Employment Law/altering of timecards
I understand from my research that altering timekeeping records is a federal offense or federal crime. Where can I find an exact quote of the statue for this?
Falsifying time sheets is a violation of federal and state law. This goes for managers and employees who forge time sheet signatures, alter hours worked or clock in and out for someone else. For example, under California law, falsifying work records, including time cards, is a dishonest act for which an employee may be terminated on the grounds of misconduct. In New York, an employee may be charged with a misdemeanor for petit larceny and forgery. If the amount is substantial, she could face a grand larceny felony charge.
While there is really no federal law specifically addressing altering time sheets the Fair Labor Standards Act says they must be accurate. If they are not accurate this is fraud.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), covered employers must keep certain records for nonexempt employees, including hours worked each day and total hours worked each workweek. To do so, employers may use any time-keeping method, including timesheets, time clocks or automated time-keeping systems. Employers may allow supervisors to keep track of their employees’ work hours, have employees track their own time or bot h. Under the FLSA, however, employers—not the employees—have the ultimate responsibility to maintain these records. For this reason, employers have the ability to change employee time records but must ensure that the records accurately reflect the time actually worked.
There are only certain times when employers should change employee time records. For example, an employee may forget to record his or her start time on a timesheet or forget to punch in on a time clock. In this case, an employer may enter the employee’s time on either record to ensure the employee is paid correctly. Another example is when an employee is out sick. The employer may change the time record to reflect a paid sick day instead of time worked. However, an employer may not change a time record to show fewer hours than actually worked. For example, an employer may not change an employee’s time record from 48 hours to 40 hours in a workweek in order to avoid overtime payment, even if an employee were to consent to the change. In addition, an employer may not change an employee’s time record to remove hours worked. For example, if an employee voluntarily continues to work after the end of his or her shift to complete an assignment, this work—even though not requested but suffered or permitted to work—is considered work time and is compensable. Modifications like these may be unlawful under the FLSA.
One of the most common lawsuits is the wage and hour lawsuit, where employees claim that employers have not paid them for all hours worked or for owed overtime. Employers found liable may be required to pay damages, including back pay, attorney fees and civil or criminal penalties under both federal and state laws. Employers may also be held personally liable under the FLSA. The FLSA defines an employer as “any person acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to an employee.”
An employer may want to take measures to minimize time record changes, including requiring all employees to record and maintain their own time records. Supervisors may also record or closely monitor hours worked. Employers should hold employees accountable to time-keeping policies and procedures. Employers may want to prohibit changes to time records unless preapproved, develop policies prohibiting off-the-clock work, ensure employees are relieved of all duties during meal periods, have employees sign and date their own time records, and require employees and employers to acknowledge when changes are made to a time record.
When changes are made to a time record, an employer may want to keep the original record and create a modified record, or line through the error on the original time record, make the correction, and have both the employer and employee sign and date. Documentation should be established to note the reason for any changes. Automated time-keeping systems typically have features to record a history of changes and who made them. These systems may also be set up to obtain the acknowledgment of both the employee and the employer when changes occur.
To minimize liability, time-keeping records should be maintained in such a way that a third party, such as an auditor from the Department of Labor, can tell that the records, including any changes, are genuine and reflect the time actually worked.
This is from the Texas Workforce Site on Timekeeping
The Company expects all employees to follow their assigned work schedules unless they have made prior arrangements with their supervisors to work at different times. Employees should not clock in prior to their assigned start times, nor should they clock out later than their assigned ending times, unless they have been instructed by a supervisor to start work early or stop work late. Likewise, employees should not clock in until they are ready and prepared to begin their assigned tasks, and should not clock out unless they are completely finished with their work for the day.
The Company must maintain accurate time records on all employees, and each employee bears primary responsibility for enabling the Company to do that. Properly recording work time and complying with the Company's timekeeping procedures are in each employee's job description, regardless of whether such duties are spelled out in such a document. The [title of resource] explains the procedures for using your swipe cards to clock in and out. Employees must follow those procedures exactly. Failure to properly clock in and out is an imposition on the other employees who must handle such negligence and will result in corrective action as outlined below, and may adversely affect raise reviews and performance evaluations as well.
Each employee must fully and accurately record all time that he or she works each day, without exception, according to the rules and procedures that apply in the department to which the employee is assigned. No employee may alter or otherwise modify his or her time record, record work time for another employee, or alter or modify in any way the time record of another employee, unless specifically instructed or allowed to do so by a supervisor. No employee may work without properly recording the time worked. At the end of each pay period, the employee must sign a certification on the time record that the record accurately and completely reflects all time worked during the period in question and that no hours were worked that do not show up in the record.
Any violation of this policy may lead to disciplinary action, up to and potentially including termination of employment, depending upon the severity or repeat nature of the offense.