Sleeping on the job

Inside the Law: Docking Workers for Goofing Off

June 11, 2018 - 3:00 am

By Amy E. Feldman, Judge Technology Solutions​

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- If you're wasting time at work, can your boss dock your pay? 

The City of Modesto, California began an investigation into how employees in the wastewater department who were paid salaries between $50,000 and $70,000 a year were spending their days. Turns out, water was not all that was wasted.  

Through the use of GPS data and activity logs, the city found that the employees were socializing with one another, going home, shopping, sleeping, and driving around the city in a utility vehicle. 

Vroom vroom. One employee was fired, one was allowed to retire, and two more were put on probation. 

But could the city dock their paychecks for the time it turns out they wasted? 

The answer is no. 

A salaried exempt worker who isn't party to a collective bargaining agreement doesn't get paid overtime if he works more than 40 hours in a week; the flip side is his boss can't dock him an hour here or an hour there for goofing off. 

That said, a boss can reduce his salary going forward for subpar performance or fire him so the lesson is that the boss has to pay attention to what the employees are actually doing to prevent them from wasting the employer's money while they're wasting their time.