punch-the-clock.jpgIt’s 9 a.m., do you know how many hours of work you’ll put in today?

There’s one basic axiom in the for-profit workplace — employees get paid for the work they do. But for some reason companies just can’t seem to get this simple concept.

Walmart got bitch slapped yet again on Friday for its employment practices, this time for not paying workers who worked off the clock, which is against the law; and not paying employees for 15 minutes rest breaks, which was a provision in the retailer’s own handbook.

And it’s just not Walmart trying to take a few shekels out of workers’ paychecks. Best Buy is also facing allegations that it misclassified managers who were actually doing hourly work but not getting paid overtime when they did it. The company has come under fire for its pay practices in the past, more than once.

States and the federal government have been cracking down on such infractions recently, but workers need to step up and demand to be paid what they’re owed. To that end, the Department of Labor has introduced an app to help you keep track of your own hours. That’s how bad they think it’s getting folks.

“I am pleased that my department is able to leverage increasingly popular and available technology to ensure that workers receive the wages to which they are entitled,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. “This app will help empower workers to understand and stand up for their rights when employers have denied their hard-earned pay.”

Turns out, the DOL doesn’t think you can rely on your employer’s record keeping since many have decided to punch out the punch clock. Indeed, in the case of Walmart, the retailer actually claimed the company’s own records were “unreliable” so they shouldn’t be held accountable.

The Walmart class-action case involving 187,000 employees goes back to a suit they lost in 2006 when a court found the company violated the law and its own policies, and hit them with a $190 million judgment, which the retailer appealed. But on Friday, a Pennsylvania court denied that appeal.

This from Friday’s ruling in Pennsylvania’s Superior Court:

The record reflects testimony and documentary evidence suggesting that because of pressure from the home office to reduce labor costs and the availability of significant bonuses for managers based on store profitability, Wal-Mart’s scheduling program created chronic understaffing, leading to widespread rest-break violations.

Treating your workers like crap doesn’t pay off in the end. And you would think Best Buy would have learned something from its old competitor Circuit City that pretty much went out of business because they smacked down their employees so badly.

Maybe they need a history lesson, or a stronger more durable time clock. Or why don’t we just put the thing in the cloud already, everything else is heading there.

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