When a practice isn’t large enough to have a dedicated HR department, what happens when an employee starts to make waves in the workplace?
I’ve been approached by physicians and dentists of different specialties who have had a dispute that arises with either a current or past employee.
Example 1: An employee isn’t fulfilling the job responsibilities they were hired to complete and/or complaints are being made about an employee’s lack of professionalism in the workplace, and thereafter that employee decides to quit. Is the employee entitled to unemployment? Generally, no. However, if there is a dispute and the employer has no documentation to back up any of the prior conversations with the employee regarding his or her poor performance or patient complaints, or the employee resigned and there were no witnesses to collaborate the story, the Department of Labor will most likely side with the employee.
Example 2: When are employees entitled to overtime pay? Although there are exceptions, generally, employees paid by the hour are entitled to overtime pay when they exceed 40 hours a week; salaried employees are not. In my practice, I have come across many practitioners not aware of the requirements for overtime paid hours. For this reason, it is best for employers to carefully track the hours worked by each employee in order to be prepared for any future issue:
- Keep a clocked-time record.
- Have the employee sign a sheet to confirm the hours worked.
- If an employee is taking time for lunch, make sure they are not getting paid for it.
Doing so clarifies the exact hours worked as opposed to just the employee’s hours in the office.
In order to avoid these types of scenarios or others involving employees, employers should maintain a folder that lists an employee’s history – good and bad – to relate back to and use as written documentation to support their position. Keep in mind that even if done via a computer program, having a chronological record puts the employer in a better position to fight off whatever claims an employee, past or current, may have against them.
What measures do you have – or not have – in place to protect your practice from employee-related issues?
Stephanie J. Rodin, Esq.
Rodin Legal, P.C.
Tel: (917) 345-8972
Fax: (917) 591-4428