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Logging in after hours to get ahead

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in Workplace Communication,Workplace Conflict

It can be frustrating when your peers use sneaky tactics to make them­­­selves look better than you at work. But what can you do to stop them?

That’s what one reader asked recently on the Admin Pro Forum:

“My admin team is getting overly competitive since we can now log into our system after normal work hours. I know that at least two people I work with put in an extra four or five unpaid hours every week at home, in order to get ahead. I can’t help but feel they have an unfair advantage … yet I can’t realistically tattle on them for the unauthorized hours."  — Betty, financial services

We talked to a couple of experts who pointed out the real problem: em­­ployer liability. Working off-the-clock is causing friction between employees here, but it’s also creating a liability for the employer, says Amy Gulati, Helios HR. “For nonexempt employees who work off the clock, the liability is huge.”

Generally, all employees are to be paid for work even when it’s off-the-clock, says Charles Krugel, a management-side labor and employment lawyer and human resources counselor. “This applies equally to salaried workers as well as hourly workers,” he says. “How­­ever, if a salaried worker has no set hours or schedule, then an employer may have an easier time not paying them for work done during off hours.”

Should employees blow the whistle on those working off the clock and not being compensated? “If another employee finds out that someone is working off the clock, there’s no legal obligation for them to report it, but there is probably a company policy that says they should report known wrongdoing,” Gulati says. On the other hand, if a manager is aware of the situation and does nothing, there may be vicarious liability because managers are often considered legal agents of the employer, she says.

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