What would you do in this situation? Need opinions

I need opinions. So I work in construction. I am a regular worker and the “Foreman” are the people who are in charge of the job. They tell everyone what to do, do all the paperwork and it is their job to make sure we finish the job on time and under budget.

Now, I get along with all the foreman in my company. They are good men. The only this is that ALL of them like to leave the job early sometimes. And if they want to leave the job early, all the regular workers have to leave the job early. So we will only work like 7 or 7 and a half hours sometimes. But the foreman will put on the paperwork that we all worked 8 and we get paid for 8.

This makes me feel uncomfortable so I started donating all the extra money to charity. For example, if we leave 45 minuets early everyday for a week but get paid for a 40 hour week, That is 3 hours and 45 minuets worth of time we are getting paid for that we did not work for. That is over $100 to me that I lose all because the foreman wanted to leave early and still get paid for 8. That is not including my normal tithe. If my take home is about $800 a week and I am giving say anywhere from $120 to $250 of it to charity or The Church every single week, I am losing a lot of money. My normal Tithe should be about $80 a week but I am giving away anywhere from $120 to $250 every single week off a $800 check. I have only had a good job for 2 1/2/ years. I am still in the process of saving money and getting myself established. That is a lot of extra money to lose. It would not be a lot if we did not pay taxes. If I took home my gross earnings a couple hundred dollars would be nothing. But uncle sam gets a cut no matter what, so it makes me lose even more because i get taxed more because my paycheck still reflects a 40 hour work week even though I am giving away what I feel I did not earn. Make sense?

I would really rather work the full 40 hours but I cant help it if the foreman wants to leave early and still get paid for 8. He must put down on all our timecards that we all worked 8 or he will draw attention to himself. That is also why I cannot just tell the foremen to just leave me out of this little scheme. It really sucks. I also am not going to rat anyone out, I am just not. I do not want anyone to lose their job. But I am stuck in the middle. Also this is not one of those things where I can just have a talk with the foreman and convince them to stop doing what they are doing. All that is going to happen is that they will not want me to work with them anymore and when the dispatcher sends me to their job they will say they do not want me and I will lose work.

So, what would you do? Am I being to scrupulous in this situation? I am starting to feel that I am. But I do not want to feel like I am stealing either. I cant just quit this job either. I need this job. What do you think? Should I cut myself some slack or keep doing what I am doing? What would you do?

This is where your problem lies. First, no you are not being scrupulous. This is fraud, and on a large scale.

This is not the school yard, and this is not about Johnny pulling a prank on the teacher. “I’m not going to be a rat” is juvenile. It is also a tactic perpetrators use to pressure those who know they are doing wrong to keep their mouth shut. And it is a grade school code you are going to have to get over.

This is a group of managers defrauding their employer regularly. And on a pretty grand scale, You know about it, and are therefore complicit in it. If your company doesn’t have a tip line, some do, then i suggest you go to HR and report the problem of the president of owner if you can get an audience with that person (not sure how big your company is)

Explain that retaliation is a real possibility and therefore you need to remain anonymous. It is easy enough for the company to send a higher level manager or auditor to job sites to stand back and see what time work stops and what time cards are turned in. If you report to HR and are then retaliated against or terminated, then file a complaint with the workforce commission. Whistleblower laws are in place for this reason.

Keep records of who you talk to, dates, and what they say also.

No offense to 1ke who is usually right on, but perhaps has not worked construction. This is common and is not fraud. Jobs are bid, and money is divided out. A Forman can add a little extra to his employees to keep them happy and working efficiently. This happens often on construction and the restataunt and bar industry. In construction there is generally a union involved that regulates this type of thing tightly.
It’s kind of like when you tip a waitress. Some of her tips go to the cooks, the busboys, the hostess etc. sometimes bids are high on purpose for just this reason. It’s how foremen keep a good crew together. And it is usually managements idea anyway. I’m not sure what the fraud would be, it’s not taxes because it is under payroll it isn’t the buyer if you are under budget…
Perhaps it’s a little suspect because there is no accounting mechanism in place to bonus working men on the ground. But it is very similar to tips.

You can ask about it if you want to but it might depend on the type of construction site you are on. You start messing with some of those old guys pay checks and you might get hurt. That is no joke.

Now with tips the common fraud and I mean really common is taxes.

It is defrauding the company.

If the company policy is to pay 8 hours wages for 7 hours work, fine. If the company doesn’t know about it, it is fraud.

It is not my concern if the foreman are defrauding the company. I am not making money off this, I am LOSING money. If the company put guys that have no problem doing this in foreman positions, that is their mistake not mine. It is not my responsibility to be the police. So, my question is what would you do? So you would report them?

Yes. I would.

HD, this is not a bonus program. This is payroll fraud. The time cards are falsified. A company running above board is not going to handle things this way.

Construction worker X gets off work at 3, throws back some vodka shots, get in his car, and kills someone at 3:45. His supervisor had him fill out his card showing he worked 7-4’ signs it, and sends it in to payroll. His time card shows him doing what? Company business.

