Two LIRR conductors on Long Island were accused by the agency's Inspector General of cooperating to take turns skipping work shifts while the other partner would clock in for the absent spouse.
A report from the MTA's Inspector General, which did not identify the conductors b name, details an investigation into the couple's actions in late 2020 that resulted in thousands of dollars paid out to the duo for multiple days of work they collectively skipped out on.
The conductors, each with decades of experience working for the transit agency, were scheduled to work together on the same train, one as the conductor and the other as assistant conductor, the report said. Over the course of an investigation in October 2020, officials from the OIG surveilled the couple and witnessed them falsify time records for shifts on back-to-back days.
During interviews with the conductors, the report says the couple chose to deceive the MTA and keep a spouse at the home to care for an ailing family member. According to the report, last-minute absences would result in financial penalties or discipline for either conductor.
"Instead of just accepting the penalty, by taking sick leave to care for their family member, they chose to violate policy by not reporting the other's absence and falsifying time records by punching each other into Kronos. Their deceitful behavior resulted in wage theft of at least $2,368 for Conductor 1 and $1,045 for Conductor 2 - over $3,400 for their household," the OIG report stated.
The investigation into the couple's alleged behavior included four weeks of surveillance that overlapped with the October dates. In addition to the two dates discovered by investigators, the couple confessed to four more dates where one of the conductors stayed home.
At the conclusion of the report, the Inspector General advised the MTA to consider disciplinary action up to termination for each employee in addition to fines to recoup the money paid out for days neither actually worked.
Ultimately, MTA officials suspended each conductor for 15 days and issued fines equal to the two days in October they were caught.
“We take abuse of time and pay violations very seriously and cooperated with the Inspector General’s investigation while taking immediate disciplinary action as soon as we became aware of this unacceptable misconduct,” an MTA spokesperson told the New York Post.