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Punching out for lunch

Our business policy requires all hourly employees to punch out when leaving for lunch. I have an employee who refuses to follow this policy and I would like to discuss with him the importnace in doing so. Please advise as to the best way to accurately discuss the importance of this policy, especially from an insurance perspective. Thanks!

It’s important for companies to adopt policies to ensure proper business operations. It’s even more important to uniformly enforce the policies throughout the agency. Allowing even one employee to consistently disobey a policy sets a poor example for other workers and establishes a precedent.

Many companies implement time keeping policies which often require non-exempt employees to punch out for lunch periods. Clocking in/out provides accurate time keeping records in compliance with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and documentation of meal periods required in some states. Additionally, clocking out for lunch clearly documents when an employee is working and not working which can alleviate some insurance risks.

It appears the employee is purposely violating company policy. Describing the consequences of his actions should be enough to correct the behavior. However, if you feel the need to clarify the reason for the policy, explain to the employee that not clocking out for lunch places the company at risk. By not clocking out for lunch, it’s unclear if the employee is still working or not. Thus, if the employee injures himself there is a potential for workers’ compensation liability. If an employee is injured while working the employer should investigate the situation, provide necessary corrective action, and determine if the situation is a compensable work-related injury. This risk is significantly reduced when an employee clocks out for lunch and is clearly not working. Also, it can be explained to the employee that documenting meal periods ensures employees are taking lunch in accordance with company policy, if applicable.

Though it’s best to discuss non severe policy violations with an employee prior to disciplining him, an employee who continually violates policy and disregards the employer’s attempts to correct the insubordination must be disciplined accordingly. Written warnings, suspensions, and even termination may be warranted for continued violations.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014 at 5:20 pm and is filed under
Human Resources Management, Performance Management.
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