No HR department in the world is going to knowingly allow this.

This is some supervisors with their hands in the till.

And if it is a bonus, payroll needs to report and tax it that way.

Ha! I wish my husbands job were like this.
They’re suppose to get 40 hours a week at the warehouse…which barely sustains us, and they get in a couple of huge bucks who can throw a sofa 30 yards, and then they let them go early. :frowning:
He gets “shorted” every week.
I know how this kid feels.

But yeah, construction work is like that. If they finish early, they finish early.
Especially if it rains, which it does ALOT.

I do not think you fully understand what I wrote. The problem is not “When we finish early I get shorted” the problem is the foremen in this company like to leave early and still put down that we worked 8 hours. And fortunately I live in southern Cali so it does not rain that much :slight_smile:

I understood, I was just telling our situation.
Sorry it doesn’t apply. :frowning:

Oh, okay. Well, what would YOU do if you were in my situation though? I do not have any practicing Catholic friends around here that I can talk to about this. That is why I want opinions here.

School yard code? For some people it is more like “Prison yard code”. But yeah, I understand where you are coming from.

This would also make me uncomfortable. I think bringing it to the attention of the higher ups (as anonymously as possible) would be a good thing, but if they don’t do anything to address the issue then I would say that you’re probably off the hook. After they’ve been told about the issue, if they don’t fix it, then the company is tacitly agreeing to pay you that amount of money for that amount of work. But yeah, as long as they don’t know, then it seems fraudulent. (And if they do know, then there may be accounting issues for the company, but I can’t see how you would be responsible for that.)

This type of corruption is what leads to loss of productivity and can deeply wound a company. It is not fair to blame the owner of the company for hiring ‘the type of manager’ who might do such a thing for how might the owner be able to predict or read the mind of such a fellow? Without individuals such as you leaving the odd anonymous tip the entire society would gradually degrade until it is as corrupt and broken as some other nations. It is only honesty and integrity that keeps such things in check.

Please report this wrong-doing. It is the only truly honorable thing to do…and you do not know the potential rewards down the line. Perhaps management might put a permanent check-mark in your file and perhaps one day you might find yourself in the position of foreman…? I know as a factory owner I would keep you in a very strong place if you ever did me such a favor…

Do you get a paid or unpaid lunch? When I do carpentry work at home I never take a break. explain to your foreman that it is important that you do a full day’s work for a full day’s pay. Maybe you can set up 15 or 20 minutes early or work through lunch, cleaning the yard or moving tools around to get your full 8 hours in.

I understand what 1ke is saying and agree with the legal aspect of the situation. However, I also do not think it is your responsibility. Your company does not pay you to police your job site to see who is and isn’t working. That’s the responsibility of TV shows like undercover boss. :D.

Also, I have done a lot of manual labor through the years and have come to realize 8hrs of labor doesn’t have the same result from every laborer in the yard. I am sure there are many guys standing around talking on the job site, taking a few extra bathroom breaks and what not. God expects us to give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. My son and I put on a 16x45 metal roof in under 3 hours last month. If it took someone else 5 hours does that mean they did more honest work that day? I have seen so many laborers complete 2 hours of work in an 8 hour day. In my opinion an honest day’s worth of work is to give that job a full 8 hours worth of labor each day. It doesn’t matter if it takes 6 hours or 12 hours, work is based on what you accomplished not how many hours you were present. Your foreman’s job is to do the paperwork. That’s the way I keep my kids working on the farm, I tell them what needs done and we go til it is done. 9 times outa 10 we are eating pizza before dark. :thumbsup:

If I do report this situation , I guess I would feel very very bad if anyone lost their job over it. I guess I need to do some thinking. I do not even know how I could reach the owner, so I would probably have to do it to the biggest big wig in the office that I actually know. I wonder if he would even do anything about it. It is a messed up situation.

Thank you for your input. Yes, you bring up interesting points. I do not know whether I need to look at this as “I give my all and I am entitled to a full 8 hours” or “It would be stealing if the foreman wants to leave a half a hour early and put on the paper work that we worked a full 8, so I need to give that money to charity” I am caught between a rock and a crazy place in my mind I have been asking for opinions on what people would do in my situation, and the majority seems to be report it. I really do not want to do that. We will see…

I agree. It’s not your position to tell them how to run their business. I guess my point was…be glad they compensate you well.
Some of us really struggle and intend to work hard, but don’t get the chance.
This is a first world problem.

You’re not deliberately cheating the company.
I’m not even sure the company IS being cheated.
Construction is not like other professions, as others have said.
You can only do what they allow you to do or ask you to do.
Your job is to work to the best of your ability.

I’m a construction worker too Laughingboy, so I’ve worked on several jobs like the one you describe. Let me first say that I’ve had similar thoughts before too, but then realized as a couple people like MT1926 have said already, it’s not my job to police the foremen.

