the employee's request. An individual in your circumstance can demand your payroll records to determine if they accurately reflect your hours worked. If they do not, an individual in your circumstance can file a claim for unpaid wages with the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement. Furthermore, if wages have gone unpaid, an individual in your circumstance may be entitled to a "penalty assessment" in the amount of your daily rate of pay for each day that these wages go unpaid for up to 30 days. (Labor Code 203)To file a wage claim with the DLSE, visit this link: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/howtofilewageclaim.htm So to summarize, while an employee is entitled to be paid for all hours worked, an employer retains discretion to tell an employee when to begin work and can terminate an employee for failure to follow instructions. For that matter, an employer can terminate an employee for ANY reason or no reason, unless the underlying motivation is discriminatory or otherwise in violation of California law. If wages remain unpaid, an individual in your circumstance can make a claim with the DLSE for the unpaid amount plus penalties.I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the best.My absolute greatest concern is that you are satisfied with the answer I provide, so please do not hesitate to contact me with follow-up questions. Also, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.
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