Should he punch in and out?

Hello guys.
I would like to know your input on this one:
I have a security guard (non-exempt employee) who due to health reasons, walks very slow that actually takes him about 15-25 minutes to go from his work station to the clock to punch in or out. Also, by the time he gets there he is already breathing hard and soaking wet in sweat. I have two concerns here: I am concern about his health, I don't want him to have a heart attack one of these days when he gets to the clock to punch in or out; the other concern is that with those 50 minutes he takes to go to and from the clock, he is already in over time. We require our employees to record their times in our clock when they start and end their shifts. We have only one clock which is located by our production floor and far from the security guard station. I have two plans in mind:
1) Put a manual time clock at the security guard station where he can just punch in/out there and avoid all the walking to our clock. The only bad thing about this option is that it will require us to manually enter his time in our time and attendance system. The clock we have by the production area does transfers the data to put T&A system electronically.Plus the cost of a new manual clock.
2) Set up our T&A system to automatically punch him in and out. The risk here is that if he arrives late or leaves early or is tardy I won't be able to know unless somebody brings it to my attention.

Techinically, I don't have to pay him for clocking in or out beacuse it is an activity that is not part of his principal activity, but then our company policy stated that the employees need to record his/her working times, but that does not mean that it cannot be done with a clock at the guard station or with a time card where he can manually record his time.

What would you do?


  • 14 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • If you do what you suggest you might, you have, in effect, granted him an accommodation. By extension, you may also have considered him to have a disability, I don't know that though. I am not inclined, based on what you posted, to suggest he should get any slack at all. If he can't walk without sweating profusely and becoming exhausted, I wonder what value he has to you as a 'security guard'. Unless he's like Otha, the security guard at the bank on Mayberry who slept in his chair cocked back against the wall, what else is he capable of?

    First, I would expect him to follow the same procedural rules as every other employee. Second, I would evaluate his value to the organization and his ability to perform his job. He seems to me to be a liability to the company in more ways than one. For one, he is performing no function. For another, he is going to die on the job, probably walking to the time clock.
  • Thank you for your input. His funtion is to be at the guard station checking in/out trailers going to our warehouse, so he is sitting all the time during the day in his guard station.
  • As part of his job duties, does he walk throuh the plant on a regular basis? Can he park near the production/time clock? Then he clocks in and can begin his tour of the area. Ditto for going home.

    Don has made some good observations. If this person cannot fulfill the main responsibilities and functions of his job, you do not have a security guard. You have an individual who sits at a desk taking up space.
  • He doesn't walk the plant. he just sits in the guard station.So, walking the plant is not his function. His only function is to log in/out truck coming into the warehouse and checking employees IDs when they enter the plant.
  • Is he the only security guard on site when he is working?
  • Does he not have any responsibilities in an emergency?

    I completely agree with Livin. You need to re-evaluate the resposibilities of your guard. Our guards have emergency responsibilities and they routinely patrol the grounds looking for trespassers, water/gas leaks and anything else out of the ordinary. You are not getting your money's worth.

    I would go through a documented process of re-evaluating the position with the business reasons behind it, give him the opportunity to try to meet those responsibilities with/without reasonable accomodations and then if he can't cut him loose.

    Be very careful because ADA issues could be a problem upon termination if you do not do everything right. I would consider involving a competent attorney.
  • It sounds like "security guard" is not defined by your company in the standard sense. It seems he is able to do what he needs to do; would it work to buy a little motorized scooter? (what about his insurance - would it cover one?) Could open up a can of worms, but it sounds like he needs it! If you set up the automatic punch, could you have him submit a written time sheet, maybe have a supervisor sign off on it. ONLY if it could be done in a timely fashion, though - you don't want your payroll always waiting on him.

    Just some thoughts.
  • It sounds like his title should be 'gate attendant' or something like that, instead of 'security guard.' But anyway, it seems that this is really just a call you have to make based on your own feelings about keeping this person employed.

    Is there a supervisor that observes the actual time he works? (Would it be noticed if he came in 15 minutes late?) If so, having the employee manually track his time with the supervisor's signature, would be an option.

    If there are no options for direct observation, I would not abandon the time clock, unless you feel the expense of a new one in this guard station is worth it. Is there a computer in the guard station where he could email you or his supervisor when he arrives and when he leaves the station each day?

    It seems to me that you could continue to have him do as he is now, and explain to him that you will dock 50 minutes (or whatever is appropriate) from each day's time because you don't want to pay for his walk. But even if the reason is documented, and you have his signature on each time card stating that the 50 minutes was not work time, I would be a little leery of doing this. It seems like that might set you up for FLSA problems.
  • Thank you for your input. You are right, his title should be "gate attendant" and not security guard.There is a supervisor who observes his actual time work. The supervisor is there when he arrrives and whe he leaves. I like your idea of manual time tracking.
    Thank you.
  • My biggest concern would be for the man's health and the risk the company is taking bhy requiring this person do walk to and punch in or out for work. Give his supervisor a time card and have the ee fill it in and out with a pen, daily.

    Putting a time clock at the woek site might be useful for other business reasons to clock vehicles in and out for control purposes.

    Bottom line get a "fit for duty finding" from a doctor! It would appear this is one of those cases where the company is the "good guy" and lets a "good guy" stick around for to long.

  • My biggest concern would be for the man's health and the risk the company is taking bhy requiring this person do walk to and punch in or out for work.

    PoRk, since when is a company inviting liability by requiring someone to perform the functions of their job? The bigger risk would be in assuming he cannot perform his job, assuming him to be disabled, and making it easy on him by retaining him and removing the responsibility to punch in like everyone else has to.

    I do agree that a fitness for duty approach may be reasonable; but, I would not consider restructuring his job by reducing the requirements before I had that in hand.
  • Wow!!

    Great advice guys! Thank you.
  • DON: It becomes the companies' responsibility when the essential function of a job is detrimental to the health and safety of the employee. There is more than one way to get time recorded and it is the companies responsibility to make the decision to have the ee continue to punch in at a "risk to the ee's personal health or any occupational safety issue between the time clock and the guard shack". One should be proactive and accomodate the ee, if that is not going to be unreasonable to the "pocket book of the company".

    OK, Mr. PORK, tell me one more time for the jury, as to why you made this guard with obvious and knowingly pitiful senior citizen ailmwnts with a respirtory concern to walk through the heat, dust, rain, and snow to clock in and out daily? Before his death did you not realize that the company needed to do something for this person?

    The fitness for duty exam is paramount and I would put proactive conditions in the ee's path until the examination was in place. Once the exam is in place, then I could change the proactive contions to fit the results of the exam. To have him die from a heat stroke or hypothermia would be a situation I would not care to experience on my watch.

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