One Minute Early or Late Clocking In Penalty!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about docking for coming early or late:

Is it legal to dock my pay 15 minutes for being 1 minute late/or early to work? My employer says he will dock anyone who clocks in 1 min. early or 1min. late 15 mins.

Signed, Docked

Dear Docked:

Our site does not give legal advice. Even if the one-minute rule is not legal, making a fuss over it would not be worth the time, money, or effort. Your question, however, is more one of bossing and being bossed. Rather than ask is it legal, you should ask why? Obviously, your employer doesn’t want to pay for more hours than is needed. But to clock in a few minutes early should not cost your employer anything and rather than being penalized, should show you are a responsible employee, and if you overlap with the outgoing shift, that should better continuity.

My advice is to open the channels of communication with the employer. Talk with her/him about the goals for your workplace and what you might do to improve the quality of service and products. Don’t see yourself as an adversary out to question the rules even though this 15 minute penalty for not clocking in exactly on time seems unreasonable. Does this make sense? Think and act in the spirit of we’re in this together–what I call WEGO mindedness. Do feel free to disagree with my advice and to keep me posted on what you learn.

William Gorden