Inside Manager Maude’s Head| An HR and Employment Law Comic Strip Vol. 1 №1

Like all managers, Maude faces a host of difficult issues every day.

She just has a richer inner world than most, where the forces of good and evil battle for workplace supremacy…

Who will win this battle?!? Check in each week and find out!!

I’m Maude!

I was recently promoted to manage a team of 50 at my company, Acme Water Computers. My employment lawyer friends Marc and Dave asked if I might be willing to tell people about my experiences, and of course I agreed!

But since I’m a visual thinker and artiste in my spare time…I thought, why not draw a comic strip?? They loved the idea, and here we are — my first one!

I had a my first comic about halfway done, when some really crazy stuff happened. I wasn’t going to tell anybody, because really who’d believe me anyway?

But I got to thinking…I need to be straight up with you all, and I can’t start out this new endeavor with Four Peaks by posting a lie. So I re-did the strip to reflect what really happened — and trust that you won’t think I’m totally nuts!

So last week I was doing some orientation training online in my office, when I overheard a conversation between two hourly employees, one of whom was working from home last night, when all of a sudden…

So it turns out “seeing” Madame Cloque was a good thing! I also talked to Marc and Dave, and they helped provide some additional perspective…


  • As Madame Cloque says, employers should pay non-exempt employees for ALL hours an employee works. In particular, as a manager — especially at a for-profit company — you should not accept “donated” or volunteer time from your employees. (Non-exempt employees are those subject to wage/hour and overtime laws. If you are uncertain of whether certain employees are exempt or non-exempt, consult with an attorney.)
  • While their hearts are nearly always in the right place, non-exempt (usually hourly) employees who perform work at home but don’t log the time as worked, pose a significant risk for companies in the event of a Department of Labor audit.
  • When confronted with this situation, the best thing to do is to pay employees for their time, but also hold them accountable and coach them on their behavior.
  • Maude should also plan to ask Peter whether he had worked in the past without reporting his hours, and pay for that time as well.
  • If Peter is working off the clock, chances are that other employees are doing the same. We’ve coached Maude to send out a communication to the rest of the employees at Acme Water Computers this week to inform them of these best practices, as well as to remind them of the company’s timekeeping policies. It may end up being expensive, but better to catch it now — and early — than to pay much more later, with penalties.
  • Peter meant well, and probably didn’t realize what he was doing. While he’ll suffer no discipline in this case, Maude will be coaching him to make sure he doesn’t make habit of this behavior. If he were to continue doing this, Maude would be within her rights to issue discipline. Employers don’t have to allow employees to violate such rules.

That’s the lesson for today, friends.

If you could use some help on wage and hour or any other employment issues, check out our website, or give a yell at, or 503–922–2521.

Until next time!