Being Accused Of Lying On My Time Card

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about time card cheating:

One responsibility of the office manager at my office is to fax the time cards to the payroll service. The manager seems to think that I lied on my time card and called the boss to alert him. She said she will check the job sheets for the last couple of weeks to see if it is valid. She had no right to do this, she doesn’t add up the hours on the time cards. She is always searching for something someone did wrong, to get them in trouble. She also blames her mistakes on others. Is there anything I can do about this?

Signed, Wrongly Accused

Dear Wrongly Accused:

Your employer has given office managers and others the right to check observe and inspect work and ensure that everything is being done correctly, as well as to alert those in charge if there is wrongdoing. Even if the office manager is not very pleasant to work with, it is within her job duties to take action–and if she thinks you put false information on your time card she would be held at fault for NOT alerting someone.

The key here is: Did you? If you didn’t, there will be no proof that you did. You might want to write a letter to someone higher than your office manager to express your feelings that you were treated as guilty until proven innocent.

You didn’t say if the office manager has talked to you about this and asked for an explanation. If you denied wrongdoing, she may not have believed you. Or, she may believe you but was given information by other employees and feels she must check it out. My experience has been that about 95% of all complaints about time card problems starts with the fellow employees of the person involved. If you did purposely put down wrong information on the time card you will want to carefully consider how to handle it now. Whether or not you have denied it, you may want to come forward and say that you have thought about it and realize that, while you don’t want to get in trouble, you also don’t want to be considered someone who would lie when asked about something directly.

Say why you did it (you were afraid to get in trouble for being late or you needed to leave early and didn’t think you would get permission, or whatever the reason was)then point out that you have been dependable about everything else you have done and you would like a second chance to show this was not typical of you.If you know for a fact, because of an organizational rule, that you will be fired if you admit that you put wrong information on your time card, you might as well wait until you are confronted with evidence. But, if you are certain you will be able to keep your job and you have had a generally good relationship with everyone in management up until now you may want to be truthful as a way to reestablish yourself. Putting the wrong information on a time card is considered more serious in some workplaces than others.

You may have information about that in employee documents or can find out in some other way.If you have had a problem with the accuracy of a time card and get in trouble for it, work to keep a positive attitude and be glad you still have your job so you can regain your solid position. Also, when this is done, work to build a relationship with the office manager that is at least accepting of her responsibilities, and that will show her you are a steady, positive employee. You probably will never like her, but at least you may be able to work around her better. That will make it less likely she would want to do anything to lose you in the office. If you know you are fine about the time, be accepting of the office manager’s job to check on such things. But, as I mentioned, you might want to see if this event can be used to show how unpleasant things have become. Best wishes. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what results.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.