Nosey Co-worker Checks My Time Card!

Question:

An employee in a different department than the one I work in checks my timecard every day, to see if I clocked in late or worked overtime. If I work overtime (as I am authorized to do) he complains to my supervisor. If I clock in late, he tells my supervisor. I started putting my time card in my desk and locking it, and now he’s mad he can’t get into my desk. My supervisor says that its “just his personality”. I say its none of his business. Are there laws regarding access to employee timecards?

Signed,

Tired Of Hiding My Time Card


Answer:

Dear Tired Of Hiding My Time Card:

Your time-card most likely does not come under any legal requirements for privacy, unless it contains information other than your clocking-in and clocking-out time. The time you come to work and leave is not private, since everyone can observe it. What you put on your time card is not reported governmentally, it is only used administratively.

For your supervisor to say it’s just the employee’s personality, is a weak supervisory response. Apparently he doesn’t want to deal with the problem-employee. Write your concerns to your Human Resource department and document what has happened and ask for their assistance in taking care of this absolutely. The time cards are not the property of any employee, they are the property of the organization, so put the focus more on the overall inappropriateness of the employee’s actions. Point out that if the employee would snoop to this extent he is likely snooping about other records as well and you are concerned for the overall workplace. Ask for a full investigation and insist upon it.

Another way to get more attention on the problem is if this employee is doing similar things with others and they will support you. Or, if there are other issues in addition to this one.

If you don’t want to go to HR consider this: The next time he says something or shows anger about the card, call the supervisor to your desk and ask him to please tell the employee to leave you alone. Or, say to the employee, “Let’s take care of this once and for all. Come with me to John’s office and let him tell you my time card is not your business.”

Having said that, it seems there is a nasty conflict going on in general between you and this employee, so that should be handled as well. Frankly it seems difficult to understand how an employee would even have the nerve to show anger over not being able to look in your desk. That seems almost too bizarre to be accurate! But, if it’s the case, something else will pop-up after this is handled. Perhaps there needs to be some off-limits areas for both of you, both geographically and in the areas of job tasks. Consider asking to have someone sit down with the two of you and your supervisor to determine what can be done to improve things. Then YOU must be prepared to do more than your share if you have to. If you aren’t willing to swallow some pride and find ways to co-exist and your co-worker won’t either, this type of thing will continue forever.

I’m not implying that you are at fault or that the co-worker isn’t being a jerk, just that if you can’t clearly show you have been without any fault at all, it will probably be viewed that you both have things to improve. Seek that input before you have to be told about it. Show yourself to be the strong employee and the better one, when it comes to trying to work peaceably. Put your focus on work, which is where your higher level bosses would want it to be. That way when the other employee acts up, they will know who is trying to do the right thing.

For now though, turn this over to HR or to someone higher in rank than your supervisor. If you wish, let your supervisor know what you are doing and sell it by saying it will take the pressure off him or her to do it this way. If you find no one wants to deal with it, perhaps there is another perspective you need to see. However, it appears to me that what you have is an employee who has been allowed to get by with being obnoxious and will keep at it until you insist on more than a minor look at the situation. Sell this to HR as an attempted major breach of office security and see if that helps! I hope this has given you some thoughts that can help you develop a plan of action. Please let us know what results, if you have time and wish to do so.

Tina Rowe Ask The Workplace Doctors

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.