2004/04/04/Altering of Worker Time Cards Spurs Growing Number of Suits
- when: 2004/04/04
- author: Steven Greenhouse
- source: New York Times
- topics: wage theft Toys "R" Us Family Dollar Pep Boys Taco Bell Walmart wage slavery/tyranny
- link: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/04/national/04WAGE.html
- title: Altering of Worker Time Cards Spurs Growing Number of Suits
- summary: "Experts on compensation say that the illegal doctoring of hourly employees' time records is far more prevalent than most Americans believe. The practice, commonly called shaving time, is easily done and hard to detect – a simple matter of computer keystrokes – and has spurred a growing number of lawsuits and settlements against a wide range of businesses."
Workers have sued Family Dollar and Pep Boys, the auto parts and repair chain, accusing managers of deleting hours. A jury found that Taco Bell managers in Oregon had routinely erased workers' time. More than a dozen former Wal-Mart employees said in interviews and depositions that managers had altered time records to shortchange employees. The Department of Labor recently reached two back-pay settlements with Kinko's photocopy centers, totaling $56,600, after finding that managers in Ithaca, N.Y., and Hyannis, Mass., had erased time for 13 employees.
"There are a lot of incentives for store managers to cut costs in illegal ways," said David Lewin, a professor of management who teaches a course on compensation at the University of California, Los Angeles. "You hope that would be contrary to company practices, but sometimes these practices become so ingrained that they become the dominant practice."
Officials at Toys "R" Us, Family Dollar, Pep Boys, Wal-Mart and Taco Bell say they prohibit manipulation of time records, but many acknowledge that it sometimes happens.
"Our policy is to pay hourly associates for every minute they work," said Mona Williams, vice president for communications at Wal-Mart. "With a company this large, there will inevitably be instances of managers doing the wrong thing. Our policy is if a manager deliberately deletes time, they're dismissed."
Compensation experts say that many managers, whether at discount stores or fast-food restaurants, fear losing their jobs if they fail to keep costs down.