Can an employer clock an employee out?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an employer clock an employee out?

I work with childern so when it comes around 4 pm when I’m supposed to be off i cant always leave right at 4 due to not having another teacher to take over the room. My director has been clocking me out about 5-10 minuets before I leave. I requested a meeting with human resources and the director has told me not to come back to work until she can set up the meeting and is very mad I wanted to contact human resources. So mainly I want to know if she can legally clock me out and if there is a way I should approach this because I am in fear of loosing my job which I can’t afford right now

Asked on December 7, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Iowa


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There are two different issues here.
1) Can an employer clock out an employee? Yes, if the employee forgets or fails to clock out, the employer may clock him/her out.
2) Can an employee be clocked out while still working? No. If you are still watching the children or otherwise working, you must still be paid, even if it's after your workday or shift normally ends. It doesn't matter when you are supposed to stop working: if an hourly employee, you must be paid until you actually stop.
We cannot advise on how to approach this--that depends on your sense of this employer and how they will react; and also on whether you value getting the extra pay over possibly having to get involved in legal proceedings with your employer. (If they don't voluntarily pay, or if the get angry and terminate you--which would be illegal; you may not legally be fired for enforcing your legal rights--you would have to sue and/or file a complaint with the Dept. of Labor.)
What we can advise is that legally, you are entitled to be paid for the extra 5-10 minutes if you are still working during them.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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