GRAFTON, WI — After multiple employees complained about timecard manipulation by a carwash here, the owner blamed a “bad manager,” according to 620 WTMJ Newsradio.
The July 2 story included quotes from former employee Kevin Meier who said he was never paid fully for the hours he spent at Full Service Car Wash. Meier stated that if he was at the carwash for six to eight hours, he would only get paid for three or four hours.
Though Meier was hired with the promise of at least 40 hours a week, he was only paid for a fraction of that. Even after spending 50 or 60 hours in the carwash building, he would only get paid for 20 or 25 hours.
Another former employee, Nick Bidenbider, said in the story, “Sometimes I’d ask after waiting for an hour or two if I could leave and they’d say, ‘we’ll punch you in after 15 minutes,’ and then 15 minutes would go by, ‘oh we’ll punch you in in 20 minutes’… And then just sitting there waiting. Sometimes we’d get punched in for ten minutes for a car and then two hours later a car would come in and get punched in for ten minutes to do that car again.”
Labor attorney Jeffrey Hines noted that he had never seen a case that presented this egregious example of a company failing to pay employees for time worked. In Hines opinion, the case is “way over the line,” and he has not seen a case like this in 27 years of practice.
“These men should be paid for every minute they are in that workplace because they are at the beck and call of the employer,” Hines said in the article. “What this law says to employers is that it may be your call not to schedule employees or even to send them home early, but is not your prerogative to have them come into the workplace and then place them into a virtual compensation limbo where they don’t even know if they’ll be paid for the hours they show up that day.”
Dave Liekam, the owner of the carwash, said the labor offenses were possible, and he blamed the problem on a “bad manager” who no longer works for the wash. He also noted that the employees did not have to stay at the wash. “If they’re so unhappy with the job why don’t they go and look for something else? They’re getting hours here. I’m not standing there with a whip,” Liekam said in the story.