re regarding employees clocking in and out.

    Recently central stations raised the question about central station employees who

work an 8 hour shift and how CSs handled those leaving the premise to pickup food, etc.

    A few comments mentioned that the company had a liability if these employees left the site and had an accident without clocking out because they were still on company time.  Could you address this topic and advise if this is something we should be addressing?

    I'm conflicted on this because our salaried employees routinely leave for lunch or other errands and could just as easily get into an accident and I never would have considered that to be a company liability.

To clarify the employee would be in their own vehicle and on their legally mandated lunch break.





    I tossed this to our expert on labor and employment law, Judge Ruth Kraft.  Here is her response, and if don't have an Employee Handbook or written employment terms, contact her for assistance.  Judge Kraft can be reached at 516 747 6700 x 326 or by email at RKraft@Kirschenbaumesq.com.


    You are absolutely correct that the failure of an employee to sign out during lunch can expose you to liability.  For this reason, all workers-even those who are salaried and not hourly-should be required to sign out at the commencement of the statutory lunch break and to sign back in upon their return to work.  This can be accomplished either by a log sheet in the field or, in a more sophisticated operation, via a computerized telephone system. 

In terms of leaving work to perform personal errands, I recommend that you follow the same system.  Although salaried workers cannot be docked pay if they attend to personal business during working hours, the goal would be to document that they were not engaged in work related activities at the time of an accident or other incident.  Such a system would have a beneficial side effect in this era of wage/hour litigation.  It would establish that the mandatory lunch break was provided and, if the employee was misclassified as salaried but should have been hourly, it will reduce your liability by the number of hours in which the employee was conducting his own affairs. 

To support implementation of a mandatory sign-out system for all workers, your employee handbook should state the policy clearly and provide for progressive discipline in the event of violations.  The policy should be enforced rigorously and consistently.

If your existing manual does not include these issues (or you don't have an updated handbook), then we should discuss creating documentation which will corroborate the policy and which will greatly lessen your exposure.