Coworker editing my timecard: Normal?
February 3, 2017 2:46 PM   Subscribe

Hello, hive. I could use a reality check. My coworker has started editing my timecard. Is this normal?

... because I find myself really creeped out by it. Additional info:

- Coworker holds title Assistant FOOBAR Manager (AFM)

- I work in a division that contributes to FOOBAR

- I am a direct report to the owner, not AFM (that I have been informed)

- AFM has had access to timecard data for approx. a year and a half. When AFM was given access (it's a shared spreadsheet) I had assumed it was at a collecting/transmission level, an abstract pushing of a dataset in the interest of furthering FOOBAR.

- It has since become apparent that this process is a low-tech, open-and-print job. With accomanying AFM eyes-on what I turn in.

- Since the beginning of this year, AFM has been altering my timecard. Not numbers, but notes I used to leave myself and my boss (I thought) indicating holidays and project overruns that caused o.t. This time it was an hour allocation (something I had marked holiday was flipped to regular).

- AFM does ask clarifications of myself and coworkers, which is I agree is appropriate. These questions come in verbal, and this last time text, form; not email chain with boss and business manger cc'd.

- Timecard handoff goes: Myself - AFM - (boss?*) - business manager - $$
* In the past, my boss had a signoff on the totals, I am not sure if this is currently the case.

I'd like to express my discomfort over this situation to my boss and business boss (I have screenshots) but I'd like to do so in a way that doesn't emphasise the cortison-through-the-roof reaction it's giving me.

Something more along the lines of how a working person of many years is finding this set-up highly unusual. Am I over-reacting? Shift managers, do you alter electronic records? TIA.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (15 answers total)
Altering in what way? Is the AFM removing the notes? That could be procedural/policy. The changes in hourly allocations aren't a big red flag for me, especially going from holiday to regular. If they'd gone from holiday to PTO or Sick or something you accrue, then it'd be odd.

It just seems like a minor issue that you may be freaked out by because you don't know AFM's purpose in the process. I'd just ask the AFM for clarification about what that's about.
posted by xingcat at 3:19 PM on February 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

None of us can answer why this person is doing this, obviously. But I can tell you that when I managed a team that had to track their time, I did the exact same thing you're describing here. I'd read the notes and any accompanying data, and assuming I didn't think anything was amiss, I'd delete it out before pulling all the data together and forwarding it along.

Assuming you're not seeing any negative end results - pay is off, vacation is being docked, etc. - I think you're overreacting.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 3:23 PM on February 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

I do this all the time when people mess up. But I tell them before the thing goes final and give them a chance to explain why they didn't mess up, if applicable, and I often don't do it over email if they aren't email people. If AFM is doing this, I don't see what your issue is. If you just don't like the idea of AFM messing up your notes to Boss, consider sending those notes to Boss via email rather than on a spreadsheet.
posted by Etrigan at 3:44 PM on February 3, 2017

I would go to my boss and just ask your question. Basically, "Hi, I noticed AFM has made some changes to my allocations and notes on my timecard over the last couple months. Just wanted to double check with you about this. Thanks!"
posted by latkes at 4:19 PM on February 3, 2017 [12 favorites]

I've been asked to do this, but I've also had coworkers do this kind of thing to me just to be shady and manipulative, so yes ask your boss. I like how latkes phrased the question, above.
posted by soakimbo at 4:29 PM on February 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

I think it's bad form to escalate to your boss first. It's proper workplace etiquette to ask your colleague what's up first. If their answer leaves you unsatisfied, then take it to the next level.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 4:35 PM on February 3, 2017 [6 favorites]

Definitely ask first. For all you know the boss is asking AFM to do precisely this. If you attempt to call them out for it you're going to look pretty awful. Find out what's happening and make sure you're happy, otherwise escalate it.
posted by tillsbury at 4:45 PM on February 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

At my last job, I was at same level as AFM, but AFM was in charge of rectifying time sheets for all of my boss's direct reports as well as AFM's own. (Boss did not like the tedious detail work of making it all come out right.) Maybe talk to AFM first.
posted by hworth at 4:55 PM on February 3, 2017

Are your hours billed through to another company/government based on your timecard? If so, they may have a waste/fraud/abuse contact, which I would record in case things go south with your bosses.
posted by TheAdamist at 5:18 PM on February 3, 2017

Hmmm... not necessarily a problem if there are no substantive changes to the amounts you're being paid, but worth asking about. I'd go to your co-worker first and say "hey, I've noticed you've been making XXX changes, and I wondered why. Want to walk me through what's going on, so I can fill things out correctly and eliminate the need for your edits?"

After that conversation, you should have a good idea of whether or not there is anything going on that's worth discussing with the boss.
posted by rpfields at 6:20 PM on February 3, 2017 [8 favorites]

I'm not quite sure, but I think you're saying the AFM is not changing your pay or leave hours in any way, just adjusting the accounting? I've done that for my employees, charging them to different project budgets/overhead accounts than they originally put in, for various reasons that aren't secret, but aren't really relevant to what they need to know. I'm willing to explain if anyone asks (obviously I owe it to the owners of those budgets why I'm spending their money).

My system records the original entries and attributes any of my changes to me, so it's auditable and traceable back to me if there is any dispute.

If your notes about charges are relevant and you think they're being altered, you can always keep your own copy in case a question comes up. That said, in my situation I'd find it weird if my employees cared that much where their money came from, as long as they got it. If I'm fraudulently charging the wrong projects, I'm the one in trouble, not them.
posted by ctmf at 9:19 PM on February 3, 2017 [4 favorites]

This is literally AFM's job.

If I was the AFM and you voiced your concerns to me, I would kindly explain to you why I've been fixing your timecards for you and take the opportunity to suggest you maybe save me some work and do it right yourself.

If I was your boss and you voiced your concerns to me, I would see you as kind of clueless and needlessly dramatic.

If I were your skip-level and you voiced your concerns to me, I would probably ask why we have you on staff.
posted by danny the boy at 1:18 AM on February 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

I was in a similar role and messed with allocations all the time (for REASONS) without ever affecting hours worked/paid. I'd ask them what's going on and phrase it, "I noticed you end up tweaking my time sheet. Is there a way I can get it to you in better shape?"
posted by whitewall at 3:26 AM on February 4, 2017 [6 favorites]

definitely ask. I add notes to people's timecards because depending on what they are working on at a given time, their salary may be charged to different internal accounts. Could something like that be going on with you?
posted by WeekendJen at 11:54 AM on February 4, 2017

Ask. I have a job that includes handling time cards, and it is is in my job to tweak them. Sometimes what people have put on it can't be done, for example: all out of vacation time, got to swap for personal; OT needs to be charged to a different financial account for Reasons. That first situation I would notify the employee. The second I would just do and pass it on. There's no way to know what's going on here without more details.
posted by epanalepsis at 6:32 AM on February 6, 2017

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