Right now, I’m working on a pretty big job site with about 30 workers under my current contractor. We left early for Christmas and New Year’s, but our foreman specifically told us he couldn’t put us down for a full 8 since we left after 6 1/2 hours. Now, I’ve worked for smaller contractors where there’s only me, one or two other guys and a foreman. Those times, the foreman would send us home a little early sometimes, typically on a Friday I recall.This happens a lot in the trades.

Not every day of course, but sometimes workers will get out 20-30 minutes early to beat traffic, get ahead of a storm, an important union meeting coming up, all kinds of reason. if you don’t think your superintendent knows this already, you’re probably mistaken. Most superintendents have worked in the field before. All the general foremen and regular foremen I’ve worked for have worked in the trade or have a relative that was in the trade that handed the contracting company down to them. they know how it goes.

And here’s the thing, I’ve never once seen a foreman let his workers go home early out of malice. 99% of the time it’s out of generosity. Here’s a specific example. One early morning a couple years ago my wife experienced what we would soon find out was a miscarriage. We both decided it would be best for me to still go to work that day. I got a call from her before lunchtime. I told her I would meet at the doctor’s office, and it was a good thing I did. I told my foreman I had to go, right now. He said OK. I had worked probably about 4 1/2-5 hours at that point. When I got my paycheck, I was surprised to see that he had paid me for a full 8 hours that day. We never said anything to each other about it, but he was taking care of me, and I deeply appreciated it.

Another time, at that same shop, I was working with a crew of 3 guys and the foreman. Work was slowing down but it was the dead of winter. A lot of guys in our trade were laid off at the time as it had been a tough winter. My foreman did everything he could to stretch out our work. We hardly left early that winter, but we certainly had a lot of time on our hands with the limited work. Now he could’ve easily given the call to have us laid off. But he didn’t, because he knew the burden it would put on our families. An older worker nearing retirement told me that our foreman didn’t have to do this. He was taking care of us until another job started up for that particular shop that we could move on to. I was extremely grateful.

On the flip side, I’ve worked for another foreman, who felt he was under the gun to get a specific job done, decided to send me home after 8, and then continued to stay working. I told him I’d stay and help, but he told me to go home, because he was going to stay and not put the hours of overtime worked on his time sheet. He wanted to get the job done without telling the office that he needed OT pay to get the job done. It was generous on his part to tell me this and send me home, and he was generous with his free time. So as you see, it cuts both ways in the construction world.

I’m sure you already know the answer you’ll get if you talk to your foreman or superintendent. And as I said, your superintendent is probably already aware that this happens from time to time. But the reason your foreman is a foreman is because he trusts this guy. So in the super’s mind, if there’s a reason that the foreman let’s his guys go after 7 1/2 hours while still paying 8, then that foreman has a good reason. I’ve seen this played out quite a bit already.

Now if you want to still mention this to your foreman, that’s on you. And if you still want to donate your wages to charity, I think that’s an admirable act. But I also don’t think it’s necessary, especially if it’s causing undo hardship on you and your family. Think about all the crane lifts and whatnot you’ve been on (if you have that is)… aren’t there more productive things we can do instead of waiting for the crane to place the load down? Yet we still get our just wages, even though our labor isn’t as intense. Because I think we know full well the very next day can be a mad dash for all 8 hours, yet we still get paid the same.

One question I have for you: how do breaks work with your current contract? If you’re only working 7 1/2 hours, does that mean you start at, say, 6AM and then walk off the job site at 1:30pm, or more like 1:45 since you started picking up your tools at about 1:30 or 1:35? Have you ever heard the saying “come in on your time, leave on theirs”? This could be why you’re leaving a bit early. Or, you could be leaving early because of how your breaks are structured. Do you have one or two breaks. Sometimes, we work through lunch, take one 20-30 minute break, and then we leave a half hour earlier than usual since we skipped one break… and the superintendent knows. is this what is happening? If so, you shouldn’t be alarmed. Hoping and praying everything works out for you in your financial situation.

Yes, I get what you are saying. I am sure the superintendent knows what goes on but does the owner? Ultimately it is his money. We get a half hour lunch unpaid and two 15 minuet breaks paid. So leaving early has nothing to do with that. Honestly most the time the foremen wants to go early is because they all live far from the area we typically work in and they want to get a jump start on beating traffic. So, if they say “Time to go” and it has only been 7 1/2 or even 7 hours, I cant say anything. No foreman would ever want me to work on their crew again and that would mean the company would eventually have to fire me because nobody would want me on their jobsite. I would not say it is causing me financial hardship… but when you have to sometimes donate somewhere between $60 to to $150 on every check to keep your conscience clear, you lose a lot of money in the process. My tithe is about $80 and I sometimes end up donating $200-$250 because of this situation. That is a lot of money. I can deal with maybe $50 over but it is hard to save money when you have to cut a money order for $200 every other week and sometimes weeks in a row. Thank you for your input.

P.S. I had to snip some of your quote because this site said I was over the word limit on my post.

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