One Employee Clocked In Another One, Then Lied

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about false clocking in:

I have a situation that has happened in the past couple weeks and I wonder what I should do. One of my employees wasn’t at work and another employee clocked him in, but denies it. How should I handle this?

Signed, Perplexed

Dear Perplexed:

What you do about it may depend upon where your organization is located, what rules and policies in your company might apply, and what your role is in the organization. Consult with your own boss or with a personnel or HR section and find out if they have a method for dealing with this issue.

If you are figuring it out on your own, consider these thoughts, as you decide what to do:

1. How do you know one employee was gone and another clocked him or her in on the time card? If your workplace is small enough, that might be an easy thing to figure out, but if you are in a very large organization it might not be so easy. If you have proof, and there is a rule against it, act on that rule. And also take action about the employee lying to you.
2. If you can’t prove it, you probably will have to simply live with your suspicions. If you can’t take formal action, you can at least let the two employees know about your doubts and how that affects your relationship with them.
3. Perhaps you need to investigate further. One way to determine if someone was at work is to access computer records, email records, files and reports that person should have done during the day and so forth. If absolutely no work was done, that’s a good sign the employee wasn’t there. Unless the employee works in complete isolation, perhaps other employees will remember if there was one day or part of a day when the employee did not come to work.
4. Also consider why one employee would jeopardize his or her job to help out another employee. Are there circumstances you should know about? Has this happened before? How have other supervisors handled it? If you have your evidence talk to HR or your boss and decide if the situation merits a reprimand or dismissal. Among the things to consider is the overall attitude of the employee, the impact on work, whether or not others have done similar things, and whether or not you think a warning would be enough to keep it from happening again.Another factor would be how long the employee was absent. If the employee was only late, you might want to start the process with a reprimand. If the employee was paid for a full shift of work but didn’t work any, that’s much more serious.

Whatever you do, keep good records of each step you take. Try to take the emotion out of it and stick to the facts as you know them. Get advice from others, especially bosses, so you know you are on the right track. Remember too that other employees are watching to see how this is handled. Being too lenient or too tough can create frustration and anger in other employees. The best approach is matter-of-fact and focused on finding out the truth, without being vengeful or acting as though you’re tracking down a criminal!I hope these thoughts help you develop a plan of action that works well for you. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what results.

Tina Lewis Rowe