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Boss' Demand to Micromanage Clock-In Times Satisfyingly Backfires

Newsweek logo Newsweek 5/24/2022 Amanda Spence
A boss' demand to micromanage clock-in times has backfired. Here, a woman checking her watch while at work. © DOUCEFLEUR/GETTY A boss' demand to micromanage clock-in times has backfired. Here, a woman checking her watch while at work.

A supervisor is being praised after being told to check employees' clock-in times, leading to major overtime payouts for employees.

The viral Reddit post, shared to the subreddit "Malicious Compliance," received 25,100 upvotes since it was shared on May 21. Redditor @Danjcb shared the post, which has since garnered over 400 comments, and he revealed the situation occurred a while ago.

The concept of overtime in the U.S. was established in 1938 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Fair Labor Standards Act. Along with creating a minimum wage, the act introduced regulations guaranteeing all non-exempt workers time-and-a-half pay for all hours worked exceeding 40 per week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The OP was a supervisor overseeing a small team, and he admitted they were all "great at what they did." On one payday, three workers were concerned payroll had given them "too much money," but they hadn't, and the OP went into more detail about the situation.

It turned out one of the people the OP managed came in five minutes late and was "caught" by a manager, who told the OP's boss, and it all came back to the Redditor.

"I want you to check their clock-ins and clock-outs, and let me know so we can dock them any time they weren't in on time," the OP was told.

The OP revealed the workers were great employees that got a lot of work done and consistently stayed late when needed to finish things. "Also—I don't want to even think about if that was legal or not," he said, adding that it "didn't sit right" with him.

The OP added: "Two things weren't in his favor right now, one, he was being a tool, and two, I'd already got another job lined up which he didn't know about. So, I didn't care."

The Redditor did what he was told, and he checked the clock-in times, relaying there were only a couple of minutes here or there, nothing major of note. But the OP didn't stop there.

"I then checked all of the extra time they worked since they'd started and added it all up," the OP said. "Made sure to take out anything they'd already claimed as overtime. Logged it in the system and approved and sent it over to finance myself."

Then, the OP checked the other employees' time and did the same thing. He acknowledged his employees were "d**n helpful," and they even assisted in other areas when they could. The overtime they consequently received via the OP's efforts amounted to two times their pay, and the Redditor said it amounted to "a lot."

The OP concluded: "I delayed it a couple of days to make sure it all went through and double-checked with finance to make sure all was good. Then I called a meeting with my boss to let him know everything and hand him a letter. He was not pleased. Worth it."

In a comment to another Redditor, the OP revealed the workers were salaried, and overtime wasn't automatic, as they had to have "overtime pre-agreed" and employees had to "claim it." The workers hadn't claimed the overtime, so it consequently hadn't been paid out to them.

In a response to another commenter, the OP said the workers were paid for "certain hours," and anything over that was "their own time." The Redditor continued: "They could have clocked out at 5 p.m. on the dot, but little odds and ends wouldn't get done, and they'd likely get in trouble for that."

The workers were paid overtime in 15-minute increments, but just 15 minutes "wasn't 'justifiable OT,' it was just 'finishing things up.' [Fifteen] minutes here or there really mounts up at some point—hence it was a lot," the OP added.

Numerous comments poured in over the viral post, and people are praising the OP for his actions. One Reddit user called the OP a "good supervisor," adding, "Good on you." Another Redditor thought that "Everybody who deserved to win, wins and boss gets screwed. Well done."

Others brought up micromanaging specifically, and one such Redditor wrote, "Micromanaging: the art of overanalyzing other people's productivity to hide one's own uselessness."

Another user agreed, stating that any boss "with time to micromanage doesn't have enough of their own work to do."

A Redditor thought the post constituted "one of the most hated things sh**ty managers do," insisting, "Employee is 5 minutes late a couple of times, whole world bursts into flames. Same employee works their arse off and stays behind when required for hours and nobody bats an eye."

One Reddit user would have explained the situation quite differently to their boss. "Would have been great if you went into the meeting and said 'I checked all the clock-ins, you were right! They weren't getting paid for OT, so I went ahead and fixed it,'" they said.

Another user thought the boss's willingness to make sure the staff was being paid correctly "definitely backfired," adding, "But hey, at least they found out that they owed them back pay and all."

A Redditor thought the OP did the right thing by his team, but they were concerned if the boss would "take any revenge action" after the manager left. The OP responded: "He was p**sed at me not them. He at least knew who to be angry with."

However, not everyone thought the post was all that memorable. "This is my favorite kind of malicious compliance," a Redditor admitted. "The boss asks, the peon delivers. Woe be to the prideful 'leader.'"

Newsweek reached out to Redditor @Danjcb for comment.

This isn't the only viral moment involving a work situation. A boss didn't speak to an employee who resigned. A company criticized a worker for coming in and leaving on time. In addition, an employee was supported after refusing to work until they were paid.

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