Is timecard abuse a dischargeable offense?

It should be if its motivation is to steal money for time not worked. No personnel or security manager would contest the rule specifying dismissal as a valid penalty for employee theft.
By Raymond Dreyfack August 1, 1999

It should be if its motivation is to steal money for time not worked.

No personnel or security manager would contest the rule specifying dismissal as a valid penalty for employee theft. But as is the case with any rule its effectiveness depends on how objectively and consistently it is enforced.

One day Ed Schultz, a shipping department expediter, notified Maintenance Foreman Jack Sabo that he saw Frank Morrisey, a grade II electrician, punching Carl Graham’s time card the previous evening at the same time Morrisey himself punched out after working overtime.

Schultz said, “I saw Graham leaving the plant a few minutes after five. I checked around and no one saw him on hand after that.”

Sabo thanked Schultz and conducted his own investigation, which confirmed Sabo’s suspicion. Morrissey and Graham, working in collusion, were illicitly trying to collect overtime pay for hours not worked, a case of out-and-out theft.

Sabo summoned the two men to his office. After hemming and hawing, they admitted they had attempted to cheat the company.

“Theft is a dischargeable offense,” Sabo said. “You can both clock out. Your termination check will be mailed to you.”

“Hey, give us a break,” Graham pleaded. Dismissal is too harsh a penalty.”

“Yeah,” Morrissey echoed, “other guys have been caught punching out for their friends without being fired for it.”

“Maybe so,” Sabo replied, “but they weren’t caught by me. The dismissal stands.”

“We’ll see about that,” Graham grumbled.

Question: Do you think Graham and Morrissey can beat the dismissal rap?

Warner’s verdict: “Let them off this time with a 2-wk suspension and put them on notice that a recurrence will result in dismissal. It’s true that we’ve been lenient in the past and let employees get away with time card abuse which could prejudice an arbitrator if a grievance is filed. In addition to the warning to these two men, I will post an announcement on the bulletin board informing workers that in the future time card abuse will result in dismissal.”