Telecom giant Cingular settled a Labor Department audit last month by paying $5.1 million in back wages to more than 25,000 customer-service reps and agreeing to create a new time-reporting review procedure.
The problem: Cingular call-center reps often began work before their scheduled shifts and continued to work after their shifts ended, yet they weren't paid for that off-the-clock work, according to the Labor Department.
Lessons: Pay employees for all time worked, regardless of whether you scheduled the hours or even permitted them. Also, don't dock employees' paychecks as punishment for working beyond scheduled hours. Instead, useto get the point across.