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If you’re a time sheet approver who signs off on time sheets, read on!  Do you realize if you sign off on alterations to the hours reported by an employee you can be held personally liable?  The company you work for can also be held liable, but your personal assets can be up for grabs, too. 

The Fair Labor Standards Act allows employees to sue their bosses, executives and HR professionals for personal liability for altering pay records.  Because of this, make sure supervisors don’t accept off-the-clock work or time record alterations.  For example, according to “HR Specialist Employment Law” March, 2010 issue, U.S. Department of Labor officials announced last year that they’re receiving more complaints about employees forced to work through breaks. 

When an employee is on an-paid break, he/she must be free from all work duties.  That’s good reason to have a break room where employees can eat their lunches completely away from their desks/work stations.  You put yourself and your company at risk when you don’t pay an employee for all time worked, including “breaks” where the employee actually still assumes some job responsibilities (such as answering the phone).

Employees who worked at a group home as “living assistants” were recently awarded

$500,000 – which the court held the CEO personally liable for.  He and the company were ordered to pay the damages, including a $155,000 penalty.  This was the result of timesheets indicating the workers were given two 4-hour breaks during 48 hour weekend shifts, when, in fact, they had to check on each resident every two hours  Eight hours were deducted from their timesheets which the CEO signed off on.   (Chao v. SelfPride, No 06-1203, 4th Cir.)

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