Aug. 10, 2008 Governor Signs Amendment to Labor Code to Prohibit Requiring Employees to Sign False Time Cards
Governor Schwarzenegger has signed into law a bill that amends California Labor Code section 206.5. The amended statute prohibits an employer from requiring an employee to sign a time card reflecting hours worked, which the employer knows to be false.
Since enacted in 1959, Labor Code section 206.5 has prohibited employers from requiring an employee to execute a release of any claim for unpaid wages unless the wages have been paid. Violation of this prohibition constituted a misdemeanor on the part of the employer.
The amendment signed by the Governor extends this long-standing provision, by adding a subsection which prohibits an employer from conditioning the payment of wages on an employee signing a time card or other statement of the hours the employee worked if the employer knows the time card or statement is false.
Proponents of the amendment argued that some California employers are attempting to guard against litigation for the underpayment of wages or for meal and rest period violations by requiring their employees to sign time cards which do not reflect the actual time worked. The supporters of the bill further argued that an employer's ability to require employees to sign false time cards renders many of the protections of California law meaningless.
What This Means
The Labor Code now expressly prohibits an employer from requiring an employee to sign a time card or other statement of hours worked which the employer knows to be false.
Employers who require employees to attest to their hours worked as a condition of being paid should immediately evaluate their practices. Some employers have employees sign time cards prior to the end of a pay period as a way of facilitating the timely processing of payroll. Such a practice would violate the new law because time cards that purport to record hours not yet worked are, by definition, false. Other employers require employees to sign a timecard with "default" hours or breaks filled in. This practice could also violate the new law, if the employer knows that the default hours or breaks are not an accurate reflection of the employee's actual hours.
Upcoming Paul, Plevin Seminars:
August 28, 2008
This training, which is geared toward human resources personnel, decision makers, and in-house legal counsel, provides a detailed road map for conducting a workforce reduction in a way that reduces a company's exposure to discrimination, wrongful termination, severance, and other liabilities.
September 25, 2008
Understanding and applying wage and hour laws in California is a daunting task. This training focuses on the most common - and expensive - errors employers tend to make, and offers solutions for limiting exposure on existing claims and avoiding future violations.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Paul, Plevin's 11th Annual Employment Law Update Workplace Law 2009
As always, our goal is to provide employers with the practical knowledge and tools necessary to prepare for and address the employment law challenges of the coming year in an entertaining and thought-provoking program.