Handling a worker who clocks in early

Q. We’ve repeatedly warned a part-time employee about clocking in earlier than he’s supposed to—sometimes more than an hour early. We know that we have to pay him for any hours worked, but what can we legally do to get him to work only the hours set for his position? Also, can we reprimand a co-worker who has been clocking in for him?

A. Setting up a progressive form of discipline may be an effective way to address the issue. A first offense may warrant a verbal warning, a second offense a written warning and so on up to termination.

You can manage this employee, and the co-worker who does the clocking in, as you would other employees who break company rules. As with all discipline, make sure you apply it consistently to avoid later claims of discrimination.