Employees in California who have their work hours recorded electronically and tallied by software might have little control over the accuracy of their time sheets. University researchers studied the tutorials, promotional information, and support materials for 13 types of software in widespread use among employers. Their findings showed that managers had easy access to data and could alter work hours without the knowledge of employees. The timekeeping programs also rounded work hours and automatically deducted break times.
Furthermore, the researchers noted that the programs might be contributing to violations of wage and hour laws. The design of user interfaces employed psychological principles and behavioral economics to nudge managers toward certain actions.
To provide employees with greater transparency regarding the recording of their work hours, the researchers recommended that time edits should include a note giving the reason for the change from the original electronic scan. These changes might also be routed back to employees for confirmation. Employers should also publish a list of all automatically applied rules that influence the timekeeping for employees.
Employees who suspect that their bosses are not paying for all the hours they worked or avoiding paying overtime could reach out to an attorney for legal help. A lawyer could ask to see payroll records, and this information could reveal whether the employer is complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act. To pursue a wage claim, an attorney could gather the evidence and file a lawsuit. Prior to a trial, an attorney could contact the employer and explain the violations of the employee's rights. If an employer continues to deny the claim, then a lawyer could prepare the case for presentation to a judge and jury.