Can employee decide when his day’s work is done?

Electrician Grade II Ben Tarpol was assigned a rewiring job in the lab that took 2 days and 6 hr. When he completed the assignment 2-hr before quitting time on Friday, he decided to take a quick nap before the end-of-shift buzzer sounded.

By Raymond Dreyfack February 1, 1999

Electrician Grade II Ben Tarpol was assigned a rewiring job in the lab that took 2 days and 6 hr. When he completed the assignment 2-hr before quitting time on Friday, he decided to take a quick nap before the end-of-shift buzzer sounded.

Maintenance Foreman Al Christopher found him asleep in a crate in the storage room.

“All right, that does it, Tarpol. You’re getting an official warning notice and suspension for this.”

The worker feigned innocence. “What’s the big deal? I finished the assignment you gave me ahead of schedule. It was too late in the day to start another job.”

“That’s for me to decide. You’re being paid for 8-hr work a day.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong.”

“Well, you were.”

When the foreman refused to back down, Tarpol threatened a grievance.

Question: Do you think the suspension is warranted?

Plant engineer’s verdict: When Christopher brought the suspension to Plant Engineer Edgar Case for approval, the executive reviewed Tarpol’s personnel file.

“This guy doesn’t have a bad record,” he said. “On the one hand, sleeping on the job is a serious offense and, obviously, we can’t go along with Tarpol’s rationale for doing it. On the other hand, suspension for a first time infraction is tough discipline for an above-average employee. I’d suggest you put an official warning notice in his file, but instead of suspending him, dock him 2 hr for the time that he lost.”