My boss wants to have me arrested for working unauthorized overtime

Dear Evil HR Lady,

Hi, I am wondering about overtime etc. Basically, my wife has worked in an office most of her life. Recently, she has been working for a small business as an office manager; running the office, ordering parts, making sure the other people were getting their work schedule for the day, etc.

She worked 3 years there, basically worked through lunch etc, stayed late waiting on workers to get in, getting office supply on the weekends etc. So after 2 years she decided to put probably 3-5 hours on her time sheet which made that overtime, as every 1 else was paid it when they worked overtime.

After about 8 months, her boss fired her for doing it, said he didn’t approve it. Said she was stealing from him. now he’s trying to have her arrested for it? Is this right that he can do this?

It’s not right and he can’t do this. I mean, sure he can call the police, but it’s actually against the law to NOT put all the hours you worked on the time card. Now, a boss can certainly fire someone for working unauthorized overtime, but they still have to pay for the unauthorized overtime.

The law is so strict that even if the boss said, explicitly, “You are not authorized to work more than 40 hours a week. If you work more than 40 hours a week I will not pay you for that time. Is that clear?” and you worked 41 hours, he’d still be required to pay you time and a half for that last hour even though he told you not to. It’s why this lady got fired for working through lunch. The law allows no exception for a non-exempt employee to work without pay.

Now, that said, a reminder: the boss can certainly fire you for working unauthorized overtime, but he still has to pay.

Now, this boss is an idiot on many levels (he should have noticed the overtime 8 months ago), and even more so because if your wife has only been recording her overtime for the past 8 months, and she worked overtime before that, she’s legally entitled to overtime pay for the previous time too. Yeah! So, go ahead and contact the Department of Labor and file a complaint. Normally I would tell you to be cautious about this if you were willingly working off the clock because this will burn bridges and few hours overtime isn’t worth the bad reference. But, once the boss tries to have you arrested, that bridge is already burned, so it’s time to reap the rewards of such a blazing fire.

Now, the one exception to this is if she falsified her time card. If she really wasn’t working those hours then, yeah, that’s fraud. Would the police/district attorney’s office investigate? Maybe, maybe not. Depends on how much fraud it involved. But as long as she actually worked those hours, he’s the one who should be worried.

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14 thoughts on “My boss wants to have me arrested for working unauthorized overtime

    1. Only if the payroll person was dumb enough to pay based on a timecard when the person should be exempt.

      But things like handing out schedules and ordering supplies aren’t typically exempt functions. An exempt person can do them, but unless the bulk of her job was management level, it sounds non-exempt from here.

      That said, I never classify anyone as exempt or non-exempt from a single email.

  1. I don’t know about an arrest, but this advice is wrong. Wife committed fraud. The letter is nearly incoherent, but I’m pretty sure this is what he’s saying.

    Wife worked a ton of overtime for three years, but never put the OT down on her time sheet. She realized she totally lost out on that, so now she’s gradually claiming the OT from the past few years on CURRENT time sheets. No. That is not right. It’s illegal. She’s entitled to get paid for the OT she worked, but not by lying to her employer and pretending like she’s working that OT now.

    Employer has to pay up. It can be mitigated by employer’s fraud claim against wife.

    1. I didn’t interpret it that way (obviously), but it is fraud to put it down now as hours worked today.

      I made the assumption that she is currently working through lunch, etc, and so she just decided to start recording time.

      If you’re right though, then yeah, she’s in trouble. Although he probably won’t want to go to court, because it will come out that she didn’t receive overtime for the legitimate hours worked.

      1. After re-reading, I think I agree with you. I think what he’s actually saying is that she’s now putting down 3-5 hours of OT, but still working more than that.

        She should find a new job where they pay her what she’s owed then fire a wage claim going back as far as she can.

        1. I presume she’s already been fired so there’s no reason to postpone the complaint.

          And now I’m not sure what the real situation is!

    2. Wasnt no lying going on!! And she wasnt trying to claim over time from the 2 years before. All she was doing was claiming the hours she was entitled to.And she DID work the hours she claimed. NO FRAUD Involved. Just the striaght TRUTH!

  2. The REAL situation is! She has been fired. And she was hired 3 years ago to manage the Office,To handle the day-day operation of the conpany. The boss NEVER came in the office, maybe once a week to get his pay check. All other workers got over time. My wife is one that always go’s above and beyond what she should, like working through her lunch ,staying late waiting on employies to bring in checks etc for work done, getting office supply on days off, etc.This went on for over 2 years, So thats when she decided to start putting the 3-5 hours on her time sheet.

    1. Good. Then I interpreted it correctly. Yeah, call the Department of Labor.

      And file for unemployment. And appeal if denied.

      1. Yea she filed for that, he totally fought it , and it was turned down, That was about a month ago. Would it be smart to get a Lawyer? Everything was great up until the day he came in and fired her. Like I said he is trying to get her arrested, And the detective said he’s probably going to want her to pay it back. Which will really hurt as we are on the verge of losing everything.
        As I myself am unable to work.

        1. 1. Fight unemployment. File an appeal.
          2. Hire a lawyer. will get you a labor and employment lawyer who can explain to the detective that by law she has to put down all her hours.

          1. Well got a call from the detective today, Says her exboss wants her aressted and supposidly theres going to be a warrent out. . Cant believe no one knows the laws on this. Probably wont be able to afford a decent Lawyer to fight this, Guess not much we can do.

            1. If she cannot afford an attorney in the criminal case, she can request a court-appointed one. You should certainly attempt to follow the Evil HR Lady’s advice, above.

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