As an employee, you go to work each day with the expectation that you will receive timely payment for the work you do. Part of your duty as an employee is to provide a record of your hours to your employer, who is required to track your time. Your employer provides a timekeeping system and it is your responsibility to clock in and out of work each day.
Many employers utilize electronic timekeeping systems that allow employees to clock in through a phone, computer or even a cash register, though some employers still use paper timecards.
Your timecard is how your employer knows how much to pay you, so what happens when your employer loses your timecard? Without the timecard it could be next to impossible to determine when you were at work, short of checking cameras or tracking computer or cash register usage. Even with cameras, it can be a very challenging task and it can translate to a big headache for you later on.
Employers are responsible for tracking their employees’ hours. Whether they use an electronic timekeeping system or if they are using paper timecards, the bottom line is that they need a system that works. If the system is unreliable in any way it can disrupt prompt and timely payment for employees and that is not acceptable.
Barring accidents and natural disasters, there is no reason that a timekeeping system should fail. It is one thing for a burst pipe to flood an office and destroy the stack of paper timecards on a supervisor’s desk. Situations like that cannot be prevented because they are freak accidents.
However, “losing” time cards is not acceptable, especially if your employer loses time cards more than once. One time can be chalked up to an accident, but multiple incidents is more like a pattern, and it is absolutely unacceptable.
What to do if your employer lost your time card
If your employer has lost your timecard, then you should contact human resources to find out what your options are. The best way for the situation to be resolved is for the company to take responsibility for the situation and to pay you your normal pay rate.
Determining how much money you are owed can be challenging when you have overtime during the pay period in question. Aside from footage from security cameras and time stamps on computers and cash registers, it boils down to your word against their word.
Your employer really has two options: Pay you what you are owed, or prove that you did not work the hours you say you did.
Your relationship with your employer will set the tone for how this conversation plays out; if you do not have a close relationship with your employer it could be difficult to arrive at an agreeable outcome. If you are met with backlash then you might need to file a claim against your employer in order to receive the payment you are owed.
Speak with an attorney
If your employer has lost your time card and you are having trouble proving your hours or you are being denied payment for the hours worked, then you could file a claim against your employer with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) or you could file a private lawsuit. In either case, it would be to your benefit to speak with an employment attorney to determine the best course of action.
An employment attorney can act on your behalf, alleviating a great deal of the stress that comes with filing a claim or lawsuit against your employer. It might be enough for your attorney to speak with your employer to resolve the payment issue. Your attorney might recommend that you file a claim or initiate a lawsuit, in which case you will have the support of an expert who will know what evidence you need to collect to build your case.
Though it is very helpful to have an expert advocating on your behalf, hiring an employment attorney does not guarantee that you will win your case. However, an employment attorney can greatly increase the chances of a favorable outcome in your case.
Many employment attorneys will work on a contingency basis, meaning that you will not be required to pay up front and you will only pay if you win your case. This means there is very little risk in hiring an employment attorney.
To learn more about how an employment attorney can help you, fill out a free case evaluation.