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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12493
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Hi, I have an employee who repeatedly fails to enter his

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I have an employee who repeatedly fails to enter his time daily on a government contract despite repeated reminders.

Can I place this person on probation that if he continues to violate this rule he will receive 1% pay cut for every violation, and at the fourth violation he will be removed from the company?

Hello again Charles, good to hear from you.

Yes, probation with a progressive 1% paycut is entirely permissible. The only limitation is that the paycut cannot be applied retroactively. In other words, if this employee fails to enter their time, you can cut their pay by 1% (or whatever amount) from that point in time moving forward, but you can't cut their pay for work they have already completed. The latter would constitute an unlawful deduction from earned wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

As always, please feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi, I am glad I got you to answer my follow up!

It makes sense not to do it retroactively. My plan is to issue a written letter explaining this.

Can you think of any lawsuit this person can bring on my company?


"Can you think of any lawsuit this person can bring on my company?"

Implicit in the concept of "at will" employment is the freedom to change an employee's pay at any time, since an employer would be equally free to simply fire the employee and then re-hire them pursuant to the new terms, which would accomplish the exact same thing. There would be absolutely no legitimate basis to sue from what you have described.

My only thought is that you will want to inform the employee in writing each time you cut his pay so he can't say he thought he was still earning at his previous rate.
Patrick, Esq. and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

That makes sense. Thanks again! That's all for now.

It was my pleasure to assist. I'd be very grateful if you'd remember to positively rate my service before leaving. Have a great day.