Where Do i Stand When Not Given A Warning?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about lateness:

I didn’t get a verbal warning I was told via email that if I continued to be late I would have money deducted. Then they took away some money from my next pay. I was then given a written warning for the same item not new lateness. Now they want to take money off my wage again even though it did not state this in the written warning. Where do I stand?

Signed, Where Do I Stand?

Dear Where Do I Stand?:

You are not in good standing. Showing up on time is 90% of keeping a job. Possibly you have had unusual and necessary reasons for arriving at work late, but your management has the right to deduct the time lost and to penalize you for being late. In short, being 10 minutes late could result in a 15-30 minute deduction in pay, or more depending on state labor laws and your employer’s policy and practice. Usually such rules are spelled out in a policy book, but there need not be a warning before pay is deducted unless that is standard operating procedure where you work.

Rather than to argue and resent a pay deduction, might you determine to arrive 10 minutes early instead of arriving on time or late? It might take several months of being there ahead of time to earn the respect of your boss. Work is hard enough without being frustrated and angry at one’s employer. Of course if you have been charged with being late when you were not, your time clock or coworkers should be able to provide evidence in your defense.Even better than arriving early, why not pretend that you owned the place and that everyone there depended on you to set the pace of work? If you did that, you would think of ways to cut wasted supplies, time, energy and find ways to make your workplace more money. And you might even feel better about your work.Does any of this make sense to you? I hope your next few weeks go better than the past few days. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. What might big WEGOS mean to you?

Follow UP: This was a question on behalf of another person and is more complicated than being late. When this person went to work, he was normally on time but if any of them walked in as a group the fob didn’t always recognize the fact that you had arrived. So most of the lateness was not actually true, it would recognize him when he went to get coffee on the way back in, but if they looked properly, he had been working on his computer from the correct time. They did not state in his written warning that he would be deducted any money. Is this right that even if they didn’t state it, they can deduct it, even when most of the lateness stated as I said was not actually correct? Plus you are saying they don’t have to give a verbal warning? He had also already been told off for the lateness via an email just before his boss left and had money deducted. Since then the current boss, who has been employed (as company was sold), has it in for him, he does all the credit control himself and has a success rate of 150%!

But this new boss still has it in for him. He has not been late at all since but they are still taking the money away from his bonus that he has worked hard for. Is this all above board? It doesn’t seem right.

Where Does He Stand: It is good of you to care and to reason that there is an injustice to this individual. You appear to believe it is not fair and it probably is not. However, what choice does this man have? He can compose a statement in his defense stating he has been falsely accused of being late and penalized. He can take that to his boss, who you assert has it in for him, probably to no avail and he can take it above his boss. This you say occurred some time before the company was sold, and that the current management continues to penalize him. He has little choice but to make a case about this injustice or to bite his tongue and learn if he can live down the injustice of the past. Of course, from here, I do not know the culture of the country or of the workplace and that’s why I stated the warning, or lack of one, hinges on the labor laws and the policy of the company.

Unless one has a strong union and/or labor-friendly government, what management says is the rule and any exception arises from the need for employees and the goodwill of the employer. I hope that your good sense and support can help guide your friend to accept what can be changed and to do all that is possible to change that that can be. Feel free to seek other advice and to think this thing through with him, but it may be best not to allow it to be a matter of persistent gossip and/or to fester and sour his attitude at work. Do feel free to keep me posted.

William Gorden