Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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I'm sorry to hear about your situation. You're only supposed to pay for the time the employee actually worked. The main problem, however, is that the time card is the "presumptive" evidence for the time actually worked. The burden would be on you to prove that the time indicated on the time cards was not the time worked. If you could do so successfully, you would only have to pay for the time actually worked. But again, it's going to be your burden to prove. If you have no evidence to establish that they were not working when they clocked in early, then you would still have to pay (as you would not be able to meet that burden of proof). But if you have such evidence to prove that they were not working, you could challenge it with the Department of Labor, indicating that it was time card fraud, and showing the evidence of it. I understand that this may or may not be feasible, given your situation, but it is the law. Without evidence of such fraud (that they were not working when they had clocked in) you would still be on the hook to pay, I'm sorry to say.
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