It’s time to update the latest in timesheet fraud. You’d think that after years of splashy headlines, employees would know better than to cheat their employers in such big yet obvious ways. But no. Apparently they have not.
1. Lax Supervision in the U.S. Patent Office Emboldens Timesheet Fraud
It was all so promising. An award-winning telework program for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), started in 1998, worked like a dream. Building step by step, it expanded slowly over time. Eventually saving big dollars in gas costs for employees. It significantly reduced the cost of employee space. It made it far easier to attract and retain higher-powered patent examiners and attorneys who, avoiding lengthy commutes, could now work from outside a 50-mile radius from headquarters. According to Danette R. Campbell, senior advisor for telework in the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer at USPTO, by 2013, 3,464 teleworkers “working from home four to five days a week save $5,220,102 in gas per year and reduce emissions by 20,957 tons per year. More than 3,000 teleworkers who work from home one day a week save $1,033,824 in gas per year and reduce emissions by 4,150 tons per year.”
In August 2014, the Washington Post reported several issues with the program. It turns out an internal investigation discovered that these employees were poorly supervised. In some cases, union rules limiting supervisor’s oversight of their employees was to blame.