Can you be fired for time clock fraud if you made an honest mistake?

UPDATED: Jun 8, 2011

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Can you be fired for time clock fraud if you made an honest mistake?

I was accused of time clock fraud at work and fired. What happened was that I would take my 45 minute lunch (clock in and clock out like I was supposed to) and some days since I did not take a 15 minute break after I worked 3 or 4 hours I would take it right after my lunch. I was told by my manager that it was against time policy to combine both breaks and to write a statement of what I did and for how long. Which I did since I was afraid of losing my job. She told me she would send the statement to HR and let me know. I did not know that I could not do that. I have never in 8 years been in trouble

Asked on June 8, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you don't have an employment contract (including a union agreement) protecting your employment and/or setting forth the conditions or procedure under which you may be fired, then you are an employee at will. An employee at will, as the term implies, may be fired at any time, for any reason whatsoever. That, unfortunately, includes violating either labor laws or regulations of which you were no aware, or indeed, simply doing things that management disapproves of even if not illegal...or e.ven simply because someone in management, for no good reason, wants to fire you. So unfortunately, if you are an employee at will, you may be terminated for this, or essentially any other reason, and only work there as long as the company wants you to. On the other hand, if there is a contract or union agreement, you need to look to its terms...the contract's provisions will control

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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