Tricks in time recording do not save a lot of time!

Manipulation of time recording may justify dismissal without notice according to a judgment of the Higher Labour Court of Hessen (Landesarbeitsgericht, LAG).

 Following judgments of the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG), manipulation of time recording by employees is a serious breach of contract which can justify a dismissal without notice even where the employee in question has been employed for a considerable period of time.

In its judgment dated February 17, 2014 (docket number 16 Sa 1299/13), the Court agrees with this principle. In the case at hand, the 46-year-old plaintiff was engaged in a large butchery for more than 25 years. When leaving the production area for private work interruptions, employees were required to use a chip on a time recording device. They also had to sign in when they re-entered the production area. When applying the chip, the devices beeps. The plaintiff was observed when he had the chip in his wallet and additionally shielded with his hand when applying it to the time recording device for logging on and off. Thus, he did not sign off work. When the employer checked the data on the time recording device, it was established that the employee had taken breaks of more than 3.5 hours without logging on and off in 1.5 months. The breaks had been paid by the employer. The employer subsequently dismissed the plaintiff without notice.

The Court held that the dismissal without notice due to working hours fraud was valid. It was held that the employee could not have made a mistake due to the lack of the beep which occurs when using the device correctly. The employee merely pretended to properly log on and off by covering the chip. Employers cannot be required to only issue a written warning in such a case of intentional fraud. The severe breach of trust also outweighs the long job tenure.