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Joseph
Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5222
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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I have been suspended and probably terminated for "falsifying"

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I have been suspended and probably terminated for "falsifying" my time card. I work as a critical care pharmacist in a hospital where demands are high. I come in at 6:30am. I round with the medical team from 9:30 till 11am. I have daily deadlines to meet by 12:00 noon. We have been pressured by administration to have to clock out for lunch by the 5th hour. So everyday, I clock out for lunch at 11:15 and go back to work. I clock back in at 11:45. Then I may take a lunch when it's less busy at 12:30 for 30 minutes. I'm doing this for patient care because I need to get things done for them at this time. And to avoid an hour of pay for the company. I don't think termination is fair. Do I have a case?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

Can you tell me, what sort of investigation has taken place, thus far?

And, what evidence do they have that you have been clocking out early (other than that of some HR representative happening to observe you working while your card showed you off the clock)?

Thanks in advance.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

My director saw me and a colleague in the hallway together at a time that was different that my time card. That is it. I did already admit that it is routine and the culture in this hospital to clock out to lunch and go back to work to finish patient care duties in the morning, and then go to lunch at a later time when it is not busy. This is also to avoid penalties from administration. I did admit that I do this on a regular basis. He also brought in two other pharmacist friends, my good friends, to HR right after me with the same accusation. They happened to reply the same. We admitted that we do "falsify" the time card for patient care and to not have to incur overtime to the hospital. We feel that we would be penalized if we did not clock in and out at the time required by labor laws. And we know that the hospital budget is tight. We're really trying to save the company money. The company is Tenet.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Relist: Other.
I need an answer quickly. My person may be offline.
Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.
Hello. Different contributor here. It does appear that your expert is offline, so I will be happy to assist you with your question today.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

Unfortunately, if you are an at-will employee (meaning that you do not have a contract with your employer or are a member of a union) you can be terminated at any time for any reason with or without any prior notice.

So, even though you and other pharmacists have good reason to clock in and out of your lunch periods at times different from when you actually do take your lunch break, your employer can suspend and terminate you for that reason and unfortunately you would have no recourse against your employer for disciplining or terminating your for this reason.

However, if the situation were the reverse and you refused to clock out for your lunch breaks when you weren't able to take them and your employer terminated you for failing to clock out for breaks you were working, you would have a cause of action against your employer for wrongful termination in violation of public policy for terminating you for failing to violate the law.

Unfortunately, your current situation is switched, and although you took proactive measures to ensure that you wouldn't get in trouble with your employer for not clocking out for breaks, you have technically committed some timecard fraud, so you wouldn't have any cause of action against your employer for wrongful termination.

I realize this is not the answer you wanted to hear and I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX had better news to give you, but I hope you appreciate a direct and honest answer to your question. It would be unprofessional to me and unfair to you to provide you with anything less.

Since my goal is to provide you with excellent service today, please ask any follow up questions you have.

If you don't have any, please remember to rate my answer positively so I get credit for my work!

Thanks and best of luck!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

am a union member. I asked for my Union Rep before they started talking about the situation on friday. She sat next to me and the other 2 pharmacists. She did tell hr that it is a culture of this hospital. Now many people do this. Why are we being pin pointed? I think it's retaliation. Can I do anything there?


 


My director is an insecure man. There was a physician who spoke to him. The dr expressed to my boss that he has heard from me that the pharmacy services in the icu may be taken away. He told him that the pharmacy is a much needed service and that we are much appreciated. My boss did not like being confronted like this. He had said to employees multiple times that the employee who spoke to this physician should be hung and fired.


 


Do I do with this info? I've already told my Union rep. Hr does not know. She said that I can't do anything with it now. Only after termination when I file grievance. I am currently under suspension until they finish their "investigation". HR will be calling me in today to tell me my verdict. Although I know that all my shifts this week have been covered by other pharmacists.

Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.
Can you tell me why you believe that you are being retaliated against?

Did you or other pharmacists make any complaints or engage in any activity that would give you some reason to believe that that is the reason why you and other pharmacists are being targeted?

Do you believe that a protected characteristic played any role in your termination? (e.g., race, gender, sex, national origin, ethnicity, etc.?)

Your union representative is correct. There's really nothing you can do at this point with that information if the investigation has already happened and you are only awaiting their verdict when HR calls you in today.

Your recourse will be to file a grievance if you are terminated (or subject to a longer term of suspension), at which point you can and should bring up this information in your grievance procedure.
Joseph, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 5222
Experience: Extensive experience representing employees and management
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Joseph
Joseph
California Employment Lawyer
5222 Satisfied Customers
Extensive experience representing employees and management