One San Francisco transit janitor made more than $250,000 in 2015, and now, cameras caught him doing something that explains it all.
The janitor, Liang Zhao Zhang, was paid a salary of $57,945 in 2015 by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), reports the Daily Mail.
However, he was also paid an additional $162,050 in overtime, bringing his total salary and benefits that year to $271,243, according to an investigation by KTVU.
BART never got suspicious, despite paying him almost a million dollars between 2012 and 2015.
Zhang was able to make so much money because he is reportedly a master of what is known in the Human Relations industry as “time theft.”
As defined by H.R. company Epay Systems, “Time theft occurs when an employee is paid for work they have not actually done, or for time they were not actually at work.” This stealing of workplace time “is costing billions of dollars in lost productivity annually,” the company contends.
According to Zhang’s timecard, he worked every day in 2015, including one stretch of 18 straight 17-hour days.
However, the KTVU investigation turned up evidence that Zhang was stealing time on the job. Surveillance cameras showed him going into a storage closet for hours at a time.
One day, he went into the closet on two occasions: the first time for 54 minutes, and the second time for 90 minutes. On another day, he again disappeared into the closet twice, each time for over an hour.
Robert Fellner of Transparent California, which assisted in the investigation, declared Zhang’s compensation “absolutely outrageous.” He added: “For Janitors that’s obscene! It’s unconscionable!”
The investigation also revealed that 49 other BART janitors earned more than $100,000 in 2015.
As for Zhang, BART Chief Transportation Officer Roy Aguilera defended his compensation, saying that he never turns down a chance to work overtime. “People are not raising their hands and saying, ‘I want some of that overtime.’ Mr. Zhang has said yes, he’s worked hard, he’s completed his assignments, so I stand by the work he’s done,” he told KTVU.
Plus, Aguilera explained, it’s a nasty job which requires spending a lot of time cleaning up urine, feces, and needles.