The adage that time is money has taken an unusual twist in Chino. The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) has slapped citations worth more than $1 million on a warehouse company there, alleging that 865 employees were cheated out of overtime pay they had earned, and didn’t get required 30-minute meal breaks.
The apparent problem: Quetico Manufacturing has only three time clocks, so lines to clock in and out often stretch to more than 100 employees. The state says workers who arrived on time but punched in late because of the long wait were given warnings. They were told to “report to work earlier and earlier, time for which they were not compensated.” The long lines also cut into workers’ lunch breaks.
The state also claims Quetico retaliated against three workers who complained to the DLSE.
Note: State and federal investigators are cracking down on employers that play games that shortchange employees. The more cumbersome your timekeeping system, the more likely investigators will dig deeper—by interviewing your employees and reviewing your payroll records with a magnifying glass.