Q: What can we as a company do if we discover that an employee has been falsifying their timecards?
A: If you discover an employee has been falsifying their timecard, you should refer to your policies and past practice. Hopefully, you have a policy that makes it clear that timesheets must be accurate and that failure to report time correctly could lead to discipline—up to and including termination. But remember that consistency is key, and similar situations should be handled in the same manner to avoid claims of discrimination. You don’t want to “make an example” of one employee if other employees have been treated more leniently for issues like this in the past.
You should also hear the employee's side of the story prior to making a final termination decision. Even in situations where you have significant evidence of misconduct, you may learn something during your conversation with the employee that changes your perspective. For instance, they may be writing in extra hours Monday through Friday to account for time spent working on the weekend. If this were the case, they might still be in violation of company policies, but you’d probably want to determine why this was happening and if there are underlying issues that are leading to off-the-clock work. Terminating someone for attempting to get paid for all hours worked would be a dangerous move.
If you don't learn anything from the conversation with the employee that changes your assessment that they've been wrongly reporting their time worked, then you can move to discipline or termination, whichever is your standard practice for this type of misconduct.
A well written and comprehensive employee handbook will benefit both the employee and the employer. Download this infographic to learn why creating and maintaining an accurate handbook is imperative to workplace success.