Well, here we go again! Just when we thought it was safe to go back into the water (after that great court decision regarding breaks), a new law gets signed off by the Governor making it a misdemeanor for an employer (which means manager or supervisor because you can’t put an “entity” in jail) from executing false statements of hours worked by an employee!
The reason the Bill (AB 2075) was passed was because there were cases presented whereby employees were routinely required to fill out false time sheets as instructed by their employer; have been required to sign false statements about the hours worked and meal and rest periods received; and in some cases employees were fired for failing to comply.
How can this happen without the intent? First, remember that ignorance of the law is no excuse! Second, think of a scenario where an employer announces “There will be no overtime” and a supervisor has staff “Working off the clock.” It will not matter if the employees agrees (At that moment) and later, after being fired, complains that he/she was forced. Third, handwritten time records that reflect either the total hours worked or an employee writes in their start time at “8,” lunch at “12,” returns from lunch at “1,” and leaves at “5,” every single day. Such records are not accurate and can land you in trouble.
The proponent of the Bill also argued that employers are forcing employees to “sign off on their timesheets” which may not be accurate. My concern is that employers have already been placed in a position to have employees sign off on everything concerning their time worked as well as lunch breaks. This bill will hamstring employers from trying to protect themselves from invalid claims by being proactive with getting employees to sign off that the records are accurate.
Solution: Get out of California! Just kidding!! Look, have a proper record keeping system in place. Handwritten records are obsolete so invest in an electronic version and do not go in and make adjustments without the employees knowledge! When a change has to be made bring them in, have them observe the change, and sign a form that they observed the change. This way they have not signed off on the “timekeeping” itself but have acknowledged that they knew it was changed and why.
There are no guarantees but if we take the time to follow the above solution it may protect you. A major factor is to ensure that the managers/supervisors are following the law and are not seeking to deceive either the employee or upper management.