Question: Our HR manager recently told me that my bosses had complained about my coming in late. I am a secretary to three attorneys in a large law firm. Since I frequently work after hours without overtime pay, I assumed that arriving late was no problem. When I apologized to the attorneys, they said the HR manager brought up the subject. The attorneys thanked me for working in the evenings. I have told the HR manager that I don’t appreciate her misrepresenting the situation. I would like an unbiased third party to mediate this tardiness issue, but a friend says that bringing up overtime would create big problems. What should I do?” Angry with HR
Marie’s Answer: Regardless of who initiated this discussion, the bottom line is that you need to arrive on schedule and be paid for any extra hours worked. Consider these points:
• Although your HR manager might be slightly overzealous, she is responsible for ensuring that policies are consistently applied. She’s just doing her job.
• Even if don’t mind, your early morning absence could create problems for others. People may have to keep checking to see if you’re in. Co-workers may have to answer your phone. Clients may be waiting for information.
• Punctual employees might reasonably complain that tolerance of your tardiness constitutes special treatment. And don’t be too sure that the attorneys really approve. They may simply fear highlighting the unpaid overtime issue.
• Instead of escalating the tardiness fight, simply agree to arrive on time, then ask your compliance-oriented HR manager to help you get the pay you deserve. She needs to ensure that these lawyers obey the law.
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