Illegal “Time-Shaving” Practices
What Is Time-Shaving?
Unscrupulous employers across many industries steal wages from their employees by illegally shaving time off of their hours worked. Time shaving can be done by rounding an employee’s time for clocking in and clocking out or by falsely altering time cards.
“Time-shaving” can result in employees receiving less than the applicable minimum wage. In some cases, employers use time-shaving to reduce the number of hours for which overtime premium must be paid, i.e., the number of hours in excess of 40 a week.
Can I Sue Over Time-Shaving?
If your manager is shaving time off your timesheet, you may be able to bring an individual or collective action under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) as well as your state’s wage and hour laws. Time-shaving may violate a number of provisions of the FLSA, including:
- Recordkeeping requirements under the FLSA – the act requires every covered employer to maintain accurate records for each nonexempt worker, including:
- Time and day of the week when the employee’s workweek begins.
- Hours worked each day.
- Total hours worked each workweek.
- The basis on which the employee’s wages are paid
- Regular hourly pay rate.
- Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings.
- Total overtime earnings for the workweek.
- All additions to or deductions from the employee’s wages.
- Total wages paid each pay period.
- Employers are required to preserve most of these timekeeping and payroll records for at least three years.
Examples of time-shaving:
- Plumbers – the court granted class certification where plumbers alleged that their time records were routinely altered to reduce overtime. The plumbers claimed that their actual hours could be proven through the employer’s database, which showed the original time entry.
- Factory workers – the court approved a class settlement where employees alleged that their employer engaged in illegal “shaving” or “rounding” of time at the beginning and end of shifts, and around lunch periods and that this practice resulted in hourly employees not being paid for all minutes actually worked.
- Pharmacy technicians – the court granted conditional certification of an FLSA collective where pharmacy technicians alleged that their employer engaged in time shaving, which resulted in some employees being paid the wrong rate for overtime while others were not paid overtime at all.
- Warehouse workers – the court granted conditional certification of an FLSA collective where the employer “edited” time entered into the Kronos timekeeping system.